Navy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover

If you love chippy farmhouse furniture, this tutorial is for you! Turn your old dresser into a chippy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover with some milk paint.

Get more Blue Painted Furniture ideas here.

Here is what the dresser looked like before. Man, I hate that style of hardware! But I thought the rest of it was super cute!

Old thrifted dresser before the makeover

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Supplies Needed for Navy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover

Remove Hardware and Fill in the Old Holes

Switching out the hardware is the easiest way to update an old worn-out piece of furniture.

I started by unscrewing the old hardware off of the drawers.

Then I grabbed some KwikWood (my favorite product for filling in old hardware holes!) and shoved it in the old hardware holes.

Here’s my quick tutorial on the best way to fill old hardware holes.

And here’s a Comparison: Filling Holes when Replacing Cabinet or Furniture Hardware. Mind Blown!

Seriously, this Kwikwood is amazing. It dries hard, dries quickly (in an hour), and it doesn’t shrink, crack or have air bubbles in it like wood filler and Bondo!

NOTE: KwikWood will make Milk Paint chip, so I seal the KwikWood with a coat of water-based poly to keep the milk paint from chipping over the KwikWood (I didn’t want to be able to see the KwikWood!)

Sand the Top of the Dresser

Next, I sanded the top of the dresser to prepare it for stain.

If you check out the video, you can see how many scratches were on the top!

So it was much easier just to sand it down to stain than to get it smooth for paint.

Plus, I just love the look of a stained top dresser.

I sanded it down with 100 grit, then 150 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper on my favorite sander for furniture, the 3×4 Vacuum Compatible SurfPrep Sander. (Use code RAY10 to get 10% off your order.)

It’s a pricey sander… so check out my SurfPrep Sander review here before you think about buying one!

Or you can see how the SurfPrep compares to cheaper alternative sanders in our review of the best sander for furniture here!

Sand the top of the dresser for a stained wood top

When I sand furniture down to bare wood I like to slowly go through the different grits of sandpaper to help minimize those pesky sanding marks that power sanders create.

Learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here!

After I sanded it all down nice and smooth, I got it nice and wet and then let it dry.

Getting it wet made the grain stand up, so then I could go back with 220 grit again and get it even more smooth!

Prep the Dresser for Paint

Prepping furniture for milk paint is a little bit different than most furniture paint.

If I want a chippy-painted look, I don’t sand the furniture before painting!

This is a huge difference than with any other kind of paint I use (even chalk-style paint) because I always sand furniture to help the paint stick.

Check out this post on how to prepare furniture for paint.

But in this case, I don’t want the paint to stick as well.

Don’t worry though, where milk paint sticks, it STICKS! So it’s just fine to not sand wood before painting with milk paint. (Unless it’s really slick or shiny.)

I just cleaned it with Krud Kutter (my fav cleaner!) and an old damp rag(the best cleaner to remove any grease, grime or oils!) and taped off the drawers with some painters tape.

Mix the Milk Paint

While the dresser was drying from being scrubbed, I moved onto mixing the milk paint.

Milk paint comes in a powder that has to be mixed with equal parts water before you can paint it.

And then it needs to sit for about 10-15 minutes before you paint with it (it will get thicker and dissolve in that little bit of time).

Seriously, mixing milk paint is super simple. Here is a quick tutorial on how to mix milk paint.

Really, you just put equal parts water and milk paint powder in a container with a screw-on lid. Then you shake it up for a minute or two.

Just be sure to mix it in small batches, (1/2 cup powder and 1/2 cup water are perfect!) because it doesn’t last very long once it’s mixed up.

Stain the Top of the Dresser

While I waited for the milk paint, I stained the top of the dresser.

I like to start with wood conditioner before I stain anything.

Wood conditioner just makes it so the wood soaks in the wood stain evenly.

Just wipe it on all over and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then wipe off any excess.

Then I stained the top with Special Walnut Wood Stain, making sure to wipe it on evenly and with the grain.

Learn more about how to stain wood darker here!

Stained Wood Top of Blue Painted Dresser

Paint 2 coats of Milk Paint

Next, I started painting the dresser with my freshly mixed milk paint.

I used my round Zibra paint brush, but if you have a paint sprayer, you can also spray milk paint!

Click here to read more about The Best Paint Brush for Painting Furniture or here to discover the Best HVLP Paint Sprayers for Furniture.

I painted on the first coat, let it dry and then I painted the second coat.

Two coats of milk paint is usually perfect!

But this dresser had a little bit of a laminate/particle board on its sides.

And milk paint and laminate don’t work very well together.

Since I knew they didn’t work too well together, I made sure to sand that part with 220 grit before I painted, but the milk paint still chipped more than I wanted it to.

So I sanded those areas down really well and then painted a coat of Extra Bond (primer for milk paint) over the areas that chipped too much.

Then I went back and painted 2 more coats over the extra bond.

Chippy Milk Painted Dresser During Makeover

(Typically extra bond gets mixed into the milk paint after the milk paint is mixed. Extra bond just makes it so the milk paint sticks better. But since I didn’t have any more paint, I put the extra bond straight on.)

Sand the Milk Paint to Make it Chippy

Finally, I sanded the dry milk-painted dresser down with 220 grit sandpaper to reveal all of the chippy paint!!

navy blue painted dresser during makeover

You could get away with not sanding, but sanding really makes any paint that might chip off come off.

Check out these 6 other techniques to distress furniture that anyone can do!

Then I vacuumed up all the dust and wiped it all down with a lint-free rag.

How to Seal Milk Paint

Since the laminate areas were chipping too much, I didn’t want to seal the milk paint with water-based poly like I usually do.

I usually spray polyurethane on.

Instead, I applied a couple of coats of Real Milk Paint Company Wax with a latex glove and then an old sock over the glove.

Holy moly that wax went on SO SMOOTH!! It soaked into the paint like a dream and then it dried pretty quickly.

how to seal milk paint with wax - use a sock!

After that experience, I’m sure I’m going to use wax over milk paint more often!

If you’re not sure about what to seal milk paint with, check out this post about how to seal milk paint.

I also sealed the stained wood top with wax!


I finished off the dresser with some DIY leather pulls that I made.

All of the materials only cost $24ish for 8 pulls. So they were right around $3 each! Not bad for super cute hardware!

I also lined the drawers with some super cute floral paper.

Drawers lined with floral wrapping paper

Before you use your dresser, be sure to let the wax dry for a couple of days. Then be really careful with it for at least 30 days while the wax cures.

Check out more painted dresser ideas here.

DIY Dresser Painted in Navy Blue with DIY leather pulls

Navy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover

Navy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover

If you love chippy farmhouse furniture, this tutorial is for you! Turn your old dresser into a chippy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover with some milk paint.


  1. Remove Hardware and fill in the old holes
  2. Sand the top of the dresser
  3. Prep the dresser for paint
  4. Mix the Milk Paint
  5. Stain the top of the dresser
  6. Paint 2 coats
  7. Sand to make the paint chippy
  8. Seal with Wax

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    DIY Dresser Painted in Navy Blue with DIY leather pulls


    Before and After Dresser Makeover

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    One Comment

    1. Awesome! An amazing transformation!

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