DIYmintdresser thumb2

OMG this dresser kicked my tail. If you follow me for a while, many of you weighed in, helping me figure out how to rectify the mess of the dresser situation- each painful step of the way.

So this dresser wasn’t my plan A, B or even plan C. But I finally got her to submit and she looks amazing and I am glad for all the twists and turns this project took me on.

Upcycled Dresser Challenge (Before And After)

Upcycling an Old Dresser

I got this dresser off Craiglist for $25. Loving the Mid Century lines, the fact that is was smaller, and that it has six drawers.

I knew it would be perfect for my daughter’s room.

My original plan was to strip it and refinish it. I knew the veneer was peeling but I figured I could fix it. 

Well after realizing it was going to take more veneer repair than I was willing to give it I decided to remove the veneer.

 I mean how hard can that be?

mid-century dresser before
chipped veneer dresser

Answer: Hard. Extremely Difficult. Like I-almost-gave-up impossible.

Stripping the top two curved drawers was easy. And after I stripped them the wood grain looked pretty good. I should have stopped while I was ahead and just patched the tiny bits of chips in the veneer of the bottom four drawers.

But no! I have to test fate. So as fate would have it, stripping those drawers took days.

Literally, I tried every stripping veneer process I could google. Honestly the only one that worked was using the Home Right Heat Gun, heating the veneer up and then slowly chipping away with a chisel.

heat gun to remove- veneer

Why yes I did this process in my kitchen, because that is normal, right?

stripping veneeer from drawer fronts

After like 4 days of this torture process the drawers were finally stripped. However they looked terrible.

stripped veneer drawer front

I used my electric sander with 50 grit sandpaper and sanded them smooth followed by 100 grit, and 150 grit sandpaper.

The wood didn’t look too great but I figured I would try adding some stain to it to see how it fared.

Yes I used pre-stain conditioner!

stained drawers mint dresser

Also while all the drawer saga was going on I painted the dresser itself Sweet Pea by Olympic (found at Lowes). I had it mixed into a flat paint and added paint minerals to it so it would have a chalky finish.

Since the top drawers were made with a different wood than they bottoms they actually turned out looking decent!

mint green dresser

and then I stained the bottom drawers. YIKES! UGH! EGAD! GROSS! Call the doctor this dresser looks hurt!

mint and wood dresser So I was in a predicament. At this point most people would have given up and just painted the entire piece mint.

And that was definitely plan D. But since I had so much painted furniture in the room already I REEEAAALLLY wanted to add some wood tones.

I really wanted the drawers to be stained wood. So then I remembered bloggers using a product called Gel Stain by General Finishes to cover existing banisters or railings they wanted to darken from oak colored.

mint gel stain dresser

Now I knew it would cover the wood grain but I was hoping you could still see a little of the grain through and it wouldn’t look like I painted it brown.

And since I had the product on hand to use for a different project I thought I would try it. So as a last ditch effort to keep the stained drawers I applied it to the bottom four drawer fronts.

If that looked terrible the plan was to keep the top two drawers stained and then paint those bottom ones mint. So then here is where I was at.

mint green stained dresser

I decided it didn’t look that terrible with the Gel Stain over the top. So I decided to stain the top two to match.

At this point I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but gave myself the out saying “you can always paint it mint if you don’t like it”.

Also at this point I said to my husband “should I just give up and donate this dresser to Goodwill??” But I am stubborn and wanted to conquer this dresser so I persevered. And guess what?

I don’t hate it! In fact, I kinda love it now.

It was definitely not what I set out to do, but sometimes, you learn things along the way and discover something you didn’t know you would like.

mint colored dresser

I also decided to keep the original hardware. Again I tried just cleaning it up but it was an epic fail.

This project really tried to break me! Krylon Gold Metallic Spray Paint to the rescue.

I also sprayed it with Krylon’s Triple Thick Glaze to make it more durable from chips.

gold spray painted drawer pulls
krylon metallic gold hardware

To give the dresser added protection I used some clear wax and gave it a good buffing with a soft cloth the next day.

mint dresser waxed
wax brush

I decided not to age this piece. However I did lightly sand the middle design because I wanted it to pop a bit.

Other than that, no other scuffing.

mid-century mint dresser

As an added bonus I used my trick for drawer dividing and added a wood divider in the top two drawers.

I also added a label (because I am label obsessed) to the tops of the drawers with my Brother P-touch with some silver tape with gold letters.

divided drawers
labeled dresser

So are you ready for picture overload?

Say yes! After the two weeks of my life given to this project I gotta show the final outcome.

green mint dresser
dresser painted mint
DIY mint dresser

The top drawers show the most of the wood grain.

mint and stain dresser
wood stained and mint painted dresser

And here is a peek at the gallery wall above it (more details on that coming soon!)

mint dresser with gallery wall

Phew! I am glad that project is over. And more importantly, that I won!

Dresser  0

Infarrantly 1


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  1. The dark wood gel stain stuff worked out perfectly! Who would have thought that such a dark color would go so well with the light mint, but it really is beautiful! It may not have a lot of the grain showing, but in the close up photos, it does pop out a bit, so that just adds even more interest to it!
    So, was it worth all the effot? 🙂 It looks like it was!

  2. wow! she fought the dresser and SHE won! 🙂

    I found the best way to remove veneer is the HomeRight heat gun and a damp wash cloth. The moisture helps the heat work better. Believe me, I’ve had my share of battles with veneer. Had I only seen your fight in IG I would have chimed in.
    However, I would not have been any help with the stain issue. yikes! that was nasty. Great save friend!


  3. Oh my God this is amazing!!! I love it so much! Now I need to keep an eye out for a mid-century modern piece of furniture every time I’m at a thrift shop! lol

  4. Thank you, Lauren! This piece almost killed me, so I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comment. I am loving the mid-century look too and hope you can snag one. Best of luck!

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