Abused Chest of Drawers, Goes From Boyhood Beaten to Rustic Gorgeous!

by Vickiventura
5 Materials
2 Days
When our boys were young, we bought a beautiful bunk bed set that included a chest of drawers, that was over 20 years ago. The beds are long gone, but I have held on to the chest. Now that I use this room as a guest room, the chest needed an update. I have the room done up as a rustic lodge.
Boy abuse is evident.
What you don't see are the drawers, I thought I had taken pictures, but alas, none to be found. I removed, stickers with Goo Gone and sanded the heck out of the top and drawer fronts. (One of my sons had carved his name into one drawer front.
Luckily, this is a solid wood piece and sanding, staining, and sealing the tops and drawers was a success.
Next, I wanted the sides to look distressed and I like a very specific green for this project. I had leftover Ralph Lauren Suede Effect paint that I had used on my walls. It is gritty already but was a darker shade than I wanted. So, I bought some small bottles of chalk paint from Michaels in yellow and bright green. I mixed the paint until the shade was just right. I then used the vaseline hack to distress as I painted. In other words, I smeared vaseline onto the parts of the chest where I didn't want the paint to stick. Once the paint was dried, I took my hand sandpaper brick and lightly rubbed the piece. Where the vaseline was, the paint came right off.
You can see the wall color in the background.
Next came the handles... I bought some replacement handles from Hobby Lobby that were rusted iron, but the holes did not line up just right. I thought, well, maybe I can just repurpose the ugly metal ones that are the original handles. I think they are brass. Anyway, I wanted them to look cool rustic instead of old and ugly.
Old and Ugly
I found this wonderful product made by Modern Masters Metal Effects that allows you to paint a patina on anything, wood, metal, glass, paper... you get the idea. I tried the copper effect first, but I didn't want the bluish patina to clash with my green paint, so I ended up choosing the rust effect. Here are pics of both.
Modern Masters Metal Effects
It's a little pricey, but since I had leftovers of everything else... I didn't mind. Plus, I did more than just this project with these boxes.
Here is my final product!
I liked it so much that I did the distressed paint method on a cheap veneer side table.
Here are more before and after pics of the chest.
I think that I achieved my rustic lodge look for the chest of drawers. What do you think?
Suggested materials:
  • Ralph Lauren Suede paint   (Home Depot)
  • Leftover stain and varnish   (Home Depot)
  • Modern Masters Metal Effects   (Hobby Lobby)
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Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Tanya Marks Tanya Marks on Sep 22, 2016
    Just want to clarify....you mixed the suede paint with the chalk paints? or layered them?

  • Dianne Montgomery Dianne Montgomery on Feb 03, 2018
    I really like how your dresser turned out. I've heard about using Vaseline as you used it before but always wondered how you remembered where you applied the Vaseline after you painted the piece. Does the painted piece look different in the spots where the Vaseline was applied? Or do you just have a much, much better memory than I to know exactly where to sand after painting? Thanks

  • Itsmemic Itsmemic on Aug 20, 2018

    I still don't get the vaseline thingy. How do you brush paint over the vaseline without spreading it all over the dresser and how does the paint dry when it's all greased up?

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2 of 53 comments
  • Dsouthern Dsouthern on Mar 04, 2017
    Love it. I especially appreciate the tip about using Vaseline.

  • Susie Susie on May 08, 2017
    Thanks for sharing, you did a great job and using the Vaseline was something new to me "