Vintage Wormy Chestnut Becomes Equestrian Work of Art

M&M Embellishments
by M&M Embellishments
1 Material
I recently had the pleasure of meeting a nice lady who had seen my work and wanted a horse for the front of her vintage dresser.
The dresser was a wormy chestnut and had already been stripped and sanded (YAY - hate doing that part!).
Because of the heavy graining on the dresser, I feared it would take away from the image I was going to stain onto the front, but I really didn't want to paint this piece (even though the owner gave me the go ahead to do whatever I thought best). She explained to me that she has a new home, but has wood beams and gray woods.

I decided to do a grey stain on the whole dresser and then white wash a stain onto the drawer fronts.
Once I got the approval from the owner that this background was good, I got started on the fun part - the staining of the image we had agreed on.

I like to take a LOT of pictures during the staining process, but I will spare you all of the photos and just show you the highlights.

*Tip, when working on a piece, it is beneficial to take a lot of pictures and download on your computer so you can see from a distance areas that need improving.
St this point, I was really unhappy with the one side of the horse, as he was looking to fat. So I had to stain over the area with grey and white wash and do some touching up.
Now, it was time to stand it up and finish the detailing
I had to wait a few days for the stain to cure and then added 3 coats of Polyvine Flat Varnish for protection.

We decided on some simple hardware so it wouldn't take away from the artwork.

I wasn't able to take this beast of a dresser downstairs to my staging area, so I decided to take advantage of our beautiful Autumn leaves here in Northwestern Pa.
To see more detailed information on the process of this design, you can visit my blog at

And to see more of my stained furniture art, you can follow me on




I also have an Etsy shop, where I have smaller artwork

Next up is another custom order of a sunflower. The customer had seen a previous piece of mine but wanted the stained image on a different sized table.
Suggested materials:
  • MinWax Stains
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3 of 4 questions
  • Misty Gaines-Johnson Misty Gaines-Johnson on Nov 11, 2016
    Do you draw the images by freehand or project your images?

  • Stacy II Stacy II on Nov 20, 2016
    Hi, do you paint the stain with an artist brush for the horse part?

  • Sandi Landi Sandi Landi on Feb 03, 2020

    I would like to hear how you actually did this like you traced a basic outline then painted or sketched in the rest ?

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