Redo a Laminate Dresser
When I moved into my first house, I had no furniture. I mean, I had a bed and a couch, but that was pretty much it. My apartment was tiny so I didn't need much more, so like a lot of people when I moved into a house that was *gasp* three bedrooms instead of one, it just seemed so... empty.
And then my two sisters announced they were visiting for ACL.
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Not one to let a good opportunity for DIY pass me by, I found this beauty on craigslist. So I Googled some instructions on how to redo a laminate dresser and I'm here to tell you... It's not really that hard.
Grandma would be proud. What you can't see in the picture is it had this really hideous fake granite-painted top. I know how to pick a winner, right? I was intrigued that it had doors. Doors? In a dresser? How exotic!
I dragged the monstrosity home and evaluated the situation.
How I avoided sanding
I did a lot of internet research on how to paint laminate and came up with Zinsser primer (affiliate link). Guys, I had no idea it was this easy. You slap on some of this primer and it's like sanding and priming all in one.
The amazing thing about the Zinsser primer is that, because the dresser was pretty much free of nicks and scratches, there was no sanding necessary. I primed two coats and was done. If the dresser had had some defects, I would've used some wood putty to fill them in, sanded the spots by hand, and then primed over all of it.
I laid everything out on a drop cloth outside and used some old railing spindles to prop to the pieces off the ground. I primed the dresser and let it dry overnight. The next day I painted the dresser and primed the drawers and doors. I wanted to decoupage the drawers with old maps, as I was going for a Travel theme in the guest bedroom, so I primed those too.
The Zinsser primer claims it will combat stains and smells, so I decided to paint the inside as well as the outside to combat the eau de craigslist smell (you know the smell - a combination of mustiness and abandonment).
I had a ton of sample jars of paint laying around, so rather than buying something new, I chose a calming blue-grey (a living room rejection) and an intense red (an accent in the kitchen) for the inside as a pop of color.
I elected to use a brush rather than spray paint. Mostly because I already had the sample jars, but spray painting seemed much more intimidating. (Update - I built a DIY Spray Paint Booth and am no longer intimidated by spray painting! Growth!) I did use a spray paint finisher, in matte to match the Modge Podge on the drawers. That will prevent brush strokes from showing. I used my beloved Purdy 3" brush (affiliate link) for the detail work and a small foam roller for the larger areas.
One quick word of advice - don't leave the cover of your paint on the ground where your dog can walk through it. Ask me how I know.
Adding the Maps
For the maps, I found a few through Google searching of far away places I've been or want to go, printed them and cut them out. I then heated the oven to 200 degrees, brewed some black tea, and spread the maps on baking sheets. I brushed the tea all over the maps using a small foam brush and baked them for a few minutes. The tea turns the pages just the right shade of yellow-brown to look much older than they were.
I picked the matte Modge Podge (affiliate link) because I didn't want the drawers to be shiny. I used another sponge brush and spread a thin layer on the primed front of the drawer.
The fronts were about two layers thick so there were no white spots showing. Then I covered the maps with another thin layer of Modge Podge. After that dried, I did one more layer on top of them. I used a plastic pan scraper (affiliate link) to smooth the pages down and get into the grooves of the drawer front.
I picked some new oil rubbed bronze hardware from Lowes. It's important to make sure to measure the size and spacing of the existing pulls, handles and hinges so they'll fit the existing holes. After reassembling everything, I made a travel-themed message board to hang above it and set everything up in the guest room! Who knew it would be so easy to redo a laminate dresser?
It's been almost three years since I first undertook to redo a laminate dresser and it's holding up really well. Looking back, I wish I had used an artist's paintbrush and some dark paint to highlight the detail on the doors and along the top. Overall, though, I really love the way it came out. Even the maps are holding up and still looking good.
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