Monday, November 22, 2010

This ain't your grandmas dresser!

... or is it?! This is my Grandma Margaret's dresser before- sitting in the garage keeping some old tennis equipment and halloween decorations company. The inspiration for this little beauty was more necessity than anything else. My husband and I left San Francisco in August in preparation for our October wedding in Palm Beach FL.  In consequence, we moved into my parents house, into the room that was an office/recording studio. Hence ZERO storage. Also my husband has more pairs of jeans than I do. so...

Here are the pictures before:
( Sorry for the crappy quality, I took these before I knew I'd blog about it)

And the glorious, fantastic, just do-a-little-victory dance gorgeous results:
(also better pictures to come, I just couldn't wait to share)

How I did it:
1. Look at the piece of furniture you want to change. What look do you want to achieve? Distressed and antique? Painted and modern? For this project I painted it a soft gray color using regular old wall paint from Glidden.

2. Sand all over using either a sander or by hand (a power sander makes it go WAY faster). I have a mouse sander from Black & Decker and its suited me just fine.

3. I used 80-grit sandpaper for the first pass, and then switched to 150/200 for the second pass. The varnish was thick on my dresser, so I could use a coarser grit.  If the existing varnish is very thin you will want to sand with a much finer grit sandpaper, and possibly even by hand, especially if you plan on staining instead of painting. In all cases make sure to sand with the grain of the wood.

Note: As this process is very messy and dusty, consider putting a tarp down to catch the dust and make for easier cleanup- and wear a mask! You don't want to be inhaling all that nasty old varnish/wood dust. Gloves are also highly recommended.

4. Wipe down, let dry

5. Paint Selection - I used Glidden. Not because I think their paint is superior or anything, but I'm a sucker for sample sizes, and they have the little 3-4 oz tester bottles, so you can take it home and sample to your hearts delight without making a gallon commitment. I really suggest testing your paint (or stain) on a piece of scrap wood to make sure the color is really what you wanted. Also take it into the room and look at it in the different lights- I guarantee you will see a difference from room to room and paint chip to wood.

6. For the varnish I used a water-based polyurethane from Minwax. This is the step that will give your project the the "woah, how much did you pay for that" look, instead of "oh, so this is what you did this weekend". The key with varnish is working fast and not glopping it on. In preparation for this step, I put the dresser on its back (with some help, of course) on top of some bins to create a sort of trestle so I could reach all the areas quickly and easily. Use a clean brush and apply a thin layer of varnish all around- make sure to catch any drips and don't let them dry that way. Now STEP AWAY- that's right! Don't touch it. I know you want to. It looks dry, and you just want to get that one teensy little spot- DON'T DO IT. You do get a second coat but it has to wait about 8 hours or so. Once that second coat is on, wait for at least 24 hours before moving/ using it.

Now, go get yourself a cocktail. You've earned it.

P.S. In response to your questions- the pulls are vintage from

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