DIY Furniture Makeover

A furniture makeover well worth the work (& wait)! 

This yellow dresser has been well loved & lived many lives. 

 I purchased it for my first college apartment. I found it at an antique store and instantly fell in love with the color, brass hardware & simple lines. 

To make things even better, I discovered it was a vintage Baker piece. These campaign style dressers can go for a pretty penny - here's one on 1stDibs going for 3k.

I scored mine for only $300!

This dresser is to go in my daughter's 'big girl' room.
The height is perfect for her to reach the drawers and I don't have to worry about it tipping over, win-win!

After 13 years and 6 moves, this already worn piece was in extra need of some TLC. I hated to say goodbye to this pale yellow but it was time for a refresh and new life. 

Our first step was removing all the hardware. 
The brass was very tarnished and needed to get cleaned. 
I tried polishing it with just Brasso, but that was too time consuming. 

I searched for other products online but ended up trying a simple at-home method. 
I followed this brass cleaning tutorial I found on YouTube.  

All you need is white vinegar, salt & aluminum foil. 
Basically, this is an acid bath that helps break down the corrosion.

Once the hardware soaked for a couple of hours I still had to rinse and wipe them down. 
I followed up with another application of Brasso and these pieces were almost good as new!

I highly recommend this method to save some time and elbow grease.

While my task was tackling the hardware, my husband took care of the paint stripping & sanding.

We tried two different paint strippers and found CitriStrip to work the best. 
You simply brush it on, let it sit for about 45 minutes then take a metal paint scraper to the surface. 
Some areas needed a couple of applications since we were working with a lacquered finish.

Once all the paint was removed, we moved onto sanding. 
The key to sanding is to start with a lower grit and work your way up. 

Lower grits, 60-80, are course and help strip the surface down. 
Medium grits, 100-150, work great to smooth & level. 
Fine grits, 180-320, are great for smoothing between paint/stain coats & final finishes.

All sanded down & ready for paint! 
Be sure to wipe down the surface with a damp rag before priming. 

I decided to use the same green paint we previously used in the laundry closet since we had enough left over & the semi-gloss finish would be durable to toddler wear and tear.

I recommend using foam brush rollers - they are ideal for painting gloss finishes on smooth surfaces. 

I applied 2 coats of paint to get an even final finish. 

I knew I needed to add some sort of protection to the paint but didn't want to deal with polyurethane. 
I found this Hemp Wax online and decided to give it a try for a few reasons - it's a much easier application, nontoxic & the subtle shine finish.

It says it takes a couple of weeks for the wax to set up and harden. I recommend avoiding placing objects on top until it has had time to cure (learned that the hard way). 

Time to put the 'jewelry' back!

I decided to get new brass nails since the others were too small to polish. 
I found these brass-plated linoleum nails that looked just like the ones originally used and they worked perfect for remounting the hardware. 

I can't believe the transformation! 

I'm so happy we decided to redo this piece. It was a long process but well worth the finish results.

Now let's hope my daughter will love it as much as I did!

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