Last week I showed you how I made the Rustic Shelves in the Nursery. This week I’m sharing the process behind refinishing one of my favorite items in the nursery – the mid-century dresser that I picked up on Craigslist for $100.
It was in OK shape when we got it but had some dark marks that I knew needed to be sanded out and re-stained. At one point I was tempted to put it in the living room and use it as a TV stand but in the end decided that the baby should have it…it was featured on the nursery mood board after all!
Now, refinishing a piece of furniture like this is not necessarily difficult but be forewarned – it is horribly time consuming! Between sanding, conditioning, staining, drying, sealing drying some more…it’s quite the process. Realistically if you’re going to do this you’ll probably need a few days/nights or a couple of weekends. I’m not even remotely exaggerating when I say we started this is August and didn’t even finish it until November. Drawn o
Along with my orbital sander, I used:
The sanding process is the most tedious part of refinishing a piece like this. You want to start with a lower grit sandpaper and then work to a finer grit. I started with with 80 to get the original finish off, then lowered to 120 and then did a third pass with 150. I wouldn’t go any finer that 150 as the wood can become too smooth to soak up the stain.
A good tip for your final pass with the 150 is to lightly dampen the wood with some paper towel or a rag. This will raise the grain allowing you to get a nice smooth finish.
After sanding the existing finish completely off I conditioned the wood as per the instructions on the pre-stain. Pre-stain wood conditioner helps achieve an even color when applying stain. I highly recommend it with a piece like this.
Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner prepares bare wood for staining. It penetrates the grain of the wood to promote uniform acceptance of oil-based stains. Treating the surface with Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner helps prevent streaks and blotches by evening out the absorption of oil-based stains. – Minwax.com
The stain I chose was Minwax’s Special Walnut as it was as close to the original color as I could find. I did not sand the sides or the feet of the dresser (just the top and all the drawers) so it was imperative that this matched well. And thankfully it did! Also, when I say “I” you know I really mean my wonderful husband. I was of course pregnant throughout this whole process so I barked orders and he happily complied :-)
We also decided to paint the top drawers to really make them pop and bring out the fun details.
Finally, the dresser got three coats of Minwax Wipe on Poly in the satin finish. After using this wipe-on variety I (ahem, Brian!) will never go back to regular poly! It’s SO much easier to use!
I’m so glad that the stain matched so well. Sanding down those rounds legs would have been a nightmare I’m sure!
What do you think? Do you like the white drawers or are you more of a fan of stain only? Next up I’ll be sharing all the details on the pegboard that’s above the dresser. It’s so quick and makes a fun statement on the wall!