A Dresser Makeover With Paint and Nail Head Trim

5 Materials
8 Hours

The first time a saw a painted dresser ornate with nailhead on Pinterest I became obsessed. It was a while ago, and only recently I had time to try my own version of it. It turns out it is not that hard!
Here is the before and after. I paid $30 for this old dresser on a tag sale, and it was in decent shape considering its age.
First I fixed all scratches and missing parts of the veneer with Minwax High Performance wood filler.
Next I gave it a good cleaning with TSP diluted in water, then primed it with Rustoleum Primer spray. I use gray or black primer when I'm painting dark colors.
I sprayed three coats of Marine Blue by Shabby Paints. This paint is very thick so even if you are rolling or brushing it, it's a good idea to thin it with water.
My following step was sealing the dresser with Polycrylic spray. In this project, sealing was not the last step because I wanted to apply dark wax, and wax HAS to be the last thing you apply to a piece. Trust me my friends, wax (if any) is ALWAYS last. I learned it the hard way.
To give the drawers a "vignette" frame, I applied dark was only on the edges.
Then I rubbed the dark areas using a clean rag with circular movements.
I needed about 7 yards of nailhead trim for this project. Each pack has 5 yards so I needed to buy 2 packs.
Applying the nailhead is pretty simple. Just measure, cut and attach the trim by hammering the loose tacks (included) to the little holes like this one in the picture.
I loved the original knobs so I just washed and polished them with Brasso.
That was all!
I hope this tutorial encourages you to try it. You can find more information on my blog post.
Feel free to ask me any questions!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 19 questions
  • Evelyn Vestal
    on Jun 22, 2019

    What is TSP?

    • William
      on Jun 26, 2019

      Tri-sodium-phosphate, it comes in a powdered form that is mixed with water. Fantastic all purpose cleaner/prep agent for painting. Slightly acidic so wearing a decent pair of rubber gloves when using is a good idea to avoid dry, red, itching, and burning skin .

  • Susan
    on Jun 23, 2019

    Love this. Very nice piece

  • Roni Freels
    on Jan 14, 2020

    I am inspired. I have a Lane chest over 100 years old. My mom stored it in her basement and the veneer came lose. I plan on doing nail heads around the lip on the lid and use Brass handles instead of the wooden ones on it. After seeing your masterpiece I am anxious to get started. You did an awesome job.

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