Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Refinished Dressers: Before and After

It's time for another DIY Wednesday. I have never refinished a piece of furniture in my life. Once in middle school I started refinishing my desk with my mother, but to this day, it's only half yellow. (She recently threatened to kidnap it and repaint it)

So, when I started my recent decorating blitz, I decided that my current dressers were clearly an eye sore. One dresser is older than me. I remember the dresser being in my toy room as a kid. We used the dresser to hold my Barbies and my brother's cars. It has always been the same very bright yellow color. In fact, when I removed the drawers to paint them, I saw some drawings my brother and I did when we were young. They were labeled 1993. In high school, I found some discount paint in blue and decided to paint these awful stripes down the front. The result is a very ugly dresser with old yellow paint and new blue stripes. The knobs were gold and white porcelain. Of course, the dresser seemed to lose one of the knobs throughout the years.

The other dresser came from a house my uncle bought. My uncle bought an estate at auction and it was filled with the belongings of the deceased elderly gentleman. He bought this house around the same time I moved into my first house, so many of the belongings made their way to my house. The dresser was cream with black wooden circular knobs. This dresser came with a mirror that had a fake dark wood finish.

Right now, I've only finished the dresser and the mirror. I'm kind-of working on the cream dresser at the moment. (School is distracting me from my craft projects!) I'll post the other dresser when I finish it.

Before Pictures:

The drawers with their wonderful blue stripes.



I initially started to remove the paint by simply sanding it off. I thought this would be fairly easy since the paint was already flaking off. After finishing the drawers, I decided to use a stripper on the main dresser. I went and bought a gel stripper that was safe to use in a low ventilated area. I did all my work on my enclosed porch with all the windows opened 3 to 4 inches. After stripping, I sanded everything to make sure the surface was smooth.


Sanding...didn't get all the paint off even though it was ancient


Sanded Mirror. Worked quite well and I didn't need to use the stripper.

After stripping off the existing paint, I primed the surface with some Kitz primer I had sitting around. From what I've read online, this wasn't really necessary since the sanded surface will be enough to grip the paint, but I thought I may as well put a coat since I had some primer sitting around. I then used semi-gloss white interior paint. I used a foam roller to apply the paint. The foam roller should be labelled on the package for use on cabinets or something of that sort. This particular type of roller prevents bubbles or streaking. They are made exclusively for a smooth finish.

After I sufficiently covered the surfaces (3 or 4 coats), I added a layer of polyurethane alternative on the top of the dresser in order to make it a bit more durable. From what I've gathered through my research is oil-based polyurethane will yellow on white. I found a product at Wal-Mart that said it was exclusively for white paint. Just read the backs of each container to see what will work the best. However, I did notice if I cover too thickly, the white paint would get a bit of a red tone. So, be careful about putting too much on!


Here's the painted drawers and mirror.

Finally, all I had left was new knobs. Now, I had originally wanted to put funky wallpaper on the front of the drawers. I had seen this done in Better Homes and Gardens last month, and it looked amazing. However, right now I have blue walls and printed curtains. I thought the wallpaper would be too busy. But, I didn't want a simple white dresser either because chances are I will eventually move into a white wall apartment. So, I searched everywhere locally for a few weeks. Finally, I found the knobs I wanted online at LookInTheAttic & Company. After I got the blue glass knobs and put them on the dresser, I realized I probably should have gone with the smaller knobs, but I'm not going to bother to return them.

Here's the finished product!!!



I'm pretty happy with the result.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Everyone needs a crafting space!

If you look around at different crafting blogs, there is usually one post they all have in common...a crafting space! We have a very unusual space in our house. It's an entry way or loft area before our bedroom. I suppose that if you were to have a baby, it would be a good nursery area, but seeing as we don't, I initially decided to use it as an office. However, over the past few years, I've noticed that I don't really need an office. Our law school gives us office space, and if I'm going to study, it will be at the school not at my house will all it's the wonderful distractions (tv, Wii, crafts, dogs, husband)
The closet in this space slowly was taken over with craft supplies. Eventually, I gave in and officially turned it into a crafting closet. Then, I decide I may as well set the desk up for crafting. So, I've included two pictures of my crafting closet. There were already shelves in the closet. I use different plastic containers to organize on those shelves. I made a purse out of blue polka dot fabric a year ago, but really found no need for it. So, it's now the holder of all my paints. I use a glass jar for paint brushes. I got a large glass container for all my different scissors. I had white crates from my days in a dorm room. I use those crates to organize my fabric.
You may be able to tell, I have an extra folding table to pull out if I need more counter space. (which is really awesome for scrapbooking!) I used to keep my sewing machine out all the time on the folding table, but I discovered I only use the machine in spurts. So, now I store it in my closet when I'm not using it. I have a comfy chair for reading (another one of my hobbies) in the corner. The chair has become the place for my dogs to watch me craft as well as my husband.


I got this fabric initially for some curtains in my kitchen. I have bright orange walls in my kitchen. I absolutely love them, but they give me some problems with decorating...I'm afraid of doing anything too busy since the walls are so bright. I thought this fabric would be nice and match my geometric theme of my house. When the fabric arrived in the mail, I realized it is too bright for curtains. So, now what do I use it for? I want to use it in the kitchen since the orange in it matches my walls... place mats? dish towels? napkins? hmmm.... We shall see!

Friday, March 27, 2009

First Post!

Let me introduce myself. I'm a law student that likes to avoid homework with craft projects. I don't have a particular area of crafting I stick to...hense the title of the blog, "The Dabbling Crafter." I do photography in my spare time as well, but I felt that my crafts should probably be on a different blog. I think there are probably different audiences for each blog. On Wednesdays, I am going to post a "best of" my crafts on my photography blog, but otherwise the crafts are going on this blog...the good, the bad, and the ugly. (probably more bad and ugly than anything!)

If you like to see some of the projects I have done so far, you can see my photography blog http://kristamariephotography.blogspot.com.

On my photography blog I have pictures of these finished projects:
  • circle wall art
  • applying a wall decal
  • wooden signs that say: "We Believe in Santa Paws" "Be Thankful" "I live for the nights I can't remember with the friends I can't forget" and "Fall"
  • dog kennel cover
  • wine glass charms
I'm currently working on:
  • refinishing my bedroom dressers and mirror (1 down, 1 to go!)
  • sewing therapy bags: awesome instructions here
  • a t-shirt quilt...I've been working on this stupid thing FOREVER...
  • dog beds
  • curtains for my living room

Talk about busy! I should probably spend a bit more time studying...but to be honest I've been working on school so much lately, it's nice to take an hour of the day to work on something that is actually fun.

Well, once I finish more projects, I'll post them!