Skip to content

Craft (sort of): Refinished Dresser

Supplies: Orbital sander (I used one that looks like an iron with a pointed side, you might want one of the mini ones if you have a lot of corners and curves), various grit sand paper, wet sand paper for sanding the knobs, stain, pre-stain, and a protestant (I used a sealer-stain in one), cloths, gloves, a mask, varnish remover if you have a thick coating on your furniture, plastic scraper, vacuum or broom, drop cloths

: $40 for the orbital sander, $6 for extra sanding mats for the sander, $3 for wet sand paper, $11 for stain and pre-stain can, $4 silver spray paint, $11 for varnish remover, $1 for scraper

: 2-3 Days, or longer if you don’t have as much time off as I do.

: Moderate but time consuming.

: A few braincells, sticky fingers

You might remember this dresser I bought several months ago from an antique store and I swore I was going to refinish it. Well, I finally kept my word.

Here’s the before and after:



I know the upper photos looks ok however if you delve closer you will notice all the nicks, scratches, worn away edges and tarnished metal. Ahem…

I do have to say that for my first attempt at refinishing furniture I did a pretty good job. I had to buy a few tools for it first, however. I probably visited the hardware store 3 or 4 times.

In theory, this is a fairly easy process. You remove varnish and sand the previous finish off. The you sand again with finer sand paper, rub a pre-stainer over everything, stain, sand lightly, stain again. Oh, and sand and repaint knobs and such.

Of course this took a much more work than I anticipated but I think the result was worth it.

I began with sanding the drawers because that seemed easier.

And it was, only, those finicky edges around the raised center panel gave me a lot of trouble. In fact, all of the little grooves and details made this much harder.

But I finally finished. Then it was off to the rest of the body. Only the top had a big coat of varnish so I used some remover and was able to scrape off about 80% after several applications. Justin helped scrape some off as well. Such a nice boy.

Justin thought I didn’t sand it fine enough so I went over everything again with some finer sand paper. It’s still not perfectly smooth, but to be honest I was tired of sanding!

Then I applied some pre-stain over everything with a cloth (in my case, an old pillowcase). This helps the stain go on evenly without streaking.

***I should probably note, you really should do this outside but I didn’t have any room outside being in a second story apartment and all, so I opened window instead. Also, wear a mask, I really should have. Instead I tied a big scarf around my face. Oh, and gloves are you friend. Wood stain also likes to stain fingers.

I also wet sanded all the drawer pulls and then gave them a nice spray of satin silver paint. I didn’t realize that styrofoam doesn’t like spray paint as you can tell from this picture.

Then time for staining and staining again and my apartment finally turns back into normal. No more clothes that were once in drawers all over the floor and no more drawers scattered about the apartment and finally no more smell!

I’d say it looks pretty good.

Next project – I’m thinking about making a coffee table… we’ll see.

Comments (1) for post “Craft (sort of): Refinished Dresser”

Leave a Reply to Grace Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SidebarComments (1)