Refinish an Old Dresser in an Afternoon

Step 1
Purchase a good quality, second hand dresser. I got mine at a resale shop for $25. It is a Thomasville and has dovetail joints indicating that it is a good quality. Also, make sure that the drawers slide smoothly and that the tracks are in good condition. If you are planning on using the item often, you don’t want the drawers to stick or to fall out. (Very frustrating when that happens!)

Step 2
Remove all of the existing hardware.
Step 3
Wash all of the surfaces down with TSP (Trisodium phosphate). Mix the TSP in a bucket using warm water according to the directions on the bottle. Wear gloves.
Step 4
Wipe all of the surfaces to be painted with Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser. Make sure That you take your time with this step. Doing this correctly will allow Latex paint to adhere to the surface. Pour the ELSD on a rag. Rub it on the surface in a circular motion. Do not go back over the same spot to avoid redistributing the oils back on the furniture. Continually change the spot on the rag and continue adding more ELSD until you have gone over all of the surface that need to be painted. Allow to dry for 10 minutes.
Step 5
Tape off any areas that you do not wish to paint. Use painter’s tape for the best results for easy removal.
Step 6
Apply the Crackle medium. Of all of the steps, this one is and the next are the most crucial. Also, if you have never worked with crackle medium before, I strongly suggest that you try a sample piece first. If you want large cracks, paint the crackle medium on thicker. If you want small cracks, use a thin layer of crackle medium. Also, try to brush the medium on evenly and run the brush strokes in the same direction. Crackle medium is very thick so it tends to run. When you are finished applying the medium, go back and check your entire piece for drips. (Nothing makes a painted piece of furniture look less professional than having big paint drips!) Allow the crackle medium to dry for at least an hour but not more than 4 hours, before applying your paint. (Now is the time to mix your chalk paint, if you are making your own. If not, just sit and wait).
Step 7
Apply the paint in long, quick sweeps. Try not to run the brush over the same spot because you will ruin the crackle finish and just get a funky glob of paint. Once you have painted the entire piece, let the paint dry. (If you used chalk paint, it should dry very quickly).
Step 8
Accent the piece with metallic paint (in my case, I used gold). Using a small brush, paint recessed surfaces in a quick stroke manner not worrying about being precise. Remember you are trying to achieve a weather worn look. This is not an exact science.
Step 9
Apply Minwax polishing wax after the paint is completely dry. (I usually wait 24 hours).
Step 10
Clean hardware. The hardware on my dresser was brass so I painted on a brass cleaner first and let it sit for about an hour. The type that I used is highly toxic so it must be used in a well ventilated area and with rubber gloves. After it had dried I used cotton rounds soaked in Tarn-X and rubbed each piece until the tarnish was removed. (In some cases you will be unable to remove all of the tarnish).
Step 11
Replace hardware and enjoy your new, beautiful dresser!