Once I accepted that hanging my girls’ clothing in their closets was creating more work and aggravation for me than was necessary, I started wondering just where I could come up with a dresser for them to use that wouldn’t cost a fortune. Fortunately, we recently came into possession of 3 old dressers that needed some TLC, and the tall, serpentine-front one was just perfect for my new plan.
Now, before you have a heart attack at the thought of painting wood furniture, let me assure you that there are pieces that I would not paint if you paid me. My piano and my grandmother’s bedroom furniture, for example. This dresser, while it does have a nice bevel-glass mirror, also had irreparable water damage to the birdseye maple veneer, and a coat of dark brown paint on it.
I asked the girls what color they’d like their new dresser, and their vote was, not surprisingly, purple. I cringed a little, because I’d much rather have painted it white. But since it’s their room and spray paint is relatively cheap, I bought purple.
The first thing that I did was remove the drawer pulls and wipe everything down with a mild cleanser. There was some dirt from the trip home (we do live on a gravel road, after all) and grime from about 20 years of renters. Then I got out the orbital sander. The paint and the original finish came off the solid wood parts amazingly quickly.
And then there was the veneer.
The side panels had gotten wet at some point, and the veneer was warped and separated from the plywood underneath. One side peeled off pretty easily, and the parts that didn’t come off with pulling decided to give up when I got out a putty knife and hammer. The other side was much more obstinate. The veneer was still warped, but it didn’t want to come away from the plywood without a fight. The hammer and putty knife didn’t even faze it. So I consulted the expert (thanks Dad!). His suggestion was to steam the veneer until the glue softened enough to pry it off. Since it was fairly cold outside, I decided that I’d want to perform that operation in a heated building and in order to do that, I was going to have to get my desk finished up to make room (more on that in an upcoming post).
At that point I returned to the desk project, and the dresser sat unfinished for about 3 weeks. Once the desk was out of the way, The Husband helped me drag the dresser into a heated building and I got busy removing the veneer. This part was not fun, and I didn’t take photos, I just got it over with. It was sticky, smelly and I scraped a lot of skin off my knuckles. If you ever want to try this, here is a tutorial that looks a lot more effective and safe than the way I went about it.
Once I had the veneer off, priming and painting went quickly. I did not enjoy taping off the mirror, but that’s really the only part that was unpleasant. After the first coat of paint was sprayed on, I realized that I should have listened to the inner voice that told me I picked the wrong shade of purple. A trip to Menard’s fixed that mistake.
And just because it looks like it was made for it, a close-up of The Taterbug’s new Scentsy warmer:
If you’re particularly detail-oriented, you may have noticed that the dresser started off with 12 pulls, and now only has 10. I have not a clue where the other two disappeared to, but when they turn up, They will get a shot of paint and be put back on the dresser. In the mean time, the top drawers still open and close with just one pull apiece.