We bought this run-down dresser from the thrift store for $40…. I don’t like buying painted pieces, but I could tell that the paint job was good enough that it didn’t have to be removed. And since it had some damage, I figured it would be a great dresser to show how to fix damaged wood furniture before painting.
Find more of our DIY Dresser Makeovers here!
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- Krud Kutter
- Kwik Wood
- Bondo Wood Filler
- Bondo Spreader
- Elmer’s Wood Filler
- Putty Knife
- Misting Bottle
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Wet Towel
- Clothing Iron
- Gorilla Wood Glue
- Glue Syringe
- Wood Clamps and scrap wood
- SurfPrep Sander 3×4 vacuum compatible (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order)
- SurfPrep 5″ Orbital Sander vacuum compatible (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order)
- Sanding Discs
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Shop Vac
- Tack Cloth
- Clear Shellac in a Spray Can
- Painters Tape
- Pre Taped Plastic
- Wagner FLEXiO 3000
- Melange ONE Paint (Basilisk Black and Jacobs Well colors mixed)
- Sprayer Paint Filters
- Varathane Polyurethane Satin Sheen
- Panty Hose and Foam Sponge
- New Black Knobs
Want to know what my favorite paint & supplies are for painting furniture?
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How to Fix Damaged Wood Furniture
- Remove Hardware/Clean
- Fix Chipped Wood Veneer
- Fill in Chipped Veneer
- Prep for Paint
Step 1: Remove the Hardware/Clean
Right off the bat though, the knobs were a pain to remove.
The middle piece in the knob wasn’t secured to the knob, so when I tried to twist off the nut, the metal piece turned too.
So I ended up busting the knob so I could get a hold of the metal piece and unscrew the nut.
Then I cleaned the dresser with Krud Kutter to remove all of the dirt and grime.
Step 2: Fix Chipped Wood Veneer
Remove the Loose Veneer
And then I removed the loose wood veneer, starting with the bottom skirt.
I used a putty knife thing to get under all of it and pry it off.
Then I worked on the sides. Only a little bit was loose.
And then the top… most of the top layer came off easily, and some of the bottom layer came off
And then it got hard.
So I sprayed some water on the top, to try to moisten the wood and get it to come off easier.
And then I moved on to the drawers.
Glue the Veneer Back On
I LOVE the detail on the drawers, but the veneer was loose and chipping off on them too. I thought about making a mold of the design and removing all of the veneer…
But I kept running into roadblocks. So I decided to glue it back on the best that I could.
I used a glue syringe to put glue between the drawer and the veneer, and then I clamped a piece of wood on, to hold the veneer in place as the glue dried overnight.
Gluing was definitely easier than pulling up stubborn veneer!
The Easiest Way to Remove Wood Veneer
The next day, I placed a wet towel on the top of the dresser, and I used a cheap old iron, that I use only for stuff like this, to loosen up the glue and basically soak the veneer so it would come off easier.
I’m not going to lie, it still took me over an hour to take all of the veneer off the top. But it’s so much easier with the wet towel and iron.
Click over to this post on the easiest way to remove wood veneer to learn more about the process.
After all the veneer was off on the top, I flipped it over and popped off the old, broken casters.
Step 3: The Best Wood Fillers for Veneer Repair
And then we took the dresser out to the garage and I filled the sides of the dresser with Bondo.
Bondo is my go to filler for large areas of chipped veneer because it spreads easily, dries quickly, and hard. Way better than regular wood filler.
It does stink though. So I only use it outside. And you have to work really quickly because it sets up fast once you mix the 2 parts together.
Click here to learn more about how to Fix Chipped Wood Furniture with Bondo.
On the drawers, I used KwikWood to fill the chips, because I can mold the KwikWood to the right shape that I need.
Just like Bondo, it dries quickly, and it dries hard.
But it doesn’t stink like Bondo does! And you can work with it a little longer than Bondo… oh and it’s not as messy.
It’s awesome! Learn more about how to use KwikWood to repair furniture here!
Step 4: Sand Everything
I came back a couple of hours later and sanded everything down, flush with the wood, and had to fill a couple of small spots with wood filler.
I sanded the top of the dresser smooth and I even sanded all of the paint off the edge too.
In the crevices, I used a flat head screwdriver to chip the paint off, and then I sanded by hand where the sander didn’t reach.
And then I sanded everything else to just make it all feel smooth.
There was a lot of sanding.
Step 5: Prep For Paint
OK with all of that out of the way I moved on to cleaning the piece so then we could paint everything.
I vacuumed up all of the dust and then I used a tack cloth to wipe off any remaining dust.
I covered the top of the dresser and then I sprayed 2 coats of clear shellac.
The clear shellac acts kind of like my primer. It helps the paint stick.
And it prevents bleedthrough stains from coming through my paint, especially where I sanded down to bare wood.
Step 6: Painting
And then I was ready to paint. So for this project, I mixed up a custom color with Melange’s all in ONE paint line.
I mixed up basically a 50/50 ratio of Basilisk Black and Jacob’s Well with probably a little bit more of the black than the green.
And then I poured it into my paint sprayer, mixed in some water, and I sprayed on two coats of paint letting the paint dry for a couple of hours between each coat.
Learn how easy it is to use this Wagner FLEXiO Paint Sprayer here.
After that coat of paint was dry I could see some spots where you could see the white paint in the texture of the wood grain so I filled all of that stuff in with wood filler, let that dry and then I sanded the wood filler down.
I cleaned off all of the dust again and then I sprayed my third coat of paint.
The Top of the Dresser
That was the ticket, so when the paint was dry I removed the plastic from the top and wiped 3 coats of some satin waterbased polyurethane on to protect it.
Learn our special tricks to apply polyurethane by hand in this black dresser makeover’s post.
See the full video makeover below!
I’m so glad that I kept the detail on the drawers, and I absolutely LOVE this color… and the paint. Man, it’s a perfect finish! So stinking easy to use too.
What do you think? What hardware would you have picked?