Here's the before:
It had great lines, but was fairly well worn. There were lots of dings, scrapes and other issues like this gunky mess. Eew.
Originally I had planned on stripping and restaining it, but decided to lighten it up for our dark brown bedroom by painting it white.
Warning: DIY info ahead. If you're only interested in pretty pictures, just ignore all the words.
The first step was to give the whole dresser a good sanding to scuff up the finish. I used a power tool, if you can believe it. Jason got me all set up with our palm sander (which had not been used in almost 10 years), and I went to town. Some might say I was a little over zealous! In the areas of the dresser that are more detailed, I used a sanding sponge. Once it was all sanded, I tried to repair as many holes and dings as I could with wood putty.
After more sanding and filling, eventually I got to the step of priming. I had a great latex primer on hand already, so I used that. This is what happened:
For those of you who don't know, it's called tannin bleed. Tannin is a chemical from the natural wood that was extracted to the surface because of the water in the latex primer. It's common with certain species of wood, including mahogany. I had heard of it but hadn't remembered to keep the wood species in mind before I used the latex primer. Lesson learned (and not my first of the project). I switched to an oil-based primer instead, as recommended by furniture refinisher Natty by Design. I sent her a panic email but she reassured me that it's okay to use oil primer on top of latex primer and that all would be well.
The oil-based primer showed off more imperfections, so I did more filling and sanding and filling and sanding. Then I sprayed on a couple more coats of primer. Stinky stuff.
Finally it was time to get the actual paint on there! The only issue is that I was using a paint sprayer for the first time, so I had a few spots where I sprayed the paint too heavily, which resulted in drips. I did a lot of sanding to correct my mistakes, which I could not see until they dried because my workspace is our basement, which has horrible lighting. Another lesson learned.
I think I used three coats of paint. Had to let it dry 24 hours before I could put on the protective polyurethane finish. I ended up using 4 coats of poly, mainly because I knew the top would get a lot of wear and tear. After the final coat of poly had dried for 24 hours, I put the hardware back on. It's amazing how the light paint makes the hardware look darker than it did against the dark mahogany.
By the way, I'm in love with my paint sprayer. It works for primer, paint and poly. The primer and paint have to be thinned out which is kinda a pain, but the poly is thin enough to go through the sprayer as is. Either way, it's easier and quicker than rolling and/or brushing on several layers of primer, paint and poly. My next project will go even more smoothly now that I'm getting a little more used to it.
Again, here's the before:
And the rejuvenated and brightened after:
It's a Hepplewhite reproduction mahogany bow-front dresser with a valance skirt and French flared feet. The oval French brass pulls have just the right amount of patina. Did all that furniture-speak make me sound smart? The Mr. likes to know the history of a piece, so I thought I'd at least research the design details even if I wouldn't be able to track down where the dresser had been since its birth.
A big shout out to Kate at Centsational Girl for her many tutorials that I've pored over, which taught me about Floetrol (which I used to thin my paint for the sprayer) as well as the steps to complete a project like this and the required time to wait (patiently or not) between steps. And many thanks to Natty by Design for inspiring me to purchase and use a paint sprayer (power tool #2 on this project!) and for talking me off the ledge during my tannin bleed incident.
Next on the furniture painting list is a makeover of two pieces to be used as nightstands in our master bedroom.
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