Gary Hardman
Gary Hardman
  • Tutorial Team
  • Springboro, OH

Dressed Up Dresser, an Unlikely Pair

7 Materials
4 Days

So it’s trash day and I see this large painting along the side of the road. I do an Immediate bat turn and stuff it in my car. My idea was to combine the painting with an Art Deco dresser someone gave me. Not a fun dresser. The drawers were stuck, it’s foot was loose and two of the tracks were missing. But.... free is good.
dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
The first step was to clean and repair. I cleaned inside and out with windex. The foot was easy to repair by just replacing old bent screws with new ones. I replaced the two drawer tracks that were missing which proved a little more challenging.
dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
Second step. I sanded the chest using an orbital sander. There were a lot of scrapes but they eventually came out. Be careful if there is veneer that you just sand the surface and dont sand too deep.
dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
Step three. For the top I wanted a darker contrasting color, so I stained it with Min Wax Expresso. Two coats of tung oil gave me the desired satin finish. The paint was someone’s reject quart for $5.00. It said gray on the top. It was a gray green which is now my favorite color.
dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
Step four. This step I measutred and cut the painting to fit the front of the drawers. Don’t worry this was not a masterpiece. I bought Elmer’s spray glue and treated each piece like wall paper. I made sure each piece was covered throughly with glue on the back and applied it to the drawers. I started from one corner rolling the painting on with my hand to make sure it had no bubbles. You have maybe a minute before the glue hardens so you are on a bit of a time crunch. You can reposition but not too many times.
dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
Step five. For this step I put two coats of Satin Decoupage over the paint to protect it.
The final step I thought about replacing the handles with something newer. Since these have been on this dresser since the 1930’s It would be like breaking up a family. So I cleaned and polished the handles with brillo pads and put them back on.

dressed up dresser an unlikely pair
This was a fun challenge that gave a beautiful result. This unlikely pair have now started a true Art Deco Revival.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 23 questions
  • Darlene
    on Feb 2, 2019

    That is amazingly beautiful just one question, how did you work it in for the drawers to still open or is it just for looks ? Awesome Dresser.

    • Neva Dew
      6 days ago

      The painting was cut into pieces to fit the front of each drawer, as well as the cross pieces between the drawers. When applied they do not interfere with the opening/closing of each drawer. (think of it as canvas veneer instead of wood veneer on the drawer fronts)

  • Kay Arnette
    8 hours ago

    When you saw these things on the side of the road did you have a picture in your mind what you were going to do with it or did the idea come later as you looked at it?? I see a lot of things I want to grab but do not know what I would do with it so I just leave it.

    • Gary Hardman
      31 minutes ago

      Great question. I saw it, liked it, picked up, stored it next to dresser for a month and then the light bulb came on.

  • Kay Arnette
    8 hours ago

    I don't see it as Art Deco how do you get that?

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