MMSMP | prep work | part three…

Welcome back to the third installment in my mini-series on prepping your furniture to become a milk paint masterpiece.

SEE PART ONE HERE
SEE PART TWO HERE

So. We began the series with a previously unpainted piece and now I think we will move on to something completely different. This dresser is another one of my craigslist finds. I recently wrote a two part post about picking and choosing when it comes to craigslist furniture (Part 1 HERE) (Part 2 HERE) and why some pieces might be better left behind. If you’re going to make that judgement based on how much time you will have to invest in your furniture makeover – then this is definitely one of those times when I should have passed. However, I had been looking for a dresser in this style (I still don’t know what it’s called) and the price was pretty good. To be honest – I wasn’t really thinking with any kind of practicality at the time. It was exactly what I was looking for. Except…it had so. much. paint.

HEAVILY painted dresser

HEAVILY painted dresser

In this next photo you can see that it even had stickers on it that were painted right over at some point. What you can’t see is that one of the back legs was cracked in half – repaired with masking tape – and even the tape was painted right over! More than once!

Heavily Painted Dresser

There was so much paint on this thing that even after I unscrewed the knobs from the inside of the drawers, I still couldn’t get them off. I literally had to whack them with a hammer in order to remove them… (By the way, they were just plain wood knobs and I threw them away. It was much easier and more cost effective to replace them than to try and strip them).

Okay – so, do you remember from the beginning of the series what the two questions are that need answering when you’re deciding what to do for prep work?

1. What have you got? (a HEAVILY painted piece)

2. What are you going for?

When I began, I wasn’t really sure what I was going for. I told you I wasn’t really thinking all that clearly. But, if you’ve got a painted piece you’ve basically got two choices when it comes to prep. You’re either painting over the existing finish OR you’re going to strip the existing finish.

Clearly, this has to be stripped.

Heavily Painted Dresser

Some notes about stripping: It sounds really intimidating right? Well, I just want to point out that this is the first piece I ever stripped. I used Citristrip. I wasn’t in a hurry to get this piece done so I just went about it one section at a time – kind of learning as I went along. Read the instructions on the label and use your common sense. Flat surfaces are EASY- start there. You can see in the photo above that the paint is coming off really nicely – but not all the way down (through 5 layers of paint) to the wood. This is where I learned to leave it setting overnight – after that – it went right down to the wood and just needed one last quick application to remove the final layers of the original poly and stain. I use the Citristrip, After Stripper Wash, as well and it really cleans up very nicely with no offensive smells. The detail work on this piece (on the front) required a stiff wire “toothbrush” sort of tool found in the refinishing section at the hardware store. I also used the pointy end of a drywall screw to get paint out of some really tiny spaces. Just remember – this is all doable – even for a beginner. It does require some patience – but there are some paint jobs that just cannot be painted over. You will have to strip! But it’s OKAY! You can do it!

Now. In answer to the question of what look are you going for, your options are WIDE OPEN at this point! Once you’ve got your piece fully stripped you will want to give it all a light sanding with a fine sanding sponge – just in case any of the grain in the wood has been raised by the application of the stripper and the wash. I decided to stain the top of the dresser with a dark coffee colored stain and paint the body with Boxwood MMSMP. I finished with two coats of Hemp Oil.

Remember what it looked like before?

Heavily Painted Dresser

And after…

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

In the end I really do think this piece was worth all of the time and effort I had to put into it. I learned a lot along the way – about shopping for furniture – about stripping furniture – and best of all – this is where I fell in love with applying milk paint to raw wood.

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

The finish is just so smooth and it just plays so nicely with wood.

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

Imagine what this top would have looked like without the prep work done before hand??

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

Imagine letting that hide under all that paint?

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

MMSMP Makeover Boxwood Dresser breidawithab.com

So. This kind of prep work can be a bit tedious – but, it’s well worth it in the end.

If you’re considering this kind of makeover yourself and you’ve got questions – I’d be happy to try and help you out – feel free to ask away in the comments!

NEXT UP IN THIS SERIES:

The next piece in the series on prep work will be this adorable little dresser… I’m going for a chippy look! I can probably just go straight to painting, right??
Hmmm… we’ll see about that…

petite unpainted dresser

see you soon!

-breida

20 thoughts on “MMSMP | prep work | part three…

  1. Jenny Depa-Karl

    It hardly looks like the same piece you began with… just beautiful! I have an old ‘cheap’ vaneer wood dresser [that I store yarn in] that I’d like to re-do with MMSMP, but I don’t know if it would turn-out as nice!!! ;D

    Reply
  2. Jenny Riley

    It looks beautiful! It’s so funny—I just went through the same learning experience with stripping a piece of furniture. I bought a yard sale coffee table—heavily lacquered, dark, boring, and heavily damaged and gouged top. I had never stripped anything before and used the Citristip, too! Definitely a learning curve, but it was fun (and a lot of work, and I’m not quite done yet). The table is so pretty under all that dark shiny nasty finish. Thanks so much for sharing!! Love it!

    Reply
  3. Jen Banker

    Beautiful! I just got a bottle of citrus trip the other day that has been taunting me every time I walk by it. I think I’ll just give it a try this weekend. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Jen – I’ve been using Citrastrip this last week on my stair banister and it’s working really well. (And that’s with primer, several coats of paint, STAIN on top of the paint and then poly. Yes, I want to kill whoever thought that was a good idea…) It’s nice because it’s non caustic and I can use it in the house without having to evacuate the family completely.

      Hope it works as well for you as it has me!
      -Sarah

      Reply
  4. Anya

    This is OUTSTANDING! So completely worth the effort! Your step-by-step rundown of the process was so helpful, and the results breathed new life into this piece!

    Reply
  5. Sharon Hankins

    I remember you showing this piece. Once again, a fantastic post on prep work and I’ll be sharing with my Facebook page again as we follow along on this series!

    Reply
    1. Breida

      Thank you so much, Sharon –
      I did do tow pieces in this same style and color combo. I sold the first one and then someone else wanted to buy one – and who am I to argue with someone who wants to BUY a piece of furniture from me?! Thanks again for following along with the series!
      -b.

      Reply
  6. Lynne

    I am really enjoying this series. My question is did you seal the stained top? If so,what did you use? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Breida

      Hi Lynne – I sealed the top with Hemp Oil – and that is what I would suggest if you’re going for this look. You could really use any sealer you like – but the top could use a bit of protection. There are some stains that are a stain/poly combo even…
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      -breida

      Reply
  7. Kate

    What a marvelous finish Breida! It is fabulous!

    How long did the stripping take you? And do you have a pic you could share of the piece between stripping and re-finishing please?
    Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Breida

      Hi Kate –
      Believe it or not – I don’t think I took any pics of the dresser when I had finished stripping it. And it actually took a long time – but that was mostly because I was kind of doing it “on the side” while I worked on other things. And I really did do it a little bit at a time – for example – I did the top of the dresser in one go – and then I did the two side pieces – and then the drawer fronts – all of those things could have been done on the same day – but i was taking my time – and learning as I went along.
      (I could have done it a lot faster!)
      -breida

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Thanks for taking the time to reply Breida 🙂
        I am in the middle of doing my first ever all-the-way-back strip and I have to say I much prefer sanding! haha We can’t get the natural stripper here in Australia, the best I could get was the toxic one :-/ Won’t be doing it again in a while if I can help it …
        Thanks again 🙂

        Reply
  8. Jennifer

    Wow, this turned out beautifully! This dresser definitely had a beautiful surface just waiting to be revealed. You brought it back to life and it looks fantastic. I’ve used Citristrip before and I found that it’s hard to get off if you let it sit for too long because it dries out. Did you find that to be the case?

    Reply
    1. Breida

      Hi Jennifer – My experience with the stripper drying out is that if that is happening then you haven’t applied it thickly enough. I learned to put on a nice goopy layer and leave it sitting for 12-24 hours. Dried stripper is hard to get off – BUT – if it does get a chance to dry out – you can always put more on over top and that will “reconstitute” your stripper – and what’s underneath and you should be all good to go.
      I’m so glad you liked the dresser – thanks for taking the time to say so!
      -breida

      Reply
  9. KathieB

    What a stunning “save!” The details that were hidden by all that paint are so pretty. I really like the Boxwood color.

    Reply

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