Painting a Dresser
Painting a Dresser is a fairly easy way to make it look new again, or make it match your style of decor. Here’s a great way to paint a dresser so it looks like a pro did it! (And so it will last a long time!)
Get more Blue Painted Furniture Ideas here!
Alright, we found this set of dressers… and thought it would be fun to have a little friendly competition between my husband and me.
I’m painting the long dresser and he’s painting the tall one… and you get to decide who did it better.
Both of these dressers will be for sale too… sooo I wonder which one will sell faster and which one for more money. Haha
Today I’m sharing my makeover, and next time we’ll share his.
Supplies Used For Painting A Dresser
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- Electric Screwdriver
- Krud Kutter and a Damp Rag
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- SurfPrep Sander (Get 10% off with code RAY10)
- Fine Grit Foam Sanding Pad
- Tack Cloth
- Clear Shellac
- Fusion Mineral Paint in the colors Algonquin, Little Whale, French Eggshell, Homestead Blue and Casement
- Paint Sprayer
- Paint Filters
- Staalmeester Paint Brush
- Drill Bits
- New Hardware
Grab our list of 10 must have supplies for painting furniture too!
Prep And Clean Before Painting A Dresser
Okay, so of course I removed the old hardware and cleaned the dresser with Krud Kutter.
Krud Kutter is my favorite cleaner to clean furniture with before painting.
I just spray it on and then wipe and scrub the surface to remove all of the gunk.
Learn more on how to clean furniture before painting here.
And read this post to learn more about How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.
The inside got a good vacuum job as well. Haha
I’ll come back and freshen up the inside of the drawers later with some Wise Owl Furniture Salve.
Then I sanded the dresser with 220 grit sandpaper on my SurfPrep sander.
Read this post to learn more about SurfPrep Sander and why I love it so much!
Or learn about the Best Sanders for Furniture here!
The top of these dressers are made of laminate, which is basically a plastic, so I sanded the laminate extra well.
When I got down to the areas that had some more detail, I switched the sandpaper for a fine grit foam pad to help me get into the curves and details better.
Learn more about sandpaper for furniture painting here.
This step is called scuff sanding and a little bit of it goes a long way to help make the paint stick to wood and laminate.
Read this post to learn more about The Importance of Sanding Before Painting Furniture.
This sander is hooked up to my shop vac, so most of the dust gets sucked up, but not all of it, so I always go back and vacuum up the dust, and wipe everything off with a tack cloth, just to make sure the dust is all gone.
An hour after I started this project, I was done with the prep, so I moved on to priming.
I sprayed 2 coats of clear shellac all over the dresser, letting it dry for an hour between coats.
Do I Need to Prime?
This clear shellac helps make paint stick, but it also blocks this annoying thing called bleedthrough.
Bleedthrough is basically stains that come through the paint, from wood.
And they will just keep showing up even if you keep painting more coats of paint on…until you use a product that will block them.
So far, it has worked well with every paint that I have used it with. Chalk paint, mineral paint, latex, all-in-one, acrylic, enamel…
Learn more about How to Stop Stains from Coming Through Paint here!
Why Clear Shellac?
I like it because I can spray it on easily, it dries quickly, it’s clear, it helps the paint stick to wood and laminate, and it blocks bleedthrough really well… It’s just my preferred primer.
But, you can definitely use a different product that is actually technically a primer instead. haha (Shellac Based is best for furniture!)
Learn more about the best primers for painting furniture here.
Now that we have all that cleaning, sanding, priming, and prep work out of the way, our dresser is finally ready to get painted!
Alright, this makeover I wanted to try something I haven’t done before… and it was a total flop. But… it is what it is.
I wanted to see if I could whitewash the laminate top.
So I brushed on some thinned-out paint, but I didn’t wipe it away because well, it obviously didn’t soak into the laminate like it usually would soak into the wood…
Read through this post to learn how to whitewash wood.
I let it dry like that… and it honestly… just didn’t look good.
So I tried sanding it a bit. But this fusion paint was on there pretty good.
I could have tried harder, but I decided to just try a different technique. So I guess I’ll have to find another piece to whitewash in the future.
Check out whitewashed furniture ideas here.
By the way, learn more about how to paint laminate furniture without sanding here.
So, I painted a second coat, and let it dry.
And then I put some water-based wood stain on it.
Water-based wood stain is… different than oil-based.
It dries faster, it’s more workable… which is a good thing and a bad thing.
I ended up going back over it with more stain on the whole thing 3 different times, all within 25 minutes before I finally got it looking decent.
Check out the Best Wood Stains for Refinishing Furniture here.
So then I let that dry.
I’m still not sure that I love it, but I thought you guys might like it, so I left it… and moved on to the next part… thinking I may or may not paint over it.
Spraying Fusion Mineral Paint
The next day, I mixed up a few different paint colors from Fusion.
I mixed what I had left of Little Whale and French Eggshell. And then I mixed in some Homestead blue and Casement.
Then I poured it into my favorite entry-level paint sprayer that you’ve seen me using in soo many videos now.
And I mixed a little water in as well to thin it out and make it spray a nicer-looking finish.
Learn more about using the Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer here.
Fusion Mineral Paint
Let’s talk about the paint for just a second shall we? Fusion Mineral Paint is a super durable paint. It adheres very well, dries quickly, and dries hard.
My only complaint with it is that it dries to a matte finish. Otherwise, I love it!
Check out this comparison post on Fusion Mineral Paint VS Heirloom Traditions Paint
Taping off the Top
Before I sprayed though, I taped the top off with some yellow frog tape, because it’s for delicate surfaces, like surfaces that have recently been painted.
And then I put some pretaped plastic over the rest of the top to cover it all up.
Read this post to learn more about How to Prevent Overspray When Painting Furniture.
Painting a Dresser with a Paint Sprayer
And then I tested the sprayer out before I sprayed the dresser. I turned the little paint flow dial until I got it where I felt good about it.
And I sprayed a light coat of paint all over.
Painting the Inside of the Drawers with a Brush
When the paint felt dry, I opened up the drawers… and since I was feeling lazy, I brushed some paint on the top and side edges of the drawer front.
Typically, I tape the drawers in plastic so I can spray them… but I didn’t feel like it.
So I brushed 2 coats on with the Staalmeester paintbrush.
Whenever I use Fusion Mineral Paint, the Staalmeester brush is my go-to. It honestly really helps reduce the brush marks left behind with Fusion Paint.
Learn more about The Best Paint Brushes for Painting Furniture here!
Taking Care of Paint Drips and Touch-Ups
When the drawers were dry, I pushed them back in and noticed some paint drips, so I sanded out the paint drips with a fine-grit foam sponge, cleaned up the dust, and then sprayed a second coat of paint.
And then I noticed a nice scratch on the top of the dresser that I hadn’t noticed before.
Sooooo with a lot of annoyance, I filled it in, touched up the paint, sanded the paint, and stained it…. I ended up doing that a couple of times before I gave in and just painted that whole front edge again.
Why do I try to cut corners?? It always takes more time in the end!
With that all done, I finally moved on to the topcoat.
Fusion technically doesn’t need a topcoat to be durable. But, I don’t care for the matte finish that gets dirty and scuffed up easily.. so I topcoat it.
You can read all about the different options of Topcoats for Painting Furniture here!
But, with a sprayer, top coating is so stinking easy.
I mixed up my favorite topcoat, poured it into the sprayer, added a splash of water, mixed it again, and then sprayed 2 coats of it all over the dresser, letting it dry between coats.
Since I’m a bit OCD with how my furniture feels, I sanded the top with 400-grit sandpaper to help make it feel smooth, cleaned off the dust, and then sprayed another coat just on the top.
Click over here to learn more about all my tips on spraying polyurethane.
Attach New Hardware
By the time all of the topcoat was done, I had figured out the hardware situation…
But, the new hardware was just ¼ of an inch bigger than the original hardware.
Soooo instead of filling in the old hardware holes and drilling new holes, I just kind of used a drill bit to make the hole wider… wide enough for the screws to attach to the new pulls, but not too big that they would show past the base of the hardware.
Here’s what it looks like now!
I’m still not 100% sold on the top. I love the color though! What do you think?? Do you think I should redo it?
Painting a Dresser
Painting a dresser is a great way to transform outdated furniture into a piece that would match your home! Here are the steps on how to paint a dresser like a pro.
- Remove old hardware, clean the dresser and scuff sand the surface to prep for paint.
- Prime with 2 coats of shellac.
- Whitewash the top to create a natural weathered look.
- Pour the paint into the paint sprayer through a mesh filter and mix a little water to thin it out.
- Tape off the top to prevent overspray.
- Spray a couple of coats of paint all over.
- Brush 2 coats of paint onto the top and side edges of the drawers.
- Topcoat with waterbased polyurethane.
- Attach new hardware and enjoy!
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More Before And After Makeovers
Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.
It’s funny, my husband is getting close to being done with his makeover now, and I think I might like his better! I can’t wait for you to see it!
More Painting Dresser Ideas:
- All in ONE Painted DIY Dresser Makeover
- Homemade Chalk Painting a Dresser
- Painting a Dresser Without Sanding or Priming
- Painting Furniture with Lilly Moon Paint
- How to Paint Over Oil Based Paint
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Ok, I actually like it although I’d rather be able to see it in person! The whole time I was reading thing, I was thinking of my custom laminate dining table debachle. I guess I could try this, but it’s 72 inches plus leaf and I worry I wouldn’t get it to look as nice. Plus the durability part is equivalent to me just painting it. Thanks for sharing your process. I say keep it this way, don’t paint over it.