San Diego County, CA, USA

A Step by Step Guide and Five More Makeovers

Mid-Century Modern Dresser Makeover 

  A Modern Diy Furniture Makeover Tutorial 


mid-century modern dresser circa 1958

First we'll talk about safety... before beginning any diy project make sure you have all the protective gear necessary for what you are going to do. 

I use protection for every project, no matter how small it is and so should you. Here is what I use:

  • Safety glasses: use for every step.
  • Ear Protection
  • Chemical safe gloves: use for stripping, staining and sanding.
  • Respiration mask: use for stripping, staining, sanding and anything else that has a strong smell or non organic chemicals.

Diy Disclosure: 

Caution: All DIY projects involve some risk from the tools you use, project materials, your skill level and your surrounding work area. 

Please always use safety precautions when doing things yourself. Follow all tool manufacturer's operating instructions, practice safety precautions like using proper eye wear, ear and inhalation protection, etc. 

CHIC HOME | Sandra Shepard will not assume any responsibility or liability for damages or losses sustained or incurred in the course of your project or the use of the item you create.

Here are the Six Basic Steps that I use to refinish wood furniture. If you stick to the basics it gets the job done. It isn't always easy but I know you can do it and if you can't you can always hire a professional

 Step #1     Cleaning

The entire dresser was cleaned with a 50/50 solution of water and Simple Green, wiped down with a dry towel and allowed to dry thoroughly. It was coated in nicotine, one of the perks of buying vintage furniture and old houses. This piece was finished in a matchbook veneer which means the grain matches all across the front if you get the drawers in the right order.

Step #2     Sanding

Sanding was done using 80 grit sanding blocks, orbital sander and mouse sander. When you are working with veneer go easy, veneer is a thin decorative wood that is applied to the outer surfaces with glue and you don't want to go through the veneer while sanding which is why most of the sanding was done by hand.

A second sanding was done using 120 grit. Always sand in the direction of the grain, be sure you use sanders with the dust collector, always wear a mask and protective eye wear. 

Clean off sanded piece before next step an air hose works nicely to blow it off and then you can use a tack cloth which you can find at most hardware stores.

note: Make sure you get double protection by purchasing sanders with a good dust trap/filter and do wear a high quality disposable respirator mask when sanding. 

Step #3     Staining

Before beginning you can take a little stain and find a tiny spot on the top edge in the back for testing. Be sure to follow directions on the can of the product you use. You can use a brush to apply stain or clean old t-shirts and use them to apply the stain.

mid century dresser refinished with dark stain

If you aren't into stained furniture you could always paint or do a wash of half latex or acrylic paint in your choice of color and half water this allows the grain to show through. Do your finish sanding and a test area before you paint. If you want more coverage use less water.  

Note: if it is a veneer you don't want to use as much water, and wipe off excess immediately.

The stain choice for these projects is Minwax  Jacobean

Step #4   Finish Sanding

Once stained do a final light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to close up the grain before finishing.

Step #5   Wax on Wax off

There are different types of finishes you can use to seal and protect your finished pieces; oils, waxes, polyurethane. Most of our pieces are finished in a hand rubbed paste wax and is a personal favorite, but it does require care, maintenance and does not protect against water stains.

 The pieces we refinish that need protection against everyday life with kids, pets and heavy use are finished with a wipe on or brush on polyurethane.

Step #6   Hardware

We cleaned up and put the original drawer pulls back on and they just didn't do anything for the dresser except detract from the beauty of the wood. We finally settled on some sleek, thin modern looking pulls in a black finish for the outside drawers and matching knobs for the center drawers. They blend in so perfectly that when you are looking at it you don't even notice them unless you are up close which is the exact look we were going for.

mid century dresser makeover drawer pulls

The stain brings out the best in any wood piece and I kind of have a thing for wood-grains.

dresser drawers close up

Pictures are from 2011 and my Canon 8 mp.

Those are our six basic steps for refinishing wood furniture. If you need any help let me know. 

Side Note:

photo taken with a Canon Powershot 2011
The big art piece over the dresser is a modern Chic Home Diy

My techniques and tutorials can be used to transform any of your diys into any style you are interested in just by changing up stain color, painting instead of staining, changing out the hardware and putting your own creative style on all of your projects. 

Have fun and stay true to you!

Here are more some before and afters using the same techniques:

DIY Wall Mounted Headboard

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting CHIC HOME. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I try to respond to all questions and comments in a timely fashion. Sharing is caring! Be Kind! This is a no spam zone and all comments are moderated.


Your copyright

CHIC HOME © 2005-2024. All Rights Reserved. THEME BY HELLO MANHATTAN