DIY Paint Review -- Painted Dresser Tutorial

Before we purchased our "fixer upper" home, my husband and I were managers of a small apartment complex near a local college. We managed the apartments there for almost 4 years before we had saved up enough to purchase our first (and current) home.

One of the benefits to being the managers was checking out what our renters left behind after they moved. We collected a few pieces of furniture over the few years we were there and one of the best ones we ever found was a beautiful, solid wood, HEAVY, dresser. We used it in our tiny master bedroom before moving out here. It has 6 drawers on the sides, and three drawers in the middle door. It's old and beautiful.

But, over the years the top part, which was laminate, was starting to peel off. One of the sides had built in tie/belt hooks ... that we never used. It needed a little TLC. So, when I decided to redo our master bedroom, I also decided this dresser needed an overhaul.

Here's how this dresser started out ... well sort of. I forgot to take a before picture with the drawers still in it, but you get the idea ...

There are so many options out there when you are looking to redo furniture. You can go with chalk paint, milk paint, clay paint, strippers and stains, spray paint, and even wall paint. I opted to try out a new brand of paint. It's called DIY and I purchased mine from Jami Ray Vintage. It's a zero VOC, no odor, clay based paint and it's beautiful!

They have so many colors available, but I settled on the simple White Swan. It is a soft, creamy white, and I LOVE it! You can purchase better paint brushes, but I had these two on hand so I went with these. The larger one I used in the flat spaces, and the smaller I used to get into all the little cracks and details on the drawers.

The great thing about DIY paint is that you need very little prep. All you have to do is wipe down your furniture and make sure it is dust and dirt free. If you are worried about spot bleeding through your paint you can prime them or spray them with a quick coat of shellac. I actually like to see some of that wear on my pieces, so I skipped that step.

I labeled each drawer on the inside with blue tape and numbered them. Then I bagged the hardware for each drawer separately and numbered them to match the drawer. I wasn't sure that all the drawers were exactly the same, so I didn't want to mix up my hardware.

I started with a think first coat. This is how it all looked after one coat. It's important to try and smooth our your paint strokes as much as possible so you don't end up with paint lines. If you want a smoother, more finished look, you can lightly sand between coats, but I didn't. I'm an impatient painter. 

The DIY Paint dries pretty quickly. By the time I was finished with the first coat I was able to go back to where I began and start painted the second coat. You can see how much better it looks with a second coat. (The top left has a second coat, the right side only has a first coat.)

After two coats of paint it looked amazing!! I love how smooth the paint it and the coverage. I purchase a 16oz. paint can and it was just enough to do the two coats on the dresser.

I did NOT paint the inside of the drawers or the dresser though for two reasons: 1. no one but me and my husband are really ever going to see the inside of this dresser, so I didn't feel the need to spend the time and effort painting it. 2. Like I said before, I'm an impatient painter. I only had a day to get this painted, sealed, and back in my room. Our master bedroom is directly across the hall from our boys' room, so we just slid the dresser over into their room to paint it. Did I mention how heavy this thing is!? 

I did tape off the hinges on this middle door. I LOVE the old antique brass hardware on this dresser, so I didn't want to get paint on those beautiful hinges!

Once the paint had dried, I took a 220 grit piece of sandpaper and lightly distressed the edges. My hubby followed me with the shop vac to try and reduce the sanding dust in the boys room... he's the best! This DIY Paint distressed beautifully!!!! I didn't want a chippy finish, just a worn look. It turned out perfect. I went over the door, the edges of the dresser body, and the drawers with the same method. Then I wiped it off with a microfiber cloth to remove any extra dust before sealing it.

Jami Ray offer this sealer on her website. It's called BIG TOP and it really lives up to it's name. It has no odor, and is non-yellowing. It's also water based to clean up is a breeze! I only wish I had a larger foam brush to apply it with... but this was what I had and I wasn't about to go to the store just for one things (thanks COVID-19). Don't be deceived by the size of this top coat. I went through about 3/4 of the container, and that was doing 2 coats! A little bit goes a LONG WAY. 

The only spot that has any noticeable bleed through was around the hardware areas on the drawers and door. Since it was going to be covered back up with the hardware though, it wasn't an issue for the finished dresser. I let the top coat sit and dry for about an hour before putting the hardware back on and putting the dresser back in place.

Even the laminate top that had so much wear on it turned out beautiful. If I had more paint I would have done a third coat of the White Swan on the top, but two coats seemed to cover it just fine.

Our master bedroom is tiny because our home is old, so it's hard to get a decent picture of the finished dresser in full. So, here are a few close up shots of how the front turned out.

 I love the color. It isn't a stark white, but has more of a cream tone to it... but it isn't overwhelmingly creamy either... if that makes any sense.

The subtle distressing on the edges breaks up the white just enough that you can see some of those gorgeous details in the wood work.

And... the 6 year old approves. Some of his cars came to checkout my handiwork ...

Eventually I want to mount our tv to the wall to get it off of the dresser... but that's a project for another day.

My overall impression of the DIY Paint is that it's a keeper. I will definitely use it again and want to try out some actual colors. White is always the hardest color because of undertones and coverage, but the White Swan is beautiful and cover so well that I will not hesitate to buy it again. If you are looking for a way to bring life back to some old furniture, check out Jami Ray Vintage and pick up some DIY Paint!

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