2014-10-19A few years ago a friend gifted me this lovely old dresser. His wife had stripped it of its many layers of paint, but then had lost interest in the project. It had all of its original steel casters and tin lock hole covers (albeit both were covered in many layers of paint). The dresser is old and its back had never been painted. Instead, it was rough wood and very dry.

2014-10-19 (1)Up into the art studio it went and there it waited…

Fast forward to last weekend. I have been on a major de-cluttering kick and chose to move my lovely pale yellow hutch/dresser out of my bedroom along with the bedside table. As this dresser is shorter than my other dresser, I figured it was time to rehab it and put it to use. Before sanding it, I checked the overall condition, something I’d not yet done. I made a few minor structural repairs to lessen the ‘sway’ to the frame. I removed the wheels and tin lock hole covers and gave them all a good scrubbing with steel wool.

2014-10-22After spending several hours (with a mechanical sander), I determined that no amount of sanding was going to get the stain out of the top or the fine slivers of paint (or long-dried paint remover goo) out of the wood grain. I switched to plan B – milk paint.

I ordered two pouches of my favorite milk paint in Soldier Blue. I mixed it up (the hand-held blender does an awesome job) and then set about giving the dresser a few coats. I love milk paint because it allows the grain to show through, doesn’t chip, and leaves an incredibly smooth surface. As the dresser had many imperfections, I didn’t want a consistent, flat coat of paint. When I sanded the last coat, if any wood became exposed, I chose to leave it rather than put on an additional coat.

2014-10-26Satisfied with the color, I applied furniture paste wax to not only protect the paint but also to condition the wood – inside and out. The new hardware is on and it’s outside overnight to off-gas the wax fumes. I’m pleased with the color and love the upper drawers’ brass knobs.

I’m not loving the lower drawers’ pulls and anticipate replacing with brass bails at some point. However, given the quick turn around and total cost of $50.00 to rehab this piece, I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I love how the wood grain shows through and how on the sides, the base wood peeks out from under the milk paint. The wax is super shiny and smooth.


Welcome, beautiful. You’ll look lovely paired with my old brass bed. You remind me of an old beloved pair of blue jeans with brass pocket rivets.

2014-10-26 (1)