How is that for a cleaver title post? Yawn.

I thought I would share what I did right, messed up on, and learned from on this old dresser.

For those of you who are new (welcome by the way) and those that might not remember, I got this dresser about a year ago. Long story short - $70 at an estate sale. Raise that roof people.

Here is the way he looked when I met him. The excitement of finding him obviously prevented me from taking a straight picture.

After a year of heavy use as a changing table/dresser it was showing a lot of wear, which I thought was odd. It's not like we beat it or anything. This should have been my first clue as to how refinishing would go.

It is as sturdy as can be and a solid piece of furniture but I was over the white. So let the project begin.

Since it was a balmy 30 degrees outside when I started this (and maybe 38 in the garage) I knew I'd have to take this project inside. So I pulled out the always trusty Citristrip. And good news, they now also have this stuff in a spray can. Wish I had known that before I started.

There is zero smell with this stuff. In fact it smells kind of minty fresh. And it is low VOC, so no worries about harming the littles with my projects.

Put on way more than this picture shows. Like double this amount. I put some on, took this picture and then put on more. More is more with this stuff.

They also recommend you use gloves but I didn't (I live on the edge). I got some on my hands and I've lived to tell the tale.

The directions will tell you to wait 30 minutes, but I could tell by looking at it after a half hour it wasn't ready. I waited two full hours, or basically until it looks like this. The longer you wait, the less muscle you need.

Then you scrape. And if you've been patient, it just lifts right off. Like butta.

As you can tell from this picture my suspicions were right - those little bastards just painted right over the varnished wood. See how dark that wood is? That's layers and layers of stain and varnish. No wonder it chipped so easily.

Enter Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser. This is the product if you have ever said "God I hate sanding. Can I pay someone to do this for me?" No need. Just pour this stuff on and rub it in with a corse lint-free cloth. I used an old wash cloth I had from the dollar store. 

You can see that all the varish didn't come off after the first, or second coat. So later, rinse, repeat. I'm going to find the people that painted this thing and shake them. Or make them watch episodes of 1600 Penn. Yes, that would be much worse.

The good news about this product is that you can do another coat as soon as the first one dries, which is usually about 15 minutes or so. And it's stink free too.

Finally it is ready.

Now I had originally planned to go with oil based porch and floor paint, like Jenny has used, to get the high gloss finish I was after. But remember that whole weather issue? I can't paint outside in 30 degree weather and oil based paint in the house with no windows open is a no no.

Luckily after telling my sob story to the smarty pants at Benjamin Moore, he suggested this.

Benjamin Moore Advance. It is a water based alkyd paint so it acts like an oil based paint (self-leveling, high gloss finish, hard laquer like shell) but without killing many brain cells.


After talking about my search for the perfect shade of navy paint, I decided to follow Natalie's lead and went with Old Navy by Benjamin Moore.

I used a roller that my new bestie at Benjamin Moore recommended and it worked like a charm. I was a bit nervous after putting on the first coat though as it wasn't as dark as I wanted. But as the hours passed it got darker and darker.

And yes, I did say hours. A full 24 to be exact. That's how long you have to wait in between coats. And I did four coats. That is four days people. Of painting. And then another four days of drying.

Eight days and nights. Just sitting there, waiting for it to develop its hard candy shell. It was my biggest lesson in patience since having a 'willful child'.

But now he's done and looking good. He makes me smile every time I see him. That deep navy and the little sparkle of his gold handles. He looks like a royal admiral in the navy or something. I think I will call him captain.

Look at that glossy top. You can see the reflection of the ceiling in that thing. Oh captain, you are such a show off.

Pulls courtesy of Martha Stewart at Home Depot. Knobs are the same ones I used on the vanity from Hobby Lobby.

The high gloss on the captain makes him wonderful in person, but a bit hard to photograph.

I'm so protective of him I can't really bring myself to put anything on him. But he is calling to be styled I think.

So the lessons learned: Benjamin Moore Advance is aces, Citristrip is a cinch and Sander Deglosser is a lifesaver. And most importantly, do. not. ever. paint over varnish. Or I will find you.

Painted anything lately? Found a piece of furniture that was keeping secrets from you? Want to come over and help me put the girls room together?


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