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  • Writer's pictureJoyful Designs Studio


It seems the small dresser makeover was a hit. I received quite a few questions on how to #DIY your own dresser or one that you might find at an estate sale or yard sale (some pictures are posted at our IG page @joysdesignhouse - follow us there and tag us with your DIY dresser makeovers!) Most summer weekends I like to catch the many varied estate sales that happen in the Chicago area, although a little birdie told me that Wisconsin and Indiana have some pretty good sales as well. so far this summer, I've found lots of great bargains. Well, the #purpleandgold project lead me to seek out a small, appropriately scaled dresser to refinish for my design client. Luckily, I found a set on craigslist for $35 for the two. I had intended to refinish the taller and narrower one for the project but remeasured and realized that the wider and shorter one would be a better fit (I still plan to refinish the other one). So, the first step is to find the dresser you want to refinish. Then you need to make sure that all of the parts are functioning. We had to do a minor repair to one of the drawer tracks but that was it. It's a pretty solid piece. So, once that is done, you need to grab a sanding sponge or a hand sander depending on whether you have even flat surfaces to sand. As you will see in the pictures below, I kind of nicked a curvy piece of the dresser with the hand sander. It was too strong and if you look away for a second, you can do some damage. No worries though because you can't even tell now that there was ever a problem. I used the sander sponge to even it out. I then stuck to using a hand sander for the flat areas only. The dresser only needed a light sanding. I just wanted to make sure it would take the paint. Next, wipe away the saw dust generated from all that sanding with a damp cloth.

Then, choose a paint color you like. I chose a custom color I typically use for walls for my design clients. It has a bit of purple undertone in it. It's light gray - not white, as some have assumed from the instagram pictures. I also chose to use an eggshell finish. I wanted minimal sheen. I also wanted it to sort of look like milk/chalk paint as well so it couldn't be too shiny. I bought paint that included the primer in it as well. It saved me from having to do a 3rd coat. I only did two. You should paint the first coat evenly and lightly. Don't rush to paint it all at once and slather paint on it because the drip marks from too much paint on your brush/roller will show. So, take your time and go layer by layer. I used a small roller for the flat parts and a brush for the curvy/bumpy parts. I let the first coat dry over night and did the second coat the next day and it was done and dried pretty quickly. So, I was able to put my mirrors on the dresser the same day. This was done by had. I bought sheets of approximately 1x1 mirrors from amazon which came 6 sheets to a pack. I think each sheet was about 3x6. I bought two packs of 6 sheets and used maybe a pack and a half. My initial design called for mirrored glass cut the width and length of each dresser drawer and top for the dresser, but I had to change my design once I found some dressers I couldn't say no to.

So, instead I found these mirrored sheets that are pre-glued and that you can used individually or cut in strips. The rectangular designs on the dresser drawers was very simple and didn't require many cuts because I applied them in strips. The top of the dresser wasn't that difficult either, but because of the curvy lines in the front, I had to decide how I would lay them. I decided to follow the lines using a diamond pattern, which worked out beautifully. I also spray-paint stenciled some butterflies onto the top of the dresser. I used Rustoleum of that in a metallic finish. But you should just mist the stencils before removing them. I didn't want saturated colors. I also decided to keep the brass drawer handles that came with the dresser. They are beautiful and seemed to be the best match. I simply spray painted those as well using Rustoleum spray paint in a metallic satin nickel. Once the butterflies and mirrors were set, we had a finished product. By the way the mirrors already have a sticky backing that will allow you to set and reset them as long as you don't press down in them too hard initially when setting. The backing is pretty strong. I don't think you will need to add any extra glue.

Take a look at the before and after pictures below. Slide show. Let me know what you think and follow us on Instagram! Let me know if you have questions.

All the best,



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