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!
Supplies Used for Navy Blue DIY Dresser Makeover
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- Krud Kutter
- 100 – 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Varathane Polyurethane
- Lint Free Rags – for the wood stain and conditioner
- Wood Conditioner
- Wood Stain
- Containers with Lids for Milk Paint
- Milk Paint
- Zibra Brush
- Extra Bond
- Disposable Gloves and Old Sock
Check out our list of the best painting furniture supplies you must have!
Remove Dresser Hardware and Fill in 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. Learn more about how to change hardware on a dresser in this post.
Then I grabbed some KwikWood (my favorite product for filling in old hardware holes!) and shoved it in the old hardware holes.
And here’s a comparison of ways of filling holes when replacing cabinet or furniture hardware. Mind Blown!
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 Top of 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.
It’s a pricey sander… so check out my review detailing what you need to get started with a SurfPrep sander before you think about buying one!
Or you can see how the SurfPrep compares to cheaper alternative sanders in our review of the best sanders for furniture here!
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 Dresser for Milk 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 from any other kind of paint I use (even chalk-style paint) because I always sand furniture to help the paint stick. 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 the wood before painting with milk paint. (Unless it’s really slick or shiny.)
Get tips and tricks on how to prevent paint bleed through painter’s tape here.
How to Mix Milk Paint
While the dresser was drying from being scrubbed, I moved on to mixing the milk paint. Milk paint comes in a powder that has to be mixed with equal parts of 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 mixing 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.
Staining The Top of a 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!
Paint Dresser Navy Blue with Milk Paint
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 laminate/particle board on its sides. And milk paint and laminate don’t work very well together.
Painting particle board can be a bit tricky, learn more on how to paint particle board furniture here.
If there’s any damage, it’s also important to address this issue as soon as possible to prevent any further issues. Learn more about how to repair damaged particle board furniture here.
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.
(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 Milk Paint for A Chippy Look
Finally, I sanded the dry milk-painted dresser down with 220 grit sandpaper to reveal all of the chippy paint!!
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 for distressing furniture!
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.
Holy moly that wax went on SO SMOOTH!! It soaked into the paint like a dream and then it dried pretty quickly.
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 sealing milk paint. I also sealed the stained wood top with wax!
Add New Dresser Hardware
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.
Learn how to line your drawers yourself and find out the best material to line dresser drawers here. If you need to update or replace your liner, we have a guide on how to remove contact paper from wood here.
Check out these tips and tricks for finishing touches of painting furniture if you want a successful makeover.
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.
More Before And After Makeovers
Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.
- Start by removing hardware from the dresser then fill in the old hardware holes with KwikWood.
- Next, sand the top of the dresser to prepare it for stain.
- Clean the dresser with Krud Kutter and an old damp rag and let dry.
- Now, mix milk paint powder with equal parts water. Mix it in small batches, (1/2 cup powder and 1/2 cup water are perfect!) and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before you paint with it.
- While the milk paint mix sits, stain the top of the dresser. Wipe with wood conditioner first and leave it for 5 minutes. Wipe excess then wipe the wood stain onto the top evenly and with the grain.
- Apply the first coat of milk paint, let it dry and then paint the second coat. Two coats of milk paint is usually perfect!
- For areas that chipped too much, apply a coat of Extra Bond over them. Paint 2 more coats of milk paint over the extra bond.
- Sand the dry milk-painted dresser down with 220 grit sandpaper for the chippy look.
- To seal the milk paint, apply a couple coats of wax using a latex glove and then an old sock over the glove. Seal the stained wood top with wax as well.
- Finish the dresser by attaching hardware.
- And 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.
More Chippy Painted Furniture Makeovers
- Chippy Paint Finish
- Black Milk Painted Dresser
- Repurposed Sewing Table
- Painted Display Cabinet
- Corner Cabinet Makeover
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