A couple of weeks ago I heard a staggering statistic. Nearly 10 million tons of household furniture finds it’s way to our landfills every year. 10 million tons! It’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around that number. It gave me renewed appreciation for the DIY community and our emphasis on up-cycling and reusing old pieces. As it turns out, we are doing more than just expressing our creativity and creating beautiful spaces, we are also doing something good for our planet.
So last week when I was wanting to test a new paint sprayer I decided to paint a dresser I’ve had sitting in my garage.
About 5 years ago I purchased a mid-century set of dressers for my son. We’d recently moved and he was home from college for the summer. We needed something to hold his clothing. He was very much into creating a bachelor pad, with clean, modern colors and furnishings. These dressers were solidly built with dovetail drawers and mahogany veneer. The clean lines were perfect for a coat of black paint and new, shiny chrome hardware.
Ugly! But it has potential!
5 years later, one dresser sits in my daughter’s room, unchanged from the way I purchased it. The other, also unaltered, spent some time with my oldest daughter but made it’s way back to my garage several months ago.
I dusted off the cobwebs, pulled it from the garage and got to work.
(Please note this contains links by which This Place I Belong can profit and some items were provided to me free of charge. However, I never recommend a product I don’t believe in.)
First, I cleaned it with A Maker’s Studio Furniture and Cabinet Cleaner. This removes any dirt, grime, old wax or residue from dust and cleaning products. This is important because I had no idea what this old dresser had been exposed to.
Next, using wood filler, I filled a couple of spots where the veneer was missing then sanded them after the filler had dried. Because I intended to use A Maker’s Studio Rescue and Restore Paint and it will stick to anything that would have been the extent of my sanding if the existing finish had been sound. However, the finish on this piece was chipping up in several places. I simply hit the bad spots with the sander. This took less than 10 minutes.
At this point, I should have been ready to paint. However, my brief sanding had taken the finish down to the mahogany veneer in several places. It’s been my experience that when painting mahogany from this era, color will commonly bleed through the new paint. For this reason, I decided to prime. Initially I was going to spot prime the exposed areas only, so rather than use the new sprayer, I just grabbed a brush.
I used the Specialty Wedge Brush from A Maker’s Studio. This microfiber brush is amazing! It lays down a beautiful finish with no brush marks. When it was all said and done, because I’m a little bit crazy and sometimes don’t know when to stop, I’d primed the entire dresser with a quality, water-based, stain blocking primer.
But alas, I still experienced bleed through on the top where the mahogany had been exposed. I coated that spot again. And again. And again. Still, I had that ugly brown mark bleeding through. If you read my post on primers, you might be wondering why I didn’t use the shellac based BIN primer since I touted it as the absolute best. Good question. I had some water-based primer left from a project where low odor was desired, and I was out of BIN. Because I’m impatient, I decided to use what I had rather than make the trip to the store to buy BIN.
After four, unsuccessful coats, I decided I had to have BIN. Bin comes in regular paint cans and in spray cans. For small things like this, the spray can is the ultimate in convenience. I sprayed that obnoxious dark spot and like magic, it disappeared! Finally, I was ready to paint.
I have a paint sprayer I use when painting large projects, like barns and whole houses, but I don’t pull it out very often. I simply don’t like cleaning it. So, unless it’s a large project, I typically reach for a brush or roller.
Still, I was excited to try this little guy. It’s the HomeRight Finish Max Super Sprayer and the good folks at HomeRight sent me one to test.
I used A Maker’s Studio Weathered Shutters Rescue and Restore Paint. This is a chalk-based, matte paint that does not require wax! You can wax it to achieve different looks, but you don’t have to. For me, this is a huge benefit. I only had 1 – 16oz jar of the Weathered Shutters paint and I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t be enough for the entire dresser. That little jar covered the entire dresser with about 20% left over.
For use with the sprayer, I diluted it with water by 20%. The sprayer came with several different tips and a chart showing which tip to use depending on the desired finish. I wanted a fine finish so I used the green tip.
After I’d poured the paint into the sprayer, I realized it might have been a good idea to test with water in order to get a feel for how it works. Oh well. It was too late so I just started spraying and hoped for the best. It was great! It laid down a beautiful finish and was so easy to use.
I was a little frustrated because the spray pattern was fairly narrow. I wanted to be able to cover more with each pass. When the piece was finished and I was cleaning the sprayer, I discovered a little wheel I’d previously missed. That wheel allows you to control the width of the spray pattern. My impatience got the best of me again! If I’d taken the time to read the instructions before jumping right in, I would have known about that feature and saved myself some frustration.
I loved using the sprayer, but the clean-up is what hooked me. It was so, so simple. I just pumped water through it then used the little brush provided to make sure I removed all of the paint from the little crevices and it was done, making this one of my favorite, must-have tools.
When the paint had dried, I moved the dresser into my dining room to finish it. That’s when I really noticed the smell. Rescue Restore Paint is infused with essential oils. It smells wonderful, and it wasn’t long before the smell filled the entire dining room. For days I found myself drawn to the dining room simply for the smell.
I used the Floor Tile Traditional Mesh Stencil from A Maker’s Studio and Blessed Rescue and Restore Paint to add some interest to the piece. By the way, for a limited time, the Mesh Stencils are all 50% off! The stencil used on the dresser is only $9.00 and some are as cheap as $5.00.
Because I didn’t like the shape of the original hardware, I’d intended to change all of it. When I couldn’t find anything I really loved at Hobby Lobby I just used the Blessed paint and painted the original hardware. It turned out much better than I expected and I really liked the result.
The dresser is still sitting in the dining room. It smells heavenly so I’m not in a big hurry to move it out and we are trying to decided where it should live. Three of my daughters are currently pleading their cases, each vying for the dresser that was once forgotten, abandoned and covered in cobwebs. It’s amazing what a little paint, a little time, and great tools can accomplish.