The Big Back Breaker Project!

Yes, you read that right....the big back breaker project!  It has indeed been a back breaker.  Let me catch you up....Before we moved into our current home we sold just about all our master bedroom furniture.  We'd had it a long time and it needed to go to a new home.  That meant when we moved we were down a dresser and nightstands.  After scouring pages and pages of magazines and searching online for something I liked, I decided to buy some older furniture and give it new life.  We found a dresser at our favorite little antique store for $100.  The dresser was in decent shape, but needed some love.  The top made me nervous because there were some pretty large scratches in the wood, but I figured it would be OK with some sanding and some paint. 

I had this great idea (cue the sarcasm) to move the dresser upstairs so I could use it until the weather turned nice.  That's what we did.  It was easy getting it upstairs and in place and of course filled with clothes :-)  I'd been enjoying using the dresser when the weather drastically changed.  So, I decided it was time to drag the old girl (not me, the dresser) downstairs to the garage so I could get to work.   As Hubby and I were taking this large thing down the narrow stairs I hurt my back.  Immediately it hurt, but it wasn't until 2 hours later that I realized how bad it was.  I couldn't get up on my own or do anything without excruciating pain.  On the bright side, I was able to get a ton done in 2 hours!


This is what the dresser looked like in the master bedroom.  I had better pictures, but my computer got a case of the forgets and lost them.  You can see it's a nice piece, but has a lot of wear and some damage.


This was after I sanded the top and gave it the first coat of Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  I used a rag to wipe it on with the grain then wiped the excess off.  This thing is old and thirsty and sucked every ounce of stain I put on it!


I gave it a couple of coats of stain then tried to figure out what was better...wax or poly finish?  So I did some research and went with the wax.   Let me explain why I waxed and didn't poly....This is my dresser, not a kid's dresser so I'm going to be gentle with it.  I'm not going to put drinks on the top, etc.  If this was a side table then I would probably poly the top or have a piece of glass cut to protect the top.  There are 3 coats of clear paste wax and 2 coats of dark paste wax on there, but not in this picture :-)


I decided to go with my favorite paint,  Annie Sloan chalk paint for the rest of the dresser.  The reason being...NO PREP!  If I'd have sanded the entire dresser it would have taken me a lot longer than 2 hours.


Here you can see some of the damage on one of the drawer fronts.   One thing that made me really happy about this dresser was all the hardware is original and none of it was missing!  Bonus!  This was as far as I got the first day.  Paint had to wait another couple of days...which is hard for this instant gratification girl :-)


After a week of sitting around and 'resting' I decided to go out and give the dresser some attention.  Not the smartest idea, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!  This is how the drawers looked after two coats of Old White paint.


At this point I was in love!  I love the contrast between the dark stained top with the painted body!  It was worth all the pain....well yeah maybe not the pain part :-)


After 2 coats of paint, a coat of clear paste wax, a good sanding with a sanding block, a coat of dark wax and lastly a coat of clear wax (I'm getting tired just typing this!).   She was done!!!   I have to mention here that I had to do this all sitting down on a chair without twisting my body...not an easy task!  One thing I forgot to mention was the hardware wasn't in the best condition so I painted it with Antique Bronze by Rustoleum.  They looked fantastic when they were done!




Then the dresser sat in the garage covered in a blankie.  Every time I walked by it I was bummed!  I just wanted my back to get better so Hubby and I could move that thing back upstairs!  Well, today my Hubby had a great idea on how to get it up by himself.  He wrapped the dresser up in cardboard and blankets and moved it on his own!  While I stood there saying over and over, "Please don't hurt yourself!"  I don't think I have to tell you how happy I was or how lucky I am to have such an incredible man in my life :-)

I quickly gathered some things together to stage the dresser for the pictures.  I still have a mirror that I want to hang over the dresser, but it's still in a box somewhere and needs some paint and love.  That's another post.  

Here it is....my back breaker!

You might recognize the lamp and the candlesticks from another post.  They were waiting for a home!


This is a narrow space between the master bedroom, the walk-in closet and the master bath.  It's more like a hallway actually so it was hard to get a perfect straight-on picture.



I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the hardware looks, not to mention the stained top!  I also like how all the little details like the X's and the florets show up now.  



I truly adore this little back breaker.  I'm not going to lie, it's been a VERY tough 10 days for me.  I don't like sitting around and being a sad lump.  I miss being able to do all the things I love like going to the gym with my girls, transforming furniture and doing projects.  I know in time (they say 4-6 weeks) I'll be able to go back to all the things I love.  In the meantime, I'm on the lookout for more projects.  I couldn't be happier with how the dresser turned out and I know I'll be able to enjoy it for years to come.

LINKING this to www.thriftydecorchick.com....have a look at her site!

72 comments:

  1. Linking this too Thrifty Decor Chick....www.thriftydecorchick.com

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  2. Gorgeous transformation! I have a can of Annie Sloan sitting in my garage right now. Can't wait to get started! Your newest follower:) www.home-with-heather@blogspot.com

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  3. Heather I can't believe you have that paint sitting in your garage and you haven't used it!! I definitely have a love affair with that paint! Let me know how you like and I'd love to see picture! Welcome...glad to have you here

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  4. I adore what you've done with this dresser-following you from TDC-stop by for a visit!

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  5. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration. I just found you from pinterest. I was searching for furniture makeovers. I was walking the dog and found a great dresser that someone was throwing out. It is in great shape, no damage but would look great painted just like yours. I don't normally take furniture from the garbage, but this was really a great piece of furniture. I am going to run out and buy some paint and stain and follow your directions. Hope mine comes out as good as yours did. Hope your back feels better!

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  6. I would love to see pictures when you're done!! I wish I could come along and find a great dresser in the garbage! Great score!! Seriously, please share pictures!!

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  7. It looks great. Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thank you! I'm feeling great due to some great acupuncture :-)

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  8. You did a great job! About to start a similar project and this gave me some great inspiration. Found this via MMS. :)
    -Anna
    featherednestfurniture.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Anna! I'd love to see your project when you're done. I stopped by your blog and see you love ASCP too! I grew up in Puyallup...not too far from you :-)

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    2. Sweet! Almost spring fair time there!

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  9. Wow. Love this one too! Great job.

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  10. Thank you Beth! I love ti too. Every time I do something new though it becomes my favorite! Sorry for some reason your comment on the other post was deleted. On vacation and away from my laptop. Something strange is going on here in Jamaica :-)

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  11. When painting did you use a brush or a roller?

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    1. I always apply Annie Sloan Chalk Paint with a brush. If you are ever in the market for a great and inexpensive brush visit www.bestfurniturepaint.com They sell some brushes for the chalk paint that run about $5 and are the best I've found. I like them even better than the Annie Sloan paint brush I just spent $30 on!!

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    2. Connie McCallisterJuly 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      Thank you! I will check them out. Love your blog!

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  12. Hi! I want to do this to my dresser and I will use the same paint you used but I don't understand how yours has that color to it if you used white paint. Was it from the wax? And did I read correctly that you sanded after your first coat of wax? Did you sand after every coat? In case you can't tell, this will be my first time using chalk paint!! But I have painted lots of other furniture with other paint!!

    Thanks so much and I love your dresser!!!!

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  13. i have a similar dresser as well that i would love to do this to...and had the same questions as michelle hatfield above^..thanks

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  14. Looks great! Where did you find the BIG "S" at? I have been looking for one!

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  15. I would like to know the same things Michelle has asked above, too!!! It looks gorgeous!!!

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  16. Hello! Answer to question about the paint. The paint is Old White and the dark wax gives the paint that color and shows the texture. I painted 2 coats of ASCP Old White, then put on a coat of clear wax. Then distressed and added a coat of dark wax. After 24 hours I buffed the dry wax to the sheen I liked. This paint is the easiest! Love it!

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  17. I agree. Love ASCP and love Old White with stain. I did a similar project on a coffee table recently.
    http://maisondurhone.blogspot.com/2013/01/sofa-table-redo.html

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  18. this is my fav of urs - i love it!!! so Beautiful.. i have a question? How long do u allow for drying time in between painting coats of paint and wax??????

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  19. This is so beautiful! I have a side table that I would like to paint like yours. What did you put on the dresser after the chalk paint?

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  20. Oops I just noticed that you answered that question already! :) What was the dark wax called?

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    1. I used Annie Sloan clear wax first then applied Annie Sloan dark wax on top. Hope that helps

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  21. Where do you find the chalk paint? Also what brand name wax? Lovely piece! I have a dresser very similar to this one i am going to try this on.

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    1. The wax is also Annie Sloan. Go to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint website and you will be able to find stores in your area that carry the chalk paint and wax :)

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  22. Where do you find the chalk paint? Also what brand name wax? Lovely piece! I have a dresser very similar to this one i am going to try this on.

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  23. The dresser looks fantastic! I've been looking for something like this for our entryway. Getting up the courage to attempt a refinishing project but you're inspiring me!!

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  24. I Love all of this. I am still confused as what you EXACTLY do after the white paint. Apply clear paste wax (annie Sloan I am assuming), then sand, then Dark wax? Then finally clear wax? Is that right? Thanks for the DIY! YOU ARE AMAZING!

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    1. Thank you! After I paint I put on a coat of Annie Sloan soft clear wax, then distress, then put on a coat of dark wax. No need to add another coat of clear. Let me know if you have any other questions! Thank you again for the comment

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  25. I love this! I am so excited to find this because I just bought an old buffet at Habitat for Humanity and can't wait to refinish it. I have been reading up on the Annie Sloan paint but the closest place for me to get it is an hour away. I really want to try it, but I am wondering, is it worth the drive? I love the way yours turned out and think I may want to try this look!! Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

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    1. HI Heather! Thank you for the comment. In answer to your question about the paint and the drive to get it being worth it...yes I believe it is. I really love the Annie Sloan paint. I don't have a place close by so I order my paint online. It works great for me and the cost for the shipping isn't too bad. The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® is more expensive, but goes a long way. Also the time saved and money as well on not having to sand and prep or prime makes it more economical. A quart of paint will paint a lot. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck with your project!

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  26. Hi, Great site and love the details you've provided. I'm undertaking this project right now and I'm working on the top shelf part right now. It's not coming out as dark as yours seems to be based on the pictures (i'm also using Dark walnut) and I wasn't sure if the AS Dark Wax you used on top helped contribute to any of the color?

    Also, you mentioned you had 3 clear and 2 dark on top, could you tell me the order you applied them in?

    Thank you so much!

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  27. I did chalk painting on an old round table and will be using it in the quest room of the house we are building. You meantioned you may do something similar to your dining table and/ or chairs. Did you?

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    1. I have painted a lot of chairs with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan. It's very easy to use and durable as well.

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  28. fantastic work .. I found your blog on pinterest with the pics. Like to say thanks, finally I have a clear idea how to turn my old vertiko into something awesome.
    All I need to find is the right paint, similar to yours .. quite a task, as I live in Germany ;D
    But the Before and After pics are great to imagine what my furniture might look like soon - thanks again.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! Good luck with your project and have fun!!

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  29. This is beautiful! How did you get the white part to look worn?

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    1. Thank you!! I used dark wax to give it that aged look, as well as some distressing with sandpaper. Hope that helps!

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  30. OMG I just stumbled onto this on Pinterest tonight. I have a chest of drawers, nightstand and headboard footboard that belonged to my parents and looks exactly like this hardware and all and I have been struggling with what to do. Thanks so much for the idea, your piece looks amazing

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  31. I have this exact dresser that I'm planning to do just like yours! Question though...what brand of dark wax did you use?

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    1. HI Charity, I used Annie Sloan soft dark wax. Hope that helps. Good luck on your project

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  32. So excited to redo an antique wash cabinet like this. I also checked out the Annie Sloan page...and now I want to paint everything in the house. I don't know if this is a blessing or a curse, but either way, thank you!

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  33. What brand of paste wax did you use or could you use any brand?

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    1. I used Annie Sloan dark wax on top of clear wax. You can use whatever what you'd like, but this is what I prefer myself.

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  34. This is awesome! I just found you on pinterest and I am loving all of your projects! I am so excited to do this to my dresser and night stand! I have a few questions for you. Do you sand after every layer of wax paint? Or just after the first layer? and do you paint with paint brushes or use a cloth to layer on the paints? lol I'm sorry. this will be my first project so I'm very excited and want to do it correctly!

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    1. One more thing, do you wipe off the excess paint after each layer of wax? Last one I promise!

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    2. Hi Nicole, thank you for the comment! I paint the pieces with a paint brush, two coats, then after that I distress. Then finally I add the clear wax, wipe off the excess then go back with the dark and do the same thing. I hope this helps!!

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  35. Melody,
    What did you use to paint the hardware on this piece? I am wondering if I should use Annie Sloan graphite or a black spray paint of some sort???
    Thanks!

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    1. Tana, I used oil rubbed bronze spray paint by Rustoleum

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  36. What grit sandpaper did you use?

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  37. I inherited our bedroom set from my paternal grandparents in Pittsburgh, PA 10 years ago and it's very, VERY similar to the dresser you refinished in this pinterest post. If you tell me how (haha I can't figure that part out) I'd love to send you pictures of it. I had intended on refinishing the set myself after I did my homework and now I know, I'm totally looking at yours for inspiration!

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  38. Love this. Starting a dresser soon and I want to copy yours :) Which did you do first, stain the top or paint the bottom? Did you tape it off?

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  39. Hi Melody,

    So happy I stumbled across your blog as I'm just getting in to refinishing furniture with Annie Sloan chalk paints and have a few questions. What method do you use for applying your dark wax for an even finish? I applied mine with a paintbrush but it's coming out more streaky than I would prefer.

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    1. Alexandra, glad you found me! I use a wax brush, which is flat, or I use a cloth and apply by hand. To make the dark wax easier to apply, I mix bit of clear wax with the dark and it goes on less streaky. Also it's best to work in a small area. I hope that helps!

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  40. Hi Melody. the old white Annie Sloan chalk paint you used are there multiple styles of finish like other paints? if so what type did you use ?

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  41. Love this piece!!! I would like to do this to a wood dresser that is currently painted white. Would I need to strip or sand off the old paint before using the chalk paint? Thanks

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  42. How did you get the antique look? Did you paint a coat over the white paint? It looks great :)

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  43. I just finished my first dresser almost exactly the same way! I like yours much better.. I used a gel stain which was difficult to work with, and I ended up using so much stain to try and cover water marks that you can't see the grain. I also was not expecting the grain to show through (three coats of also ASCP Old White) of paint...still looks great, though, Just different. Live and lean! I have not added dark wax yet because I want to see what I thought of it without the dark wax for a while. Thank you for the great tips!

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  44. I absolutely love this! This is exactly what I'd like to do with my night stands and dresser and hutch. What color is the top of your dresser? My daughter is in love with the Annie Sloan chalk paint. She just did the bottom of an entertainment center with the old white and dark wax for me for Mother's Day. It came out fantastic. I love it!! I'm hoping I get brave enough to tackle my bedroom furniture myself!!

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  45. I have a question about the top of the dresser. Did you sand it down to bare wood before applying the dark walnut stain? Thanks! I love this piece, am trying to do the same thing with my nightstands!

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    1. Hi Barb, yes I did sand down to the bare wood before I applied the dark walnut stain. I hope this helps! Good luck with your project!!

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  46. I love this! You didn't have to sand at all before painting or staining? I'm asking because I have a dresser I am wanting to refinish and it will be my first time. Trying to learn :)

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