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DIY shabby chic refinished dresser | Smiling Watermelon
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DIY shabby chic refinished dresser

by Juliemara

I worked really hard to plan and organize the girls first birthday party.

20121023-214939.jpgThe planning started in my head when they were about three months old and really reved up after I got home from celebrating my best friends bridal shower a little more than a month ago. I started by creating a Pinterest board with ideas I liked. At night after the babies went to bed I worked on small craft projects that would add to the over all of the party.



20121023-215741.jpg But my big project that I had no idea how long it would take got started only two weeks before the big day. The shabby chic chest of drawers that was used for the desert buffet.

I purchased the dresser just after we moved into our current home, the plan was to refinish it and convert it into a bathroom vanity for either our master suite or the guest suite downstairs. But I wasn’t in any condition back then to be refinishing furniture and I wasn’t about to let anyone else touch my $75 Craig’s list treasure.

20121023-211525.jpgSo in the basement it sat and collected dust while it awaited its new fate.

Fast forward a year and half, I found this inspiration. And knew that the dresser would be the perfect fixture for a shabby chic/vintage birthday party.

It wasn’t the best Craigslist find ever. $75 was kind of a lot to pay for this piece. It had several layers of paint on it and no drawer pulls,

20121023-211540.jpg Some of the front panels of the drawers were separated from the edges and a few of the drawers don’t close completely.

20121023-211553.jpgAll the rails need to be replaced. And now I am thinking to myself, why did I buy this piece?

This is why! It was begging for a new life as a pretty little thing that would hold lots of other pretty things!

Getting it to look like it does now was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

First I sanded the surfaces. I used an electric sander with 80 grit paper on all the flat areas

And an 80 grit sanding block, which is more like a sanding sponge, on the curved and detailed parts. When I was finish sanding I decided to use the gas powered blower to get all the dust out of the garage. Don’t do this, it just made a bigger mess. The dust just blew around the garage and the fumes got really thick and even went inside the house. Letting the sanding dust settle then sweeping the next day would have been much more effective. Although using a blower is a lot of fun.

The next step was to paint it. I chose To use spray paint because it is quick and easy. And since it may get repainted another color one day there was no reason to spend a lot of time on a heavy paint. I chose Rustoleum Satin heirloom white.

20121023-211924.jpgi used a total of four and a half cans for the dresser and all the drawers, inside and out.

I got this handy little attachment as well, it’s a comfort grip esiecially for spray painting.

20121023-211859.jpg It attaches easily to the spray can and makes dispensing the paint like pulling a trigger rather than pressing a button.

20121023-211912.jpgNo more cramped fingers, no more paint stained fingers. For a project like this its well worth it’s $9.50 price tag.




20121023-212021.jpgI waited a full day for the paint to dry really well then used the same 80 grit sanding sponge to sand the corners and edges to give it the old shabby worn look. Because of the many layers of color that were already on this piece, this little effect worked better than I even imagined. I found these pretty glass drawer pulls online for just over $5 each, it was the absolute least expensive I could find fancy drawer pulls. I’m really happy with the pink.


20121023-212105.jpgthere were already holes in the drawers but they weren’t spaced correctly for the drawer pulls that I got so I had to fill the old holes and drill new ones. I did this even before I sanded the piece using Elmer’s wood filler.

20121023-212527.jpgBut as you can see my wood filling skills could use some improvement, luckily the imperfectness just adds to the shabbiness of the look!

20121023-212323.jpgIn order to drill the holes in the exact right place I needed to mark where the holes would go. These pulls made it relatively easy to do because the bolt that attaches them goes all the way through. I just needed a pen or pencil that would fit all the way into the hole. My solution- an over extended piece of lead in a mechanical pencil.

20121023-212215.jpgI just had to be careful, but it worked perfectly.

20121023-212224.jpgdrilling the 12 holes and attaching the 6 pulls was finished in about 20 minutes.




Over all I am really happy with how the piece turned out.



20121024-091825.jpg it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I originally thought it would be.

I learned a lot from the process and now I have the confidence to tackle another piece, maybe one that will have a little more permanence in our home.
My advice is if you are intersted in refinishing furniture find the least expensive piece on Craig’s list that will give you the look you want and “practice” them there is no stress about wasting lots of money when something doesn’t turn out as planned.

I have a bunch of chairs stashed away that I have collected over the past few years, yes, I have a chair addiction. I hope to repaint, refinish and reupholster them in the months to come.

Ill keep you posted!

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Taylor Stevens permalink
    October 24, 2012

    So impressed with this!!!

  2. Evey permalink
    October 24, 2012

    Inspirational and Amazing!!! I can’t wait to see those future chairs!

  3. Joyce shuman permalink
    October 24, 2012

    Love seeing all your creativity, Julie!

  4. Esther Chernoff permalink
    October 24, 2012

    Julie, YOu should go into the business..you did a great job..The girls look wonderful in their little white dresses.

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