Intermediate UpCycles

Dresser Makeover

Skill Level

Creating and designing furniture like this piece is one of my favorite things to do. This dresser makeover was exciting to design. I always start a design like this with a sample piece. Painted a piece of wood with General Finishes Basil Milk Paint once dried lightly distressed and then glazed with watered down General Finishes Waterbase Stain – Graphite. I decided to use the stain as a glaze because I wanted the mirror frame and top of the dresser the same Graphite grey color.

General Finishes Paint and stain color sample

The Plan

Here is how the dresser makeover started. Drawers needed some re-gluing. I needed to strip the top of the dresser and the mirror. I am going to keep the hardware because love the vintage vibe of this dresser and want to showcase that in this piece.

** Do you see the dowels on the drawer sides? Pretty crazy design, this was made in 1870 to 1900s it is a Knapp Joint.

I always do the top first, its easier to tape off the top than the bottom if I need to. Took the top down to raw wood, because this top is solid oak I decided to take the finish off by sanding. I usually use a chemical stripper which you can learn more about here.

Stained the top Graphite Grey and clear coated using Aqua Coats Clear Lacquer. Aqua Coats Clear Lacquer is water-based and brushes on nicely if you do not have access to a sprayer. I use a Apollo 7500 series with a 1.8mm needle and do not need to thin this.

Painted using the Basil Green, lightly distressed using a 220 grit sandpaper a dust off and then glazed. I used General Finishes Graphite Grey which I diluted with water and Extender. I didn’t track a formula just added a little of each. Diluting it helps with extending the workability and wipes off easier.

When I distress I try to choose areas that would have been common areas of use. Drawer edges, and around drawer handles. Trying to get the distressing to look constantly, un-constant, which is an oxymoron but explains my madness.

I love the glaze making the wood showing through the distressing look the same color as the top. This completes this dresser makeover.

Thanks for reading and happy reviving

Tara Lou

General Finishes Basil Green Milk Paint Distressed Dresser


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Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

2 thoughts on “Dresser Makeover

  1. Hi Tara Lou! I love your work and I usually love your tutorials but this post didnt have good pictures of each h step,.like they usually do. Has something changed? The dresser looks ama,ing.

    1. Cheryl,
      I know there isn’t the best of photos I was not anticipating writing a blog about this project, it just turned out so beautiful that I wanted to share the formula for the painting techniques. So I wrote very detailed instructions. Thank you Cheryl for reading.

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