Nursery Dresser Rehab

They always tell you that a few things will happen to you during a pregnancy. Swollen feet, cramping, mood swings, weight gain...I guess I just thought I'd be immune because, well... I'm a man. But not so! Sympathy pregnancy is real people! And one of the symptoms is NESTING.

I guess being a designer gives me an unfair advantage in nesting but here is a walk through of our baby dresser. There are a lot of DIY projects like this documented but we're not DIY'ers, here are the steps the pros would suggest for your weekend project.

Step 1: Be a True American Picker

Who doesn't love American Pickers, right? My wife, Katie, is really good at it. She's always texting me a picture on the weekends of some "find" she sees at Goodwill or the Restore. She doesn't come home with everything she sees but she's pretty persistent.

Here was one of her "finds":

A big ol' run down hunk of wood...

Complete with dangling handles, chipping veneer and stains galore!

Do you know what I like about this piece? Nothing. Ok, that's not true. It has good shape and interesting mid-century modern handles. I can work with this.

Step 2: Remove Handles and Sand the Sucker Down

This is a pretty simple step.  Removing the handles is pretty self-explanitory, just use a screwdriver to unscrew them from the inside. When you sand, sand lightly. This is more to smooth down rough edges than to strip the gloss. We had to chip off some of the bad veneer but because we're painting it we won't bother putting on new veneer. We'll also be using a deglosser after we sand to make the finish more receptive to bonding.

Step 3: De-gloss

De-glossing is a great alternative to sanding.  Sanding creates a lot of dust and is a real pain in the butt. We like the product Gloss Off by Krud Kutter.

You apply the gloss off with a rag and wipe it down like you're washing it with soap and water. Then let it dry.

Step 4: Prime

Whenever we have a project going from wood to paint we always prime using a strong bonding primer.  Stix by Insl-x is THE product. As the name implies it sticks to everything. You should be able to pick it up at your local Benjamin Moore retailer as Insl-x is a subsidiary company.

For this process I like to use a mini 4.5" roller with a Microfiber nap as well as a small brush for detail. In general, I'm trying to roll as much as possible because brushing tends to make the project go very slow and you'll get a more uniform stippled finish as opposed to potentially uneven brush strokes. This step of the process should take you between 20-45 minutes. Once you're done with priming let them dry for 3-4 hours before moving on to the first coat of paint. 

Step 5: Sand lightly

After the primer is completely dry I like to lightly sand between coats.  Every now and then a little bit of detritus gets in the finish so go ahead and quickly and lightly sand using a fine grit sand paper. We're using this new 150 grit flexy stuff by 3M. Sanding between coats will give you a really nice smooth finish.







Step 5: First Top Coat

For paint we'll be using Advance by Benjamin Moore. This product is awesome! It has a really nice hard enamel; dries level and smooth. It's also a waterborne alkyd which means that it has the finish properties of an oil but with quicker dry time and easier clean up.  It's also a little more environment conscious. with a lower oder than oil. We've been using it a lot for cabinets and furniture.

The first coat should go on similar to the primer coat but it'll cover a little better.  The key for coating is to do two thin coats as opposed to one thick coat and then trying to touch up.  If you can make a nice even coat, making sure that it's nice and smooth and blended in, the final finish will look really great.  The key is nice long strokes.

You'll let this first coat of Advance dry overnight before re-coating. The manufacturer label says at least 16 hours.

This step should also take between 20-45 minutes.

The color is Storm AF-700 by Benjamin Moore.




Step 6: Second Top Coat

Again, Sand between coats and do it all again.  Don't be tempted to leave it at one coat.  The second coat really gives you the depth of color and proper/even sheen that's intended.  It also gets added durability with two coats which with furniture is super important.







Step 7: Spray Paint Handles

Spray paint is probably the easiest way to get a smooth finish, but sometimes the color isn't what you're hoping for because it's a little hard to tell with the color of the plastic cap.  So don't feel bad if you're like us and have to change it up after the fact. I usually know when I've made the wrong choice when Katie comes in and pulls a Men on Film: "Hated It!"

Step 8: Put it all together

Go ahead and screw the handles back on, put in the drawers and put it in place.  You'll want to let the furniture piece cure for 3-5 days before you start putting it into heavy use. But here is how we took this dress from a Thrift Store Reject to a cool Baby Judy Dresser!





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