White Lacquer Dresser

A couple weeks ago I was scrolling through Craigslist and came across this dresser. Although it was far from what I was looking for, it kept catching my eye. I finally decided to click on the link to find out more details.
It was a vintage Drexel dresser for only $170. I decided it was worth the trip to go and check it out. Overall it was in good shape, but was in need of a face lift. I opted for a lacquer finish. Below are the steps on how to achieve a smooth, shiny lacquer-finished product.
1) Clean the piece thoroughly with soapy water
2) Give the piece a light sand with 320 grit sandpaper and wipe down any dust
3) Apply one coat of primer. Because I was going for a smooth and sleek finish I opted for the aerosol version. Kilz makes a great product that goes on evenly and dries quickly. Once the primer is dry, lightly sand again with 320 grit sandpaper.
4) Once the piece is primed, you're ready for the lacquer. Again, I went with the aerosol version by Rust-Oleum. The key to remember in this step is less is more. Apply thin layers that slightly overlap each other using a consistent movement back and forth. After each layer of lacquer, lightly sand the piece to remove any blotches or uneven areas. I ended up applying four layers of lacquer before I was able to achieve the bright white look I was going for.
5) Once you're satisfied with the coverage and have given the piece it's final sanding, it's time to give it some sheen. Use a Grade Super Fine steel wool pad to really smooth out the surface. Rub it in a circular motion while applying light pressure.
6) The final step is to protect the piece (and all that hard work you just put into it)! I applied a light coat of SC Johnson Paste Wax. This step helps to seal the underneath layers and to protect it from future wear and tear.
7) Finally, it's time to turn your attention to the hardware. Since I was really on a roll with aerosol cans, I decided to keep the trend going. I chose Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint.
The gold hardware really adds a great contrast as well.
It just has an overall chic feel to it.
Whenever I can salvage the original hardware, I try to keep it. I think it helps to maintain the integrity of the piece. This rule especially holds true on a dresser like this where the hardware is unique and helps to identify the style of the piece.
It's amazing how a couple coats of paint and some shiny hardware can really bring an old piece up to date.

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Ashley Harding

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