From Minty Drab to Stately and Fab! How to Refurbish a Previously Painted Dresser.

Right off the bat you have to understand that when you start out trying to refurbish an already painted piece, that every time it will be different. How the piece was already painted can totally change how the prep process goes. From my experience, you're always better to remove the old paint, especially it it’s pealing. Pealing paint underneath makes for a horrible finished product. These are the steps I took to give this piece an update!

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Step 1 - Clean it up!

This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how much gets left behind in old dressers. As your first move, throw some gloves on a clean out and wipe down every drawer and in behind them all.

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Step 2 - Get to Sanding

On pre-painted pieces I always give the sander a go first to see how easy the paint is to remove. In this case, the dresser was solid wood, and the paint was chipping, so I knew I wanted to take it off, but immediately the sander wasn't making a big impact. On a piece like this I love to use an orbital sander with 60 or 80 grit paper.

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Step 3 - Pull Out the Stripper

If the sander just isn’t cutting it then I go ahead and apply stripper to the piece. In this case the body was sanding nicely so I decided just to strip off the top. I applied a full coat of stripping gel with an old rag and let it sit for a couple of hours before scrapping it off.

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Step 4 - Get to Painting

Once my piece was nice and smooth I wiped it down with a damp rag and let it dry while I mixed up my paint. Some pieces are harder to remove paint from that others, when I get one that I’m not 100% happy with the removal on, I go ahead and use some Pixie Texture to give some dimension to the new paint coats. This stuff is non-toxic and gives a super cool base for a unique wax finish! I mixed some Annie Sloan ‘Paris Grey’ with just a. bit of pixie texture until I had a bit of dimension in the paint. This mixture is super subjective. I find Annie Sloan paint thick to begin with so I was careful not to add too much texture so it wasn't a thick mess to deal with. I used my Annie Sloan brush in a criss-cross pattern across the entire piece.

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Step 5 - Wax!

After two coats of paint and an ample 24 hours of dry time I began the waxing process. For this piece I wanted a unique multi-toned finish to go along with my textured surface so I chose to use Dixie Belle clear and black wax. I started with clear waxing the entire piece and then rubbed in the black along the edges. This black wax is super potent so you only need the finest bit on the brush to create a darker area.

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My finished product definitely had the tonal texture I was going for! It’s not your traditional wax blended piece but I love the uniqueness. For hardware I have two quick go-to finishes. One, I love RustOleum multi-dimensional spray paints, they look amazing on hardware and hold up great. Secondly, crystal knobs are a great quick fix for missing hardware on a huge variety of pieces, and they were great on the top middle drawer here!

My biggest thing about pre-painted pieces is going with the flow. Sometimes the old paint comes right off and sometimes you have to work with the texture, but regardless you’re going to end up with a one of a kind piece!

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Laura Cone