The old new dresser

Remember this heinous old thing?


I bought it at Wimberley Market Days which is a really cute flea market held once a month in the darling town of Wimberly, Texas.  I went with Lorie from Be Different, Act Normal.  It’s not the kind of flea market that sells Sham-Wows and huge bags of no-name tube socks. No, this is the cute kind that sells vintage goods and crafts and lots of Texas-themed things (it happens to be the second biggest flea market in Texas after Canton Trade Days, outside of Dallas).  

We went early (well, early for shopping.  We got there at 8 am).  Luckily I scored this dresser early on.  It was in great condition (except for the chippy silvery green spray paint) and the price was $150 which is super for a nice big dresser.  I, of course, had to bargain my way down to $125 and was pretty pleased with my find since Ada needs a dresser in the worst way (She’s still using her changing table!)  I paid for it and told the guy I’d be back to pick it up when I was ready to leave.  By the time we got back the guy was a little ticked off. “I could have sold this thing ten time over!” he announced.  Ah well, now you know not to price a cute dresser so cheap! You can’t tell, but I’m sitting on the back of a teensy, tiny truck in this picture and my job was to keep the dresser from falling off (!!!).  It seemed more like a golf cart, but it got the huge dresser out to my car and Lorie and I didn’t have to lift a finger (except to rearrange everything in my car since I wasn’t exactly planning on such a huge purchase).


I considered my finishing options but because the paint was pretty chippy I decided to strip it and refinish it. Gah, what a ginormous pain!  Note to self: just patch up the chipped spots and paint over the whole thing.  A lot of bloggers recommend spray paint when redoing furniture.  I guess because it’s easier and gives a smooth finish.  I opted to go the oil-based enamel route since this thing is going to take a beating, being in a kids’ bedroom. I did use a light coating of spray-on primer, though. (If you’re going to distress something, you don’t want to use a primer; when you sand off the paint you won’t see wood you’ll see primer.  But the distressed look isn’t my fave, so I used primer and sanded it afterwards with 320 grit sandpaper so the paint would go on super smoothly.)

The nice thing about oil-based enamel is that it takes a long time to dry, so the paint brush marks smooth out and fade away, especially if you do it in your garage on a rainy day like I did.  If you are wanting to paint something in the morning and have it in use by dinner-time, then this wouldn’t be a great option for you.  But I knew I wanted something durable, and enamel (not paint, enamel. Even though paint is often times labelled as enamel.  You want the stuff that’s meant for trim) is the hardest stuff there is.   Enamel can also be custom-colored unlike spray-paint.

I got mine at Sherwin Williams and followed Sarah’s tutorial here (just a note, though.  The enamel she used is for dark colors only.  If you want a paler color you’ll need to get the ProClassic Alkyd Enamel (Alkyd means oil-based).  I like satin the best; it’s just lovely.

Also, you can’t use a paintbrush for oil paint that you’ve used for latex. You’ll have to get a new one (and you’d better get a nice one! It makes a huge difference!). Oil paint has to be rinsed out in mineral spirits. Just pour some in a cup and swizzle the paintbrush, then dump it out (I dumped mine out in a bunch of weeds in the corner of my yard. Toxic material disposal plus weed killer all at once!) You’ll have to repeat it a couple of times, then rinse the brush under warm water. It sounds like a pain but it’s actually easier than rinsing your brush out for fifteen minutes like you have to do with latex.

Here’s my finished dresser, which took me a lightning quick two-weeks from the time of purchase to the time of finishing (it seriously is my record.  Remember I’m the person who has been trying to get around to wallpapering for two years.)  It took me another two weeks to get it up to Ada’s room and I have yet to put any accessories on it or put clothes inside, but it’s where it belongs and that’s pretty darn good for me.

| Filed under Decorating, Fix-it, Good Things

15 thoughts on “The old new dresser

  1. I love it! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    I am so jealous that you snagged it, but not jealous of having to refinish it or get it up the stairs.

    It is gorgeous.

    So when are we going to Canton?

  2. Wow, Jennie, that is awesome. I love the pink and white, and the way you finished the drawer pulls. Wanna come and refinish my dresser? 🙂

  3. This turned out wonderful!! Good job! I too am digging on the polka dot wall. I haven't ever painted with oil base before, next time I refinish I will give it a try!

  4. Girl!!!!!
    You have totally outdone yourself!!!

    That is incredible!!! You ROCK!!!

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  5. Hey, Wait! Where did the polka-dot wall and the Toile curtains come from? I don't remember those! Did you do that during the last week, or has it been covered up by the crib and changing table?

    The dresser looks FANTASTIC! You don't want any birds on that pretty thing!

  6. How did you do the little flowers on the drawers? And is that a new paint job on the walls and new curtains, or am I just incredibly unobservant??

  7. oH MY GOSH BEAUTIFUL!!!! Wow, what a steal and you did a GREAT job! I'm refinishing a toy box right now and you just put me to shame… In fact, I want to go cry now because of my inadequacy.

    But wow, awesome job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *