Giving An Old Wooden Dresser A Distressed Appearance

If you had found an old wooden dresser at a yard sale recently, you may want to try your hand at revamping it in to a work of art with a distressed style. Distressing is a process done to make a piece of wood furniture appear weathered and worn. It is a trend in the decorating world that may make your dresser stand out as a great conversation piece within your home. Here are some instructions you can use to give the dresser you had found new vitality with a distressed appearance.

Materials You Will Need

  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper in medium and fine-grit
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Tarp
  • Two colors of paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Clean pieces of microfiber cloth
  • Polyurethane

Make Necessary Repairs

Before you start the painting process to distress your dresser, fix any portions where wood may be chipped or cracked so the structure has a solid uniform appearance. Fill in portions where wood is missing with wood putty. The putty can be pushed directly into voids. Spread it over the flawed areas and allow it to harden. Use a piece of medium-grit sandpaper to remove any excess putty from the dresser. Switch to a fine-grit piece of sandpaper to give the dresser a completely smooth surface.

Prepare The Dresser For Color

Place your dresser on a tarp so you protect the floor or ground where you will be working. Remove all hardware using a screwdriver and place it in a safe place so you can put it back on after your dresser is painted. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any leftover sawdust from your sanding procedure. Afterwards, wipe down the entire dresser with a piece of clean microfiber cloth to make sure there are no remnants left behind to obstruct paint from adhering to the dresser.

Add And Remove Color

Paint your dresser in one solid color using a paintbrush and allow to dry thoroughly. If the color is not as dark as you would like, give it a second coating. Allow it to dry. Clean your paintbrush and dip it into a container of petroleum jelly. Brush random splotches of the jelly over the painted dresser. Clean your paintbrush and paint the entire dresser with the second color of paint. Allow to dry and give the dresser a second coat of paint in this color. 

When the paint is completely dry, use a piece of microfiber cloth and wipe the surface of the dresser. Any spots where petroleum jelly is present will rub off easily, exposing the first colored paint from underneath. After you had wiped down the entire dresser, add a coat of polyurethane to shine the furniture and protect the paint if desired. You could skip this step if you prefer a flat colored piece of furniture. If you don't feel comfortable following these steps on your own, contact a specialty furniture restoration company.