When I got ahold of this dresser, it was a DISASTER!!!! I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to restore it, but I’m glad I saw potential in it! It turned out stunning! Here I will show you my vintage dresser restoration process! Hopefully, this can help guide you in your own restoration projects and give you the confidence to create a restoration masterpiece!
Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of this dresser before I got ahold of it… But it was a freaking hot mess! Just look at these pieces from the dresser (dresser top and a drawer front) you can see it was in pretty sad shape!
1 | Cleaning
This dresser was super grubby. It had been sitting outside for a while and had some water damage too. The best way to clean something like this is to first clear off the dust. I used an air compressor, but you can use a leafblower, hairdryer, random fan, whatever. Then take a damp rag and wipe it down!
2 | Disassembly
When you are working with antique or vintage furniture, you’re drawers and doors are often different sizes! I repeat, they are not the same size!!! I have done a lot of these kinds of projects. Learn from my mistakes! Number them! From the pictures here, the drawers look like they are all the same size. They are not! Make sure to number your drawers (and doors) when you take them apart. This will save you massive amounts of frustration when putting it all back together!
3 | Removing the Veneer
The best trick I have learned over the years for removing veneer is to use a hairdryer and a putty knife! Heat the veneer up with a hairdryer and this will soften the glue. From there, you just kinda have to chip away at it with a putty knife. Some veneer comes off easier than others, but this particular project wasn’t too bad. The veneer loosened up pretty quickly and then chipped off in just a few pieces.
4 | Repairing the Drawer Fronts
I had to fill some cracks in the wood on these drawer fronts.
5 | Cutting a New Top
The top of this dresser ended up being beyond repair, so I cut a new one! I like to save what I can from the original, but this dresser top was split and had water damage. More work than it’s worth in my opinion. I just used an MDF board since my plan was to paint it anyway. And for anyone interested, the edging is a Roman Oogy with a Router.
6 | Sanding
Next, I sanded EVERYTHING! Pretty much everything needed to be sanded! I just used a palm sander
7 | Painting
Time for paint! I chose to go with latex paint for this project. I know, a lot of people are really into chalk paint lately, but it just isn’t quite as durable for high-traffic items. Personally, I chose latex paint because it is way cheaper, and this piece is going in a high-traffic area. Note: This paint is Starless Night (PPU14-20) from Behr.
After painting, I sealed it with polycrylic due to this needing a durable finish. I know, some people like to use wax for sealing your furniture. Personally, I hate sealing with wax for a project like this! It’s just not durable enough for something that will be used frequently.
8 | Finishing Touches
I chose to use the original hardware from this dresser. They were all in good shape and just needed a little cleaning and polishing.
And it is done!
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, just let me know! I’m happy to help where I can!
I hope you enjoyed seeing my vintage dresser restoration process! I had a ton of fun with this project! You can find more of my fun restoration projects here!