Empire Dresser Makeover With Old Fashioned Milk Paint

4 Materials
I admired this stately empire dresser at my local Goodwill, and grabbed it up when it was marked down to just $20. It is substantial and sturdy, but the original finish was in very poor condition and a couple of the knobs were missing. This is the before.
I stripped the lower three drawers using Citristrip, and uncovered beautiful wood veneer. I then lightly sanded and stained the drawers with a dark walnut stain. For the rest of the dresser, I cleaned and sanded. To coordinate with the brown and black tones of the wood veneer, I painted the rest of the dresser with a coat of Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Pitch Black. This is a great paint to use to give an authentic vintage finish and it zero VOC. I lightly distressed some of the edges to allow the wood to show through.
I sealed the entire piece with two coats of Hope's 100% Tung Oil.
I added new brass knobs to the top drawers, and black knobs to the lower drawers.
The original keys were no longer with this dresser, but I found a reproduction skeleton key that fit the original lock. I think it adds a pretty touch.
For more details and photos, please visit my blog.
Suggested materials:
  • Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Pitch Black
  • Hope's 100% Tung Oil
  • Dark Walnut stain
See all materials
Susan @ Saw Nail and Paint
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation