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ReStyle an Old Dresser with Paint

My good friend has been telling me for years she wanted to restyle an old dresser for her son and I needed a gift for him for his graduation last month so when she brought me this dresser she got for FREE, I was on a mission to turn it into a feature piece for a Germany Soccer Team fan.

restyle a free vintage dresser into a show-stopping piece of decor with paint


I love the shape and the wood was in good condition; all the drawers slid nicely, the legs were still sturdy, it was solid.  What I see when I look at this is tons and tons of paint...layers of paint--which means lots of work before I even start painting.  But, we both fell in love with the shape and the character and it did have a certain German appeal to it so I started stripping.  Then I stripped some more...then I sanded.  Then I stripped.  Then I sanded.  Then it was FINALLY ready for paint.

**Generally, I do not strip furniture when I am using CeCe Caldwell's Paints but this piece had been painted several times (and not very well--and with really awful paint) so it really needed to be stripped or sanded so I did a combination until it was smooth.  You can't tell in the picture but the terrible paint and painting that had occurred had left a 'texture' that I knew would show/feel through whatever I did and I like for my furniture to be pottery barn-smooth.**

I started by measuring the piece and dividing it into thirds so I could paint 3 stripes a la Germany's flag.  I drew lines in pencil and painted the outside stripes so I could just paint over the edges of the outside stripes with the middle stripe.  

After the outside stripes were painted with 2 coats and I was ready to paint the middle stripe, I re-marked where the middle stripe would go and taped it off with painter's tape.  The important step for getting perfect stripes without any bleeding is to paint along the painter's tape seam with the bottom color and let it dry completely before painting the color of the stripe.  This doesn't stop all bleeding but when you pull your tape, the bleeding that does happen is the same color so it doesn't 'show'.  In this case, I taped the middle stripe then painted 2 light coats (letting them dry completely) over the tape seam with gold on the left and black on the right.  After the 2nd coat was completely dry (which took minutes since it was nice and warm out, the sun was shining and I was using CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints), I then painted the middle stripe in a deep red with 2 coats of paint.  You can see in the picture below how I painted the gold and black over the tape seam where I am going to paint red next.

get perfect stripes on your painted furniture with a technique using cece caldwells paints

I pulled the tape off immediately after painting...while the paint was wet.  If you choose to do this you must be very careful not to get your paint on the other parts of the piece but I have found if I leave the tape as the paint dries then it sometimes gets dry and literally cracks and/or is harder to get off and/or wonky things happen.  You do not have to pull the tape immediately but be sure not to leave it for weeks until you get around to the next step...this almost always means fixing mistakes or redoing something.

Get perfect stripes every time with this technique with ceces paints from vintage bette

The stripes were amazing and I could have finished it then by burnishing and sealing or with a little distressing or grunging up but I really wanted to include the amazing eagle from the German flag.  I found a free clip art of it and printed it out onto 12 pieces of paper using the poster setting on Acrobat.  I then taped it together like a puzzle and traced it on the dresser so I could paint it.  If you have an overhead projector it would be great to just project it on the dresser and trace it.  I also considered using vinyl cut with my silhouette machine but in the end the hand-painting was definitely the way to go to get the authentically-vintage look I really wanted to achieve.  

trace a shape onto your painted furniture project and hand paint for a unique design

After hand-painting the eagle onto the dresser I sanded.  Then sanded some more.  Since the eagle was painted on with the same paint it became part of the piece and looked amazing.  I was even able to sand just enough in some places that you can see the stripes underneath peeking through...

handpainted and distressed with dry brushing for a grungy vintage finish on old dresser

The I stared at it for a few hours.  Not literally, of course, but it was inside my house at that point, and I would walk by and look at it--trying to decide whether or not to do some Aging Cream or a Custom Glaze or if I should just seal it.  I decided to go with a little dry-brushing of some of the Beckley Coal I used for the stripe and the eagle.  Just to give it some grunge and dimension.  If you aren't familiar with dry-brushing check out this tutorial by CeCe Caldwell.  

restyled vintage dresser hand-painted with cece caldwells paints distressed aged

When the dresser was exactly how I wanted it I sealed it with 4 coats of Flat Matte.  I wanted no shine.  I wanted the paint to reflect no light.  Here is a How-To Guide for using Flat Matte.  It is my absolutely favorite finish right now.  I love it!  I also spray-painted the hardware Flat Black by Rustoleum.  There is just something European about the 'flat' 'matte' finishes.  

Congratulations, Parker!

ReStyle an old vintage dresser with chalk + clay paint and make it a design feature

How to transform decor with painted furniture using cece caldwells paints chalk painted dresser

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