July 10, 2014

Dresser Makeover: Paint Job and Scrapbook Paper Drawers

Ever since I finished that pesky MBA, my crafting ambitions have been increasingly loftier.  Over the past couple months, my eyes have been on the prize of this dresser makeover.  A hand-me-down from step-in-law-in-laws (my husband's stepbrother's father-in-law's house- seriously), this dresser was the perfect style I wanted and just needed to be spruced to fit in with the rest of the nursery being put together for my early bird daughter.

Before.  It's got good lines and stuff.  Even if my husband doesn't care for Mod furniture.  Price: $0, unless you count the cost of gas to drive a few hours and back to get it from the distant relation by marriage's house.

For comparison, here's a sample of the kinds of dressers I was mooning over via Pinterest.  Cost?  $800 - $3,000.

So my plan was to sand it, paint white, and add scrapbook paper to the sides of the drawers similar to other fun projects I saw on Pinterest where people painted or mod podged drawers in kids' rooms.  I used this site's great advice on painting furniture, and agree that the Zinsser primer is the way to go.  Hubby helped me, and a good thing too, because we finished painting a mere 8 hours before my water broke.  Hah... hah...  I said my daughter was an early bird, right?  I thought I had 4 more weeks to easily wrap up this dresser project.  Instead, she was born the next day and I had to squeeze in my Mod Podge scrapbook paper-ing work in the odd bits of time here and there over the last few weeks.  All's well that ends well, though!


So what took place to get this nice result?

  • Wood fill, if necessary
  • Mouse sander and paper
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • 1 quart Zinsser primer (or any adhesive primer)
  • 1/2 gallon white paint. I used leftover paint already on hand from painting a pantry door- Behr interior semi-gloss.  Aside: I've decided I do in fact hate Behr paint.  It always feels a little bit tacky- like stuff sticks to it, you know?  Doesn't get a nice finish like other brands.  Same is true for walls I've painted with Behr.
  • Paint brushes, trays, etc. (use a roller or not as you prefer; I didn't like the roller look so used brushes all over this project)
  • Medium jar glossy Mod Podge
  • Optional: foam roller to apply Mod Podge, but a paint brush works fine as well
  • Scrapbook paper (at least 2 sheets for each drawer; I recommend a different pattern for each drawer instead of doing all of the drawers in one pattern)
  • Scissors
  1. Fill any gouges, nail holes, etc. with wood fill as needed.  Allow to dry and sand.
  2. Sand dresser body and drawer fronts with mouse sander (like our Black & Decker one).  Our dresser had a bit of a laminate finish, so we opted for this more aggressive sanding than just a light once-over with sandpaper.
  3. Sand details, such as handles, thin arches, feet, etc. with small square of sandpaper.
  4. Wipe down/brush off entire dresser, including insides, to remove dust from sanding.  All it takes is one sneeze into that dust once you've started painting to make you unleash a torrent of swear words on your project, so just save yourself the anger.
  5. Apply a light coat of primer all over.  DO prime and paint sides of drawers that will not be covered by scrapbook paper, such as drawer fronts where they attach to drawer bodies.  Look at my "after" pic on the right and you'll see where hubby and I said "we don't need to paint that part, right?  Right..." and turns out we should have.  Oh well.  Mine isn't the pristine style; it's a bit of shabby chic I guess, so this was fine by me.  My younger, more OCD self would not have allowed for such tomfoolery.
  6. Paint with 2 or 3 coats paint.
  7. Cut scrapbook paper to size for drawer sides.  Now, note that you do NOT have to cover the entire drawer side in scrapbook paper.  My drawers were wider than the large square sheets of paper, but I didn't mess with trying to perfectly cover the entire side.  You only have to cover as much of the drawer as you see when you pull it out to grab clothes.  You don't pull the drawer out all the way, so you don't need to cover the sides all the way.  Save yourself a headache and some paper. :)
  8. Brush Mod Podge on drawer sides.  Carefully lay paper onto drawer sides, starting at one edge and slowly smoothing down paper bit-by-bit.  Let dry.  Brush on top layer of Mod Podge on scrapbook paper.  I learned AFTER the fact that if you apply the Mod Podge on top while your "under" layer (attaching the paper to the furniture) is still wet, this is why you get wrinkles and bubbles.  This explains why my first drawer (my test one, where I was meticulous and waited for each step to dry) was nice and smooth and my other drawers (where I was falsely confident that I knew what I was doing) were bubbled.  Humpf.  Well, if you're in for a penny with non-perfect styling, in for a pound.
  9. Put drawers back into dresser and grin like a fool over your DIY furniture makeover!
My sanding servant, I mean, helper.

See, we sanded down a good bit to get that laminate texture off.

Our mouse sander put to good use!

Primer applied.  I still stand by my assertion that you don't need a thick coat of primer.  I did the right side.

The frugal partner's thin coat.

The spender's thick coat.  Also: side-to-side paint strokes.  What?!?

Painted.  Looks great!

I see nothing superior about this side that was so generously primed...  ;)

Ok, now we're on to the scrapbook paper stage!  Note that the paper doesn't cover the entire side because this is just a cute peek-a-boo when you open the drawers.  Also note the edge that we decided not to paint, and should have.  Currently on the "touch up" list.

Remember what I said about bubbles?  Ugh!  So beautiful on the other drawer, and so bubbly here.

But hey, it looks pretty great in the end, so count me happy!

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