October 2, 2015

Painting a French Dresser

Yesterday I shared all the changes in our entry, including this French dresser that I refinished.  I found this dresser on Craig's List and purchased it for $100.  

Below is what it looked like when I bought it. It's a very heavy piece and in good solid shape but had some surface scuffs and flaws.
I removed the drawers and took off all the hardware.
  I wanted to emphasize the details on all the drawers.
Using an old plastic tray that had had fruit salad in it, I put blue (the blue I mixed and used on another cabinet) in one section, off white in the small section and the same blue lightened with off white in the third section. I mixed chalk-paint additive into all three colors. I didn't do any pre-sanding as I've found that chalk paint always adheres wonderfully.

I used the lighter blue and painted all around the edges first.
While it was still wet, I painted the center of the drawer fronts the dark blue. It's a subtle difference but does a lot to keep your piece from looking flat and cheap.
When I painted the body of the dresser, I used all three shades of paint to give a very uneven finish.  I added extra of the off-white to the details.
I waited several hours until my paint had dried well and then using a sponge sander, distressed the dresser.  I focused on edges and corners that would naturally get the most wear and tear.

I had to put the hardware back on before I put the drawers back in.  I wanted to make sure my drawers matched the body and knew they'd get stuck and I couldn't get them open without the hardware - because that had already happened earlier!  lol

The next morning I went over the whole dresser with wax made for chalk paint that I purchased at Lowe's.  When it had dried well, I applied Rub n' Buff.  I have this 12 piece sample set.  I haven't had it long.  When I first got it, I experimented with it until I knew what to expect.  It's a great product and so much fun when you're refinishing furniture! (not a sponsored post).

I used the Antique Gold and went over all the curvy edges on the drawers and on the top and bottom of the cabinet.  You can also see the off-white streaks that I blended out on the top. The black streaks you're seeing is Rub n' Buff Ebony.

In this picture you can see the distressing, the Antique Gold and the Ebony Rub 'n Buff I used.  I also used some of the Pewter and Patina (a light turquoise) in places.  They showed a little too much. Any place that I didn't like the effect I just lightly painted over and I liked the subtle difference it made. I wanted it to look like it was originally painted blue with gilt and had gotten worn and faded over the years.  I didn't use any antiquing wax.

The hardware already had an antiqued gold finish and I didn't do anything to it.

When I first put the dresser in the room my daughter wasn't sure she liked it.  She walked in again the day after I had painted it and loved it!  Painting it made all the difference!

I'm always surprised how quickly chalk paint dries.  I waxed the top heavily as everyone who comes into our home drops whatever they have here (on my previous table.)  But the nice thing is the finish is very imperfect and any changes from guests would probably not be noticeable!

If I've left anything out, please feel free to ask questions.  I'm not an expert by any means but will be happy to tell you what I did.

Have a wonderful weekend!

love and blessings~

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

I'm joining these great parties:



  1. Lynda, thanks for the great tutorial. This is such a lovely piece and the colors gives the piece even more of a dramatic effect. Beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Mary! I tried to visit your blog and could not get it to load. I will try again! Thanks so much for your kind comments!

  2. The chest is just beautiful, Lynda. You have such an eye for making it all pretty. We had a chest in the entry at our last house and it was so useful.

    1. Thank you, Stacey! I'm a little overwhelmed with all the great storage in the entry! Looking forward to filling it up!

  3. Gorgeous! I love the blue and the details ~ such a statement piece!
    Joanne @ Sea Glass Cottage

  4. Gorgeous colour Lynda! This is such an inspirational post. I would love it if you could share it at our WIW link party to day. I hope you can join us!


    1. Thanks so much, Paula! I tried to find your party and couldn't! ? So sorry I didn't join.

  5. That is just beautiful! I am truly enamored with any shade of turquoise blue, and this is making my heart do little hand-springs!

    1. Thanks so much, Carol! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. Having all of these wonderful details makes such a difference. Makes it a little easier to believe that I can create the same look. Thanks also for the scriptures. As important, or MORE, than the tutorial!!

    1. Thank you, Trina! Thanks for visiting!
      love and blessings~

    2. Lynda, I can not believe all the work you did to finish this French Dresser! The transformation is beautiful. Your step by step instructions are informative not to mention the photos. Some day I would love to have my own blog. I surely can take notes from your blog. You have a beautiful home and should be proud of all the hard work you've done to accomplish your personal design.

  7. Wow, that is just breathtaking!! I LOVE the color too, and the gold is the icing on the cake. So pretty!!

  8. SImply stunning !
    These are my favorite types of furniture to paint - and wow you took this to an amazing level - it's just gorgeous !

    1. Aw, thank you, Suzan! Coming from you this is high praise! You do such a beautiful job on all your pieces! I'm glad you like it.

  9. Stunning piece! Well done! This is absolutely beautiful now! Hope you have a great week. I would be delighted it you would share this at my Making Broken Beautiful party this week beginning on Thursday!

  10. What a steal! It turned out amazing. I have a small buffet in our dining room in a similar color and just love it. Out in the garage I have a dresser about the size of yours waiting to loved on. No room at the current house so it will have to patiently wait.

  11. Lynda,
    C~est Manifique!