Abandoned to Refined

Felicity Wallace
by Felicity Wallace
9 Materials
5 Days
One night my friend texted me asking about furniture restoration. She had saved an old dresser from the trash but did not know how to make it beautiful again. It was an older style, antique dresser. It was wood but it had veneer drawer fronts. After some back and forth we discovered her style and color preferences and made a plan. I couldn't wait to turn this poor, decrepit dresser into the ravishing beauty she deserved to be!
I neglected to take a full before picture with the drawers in place. The body of the dresser was in pretty good shape. It took an evening of sanding to get the body flawless.
We wanted to stain the top but I didn't think filling this gouge with wood putty and then staining would look very good. My husband offered to use his router to take off an inch of the wood all the way around so it could keep its lovely curve but get rid of the flaw. Thankfully the top overhung the dresser by a bit so there was enough room to take an inch off and still have a small overhang. I took him up on that and a few minutes later we had a lovely top, free of damage!

Here she is all sanded down and ready for paint.
The drawers were another story. The bottom and back pieces were falling apart. It took a couple evenings worth of repair to fix those. Lots of glue and clamps were used! We would have liked to stain the front of the drawers as well but they had a veneer top that was flaking off in many places. The wood underneath did not look good so I glued, clamped, and puttied the veneer fronts.
I used Kilz to prime the wood simply because it is what I had on hand. My friend chose the paint color that she had a local hardware store mix up for her. I used one coat of Kilz and two coats of the turquoise paint which was a flat latex.
The next morning I set about staining the top. I taped off all the painted surfaces.

When I got the stain on the top it took my breath away. I couldn't believe how gorgeous the wood grain was. Every detail was highlighted and shining in the Arizona sun.
That evening I started glazing the drawers. Glaze and black latex paint worked well on this dresser.

To protect all of this beauty I fully sealed all the painted and stained parts with three layers of Polycrylic in Satin. I did four coats on the top since I knew it would have things placed on it regularly.
Here she is ready to go to her new forever home! The owner planned on picking out knobs for the drawers at a later time so I said goodbye to this gorgeous lady and sent her home.
I was very pleased with the outcome!
A few months later my friend texted me this picture of the dresser in her new home with her dainty little knobs. This was a fun project for deserving friend!
Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Felicity Wallace
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 20 questions
  • Carollynda Carollynda on Sep 25, 2022

    I'm a little confused! You mentioned Glaze and Black Latex paint?? But the drawers are same color as body, and flat finish? Where did you use the Glaze and Black Latex??🐱🤔

  • Con82803478 Con82803478 on Aug 30, 2023

    What glaze mixes with black paint?

  • Con82803478 Con82803478 on Aug 30, 2023

    What glaze was mixed with black paint?

Join the conversation
2 of 97 comments
  • Kathy MacKenzie Kathy MacKenzie on Jun 26, 2021

    Gorgeous ! I have my husband:s fathers dresser that was passed down to my son when he was a baby . it is to small to hold any thing larger than baby clothes. it is now holding my extra casserole dishes a candy dishes along with fancy dishes that we barely use .

    I want to fix it up for my daughter because she is trying to get pregnant .

    Thank you for the great ideas,

    Kathy MacKenzie


  • Granny Laura Granny Laura on Nov 25, 2022

    I was about to gag at first when I saw that eye-popping bright turquoise, but once I saw it with the glaze, it was a work of art. And I think your client's choice of white porcelain knobs finish it off perfectly.