First, the dresser was so old that the paint was probably lead based. This would require special gear to wear while sanding the dresser. Second the entire top of the dresser needed to be replaced due to damage. Awesome. Luckily I was talking to a carpenter who wanted to help with my project, happened to have a piece of wood on hand, and had all the tools to make it look almost exactly like the original top. Awesome!
Next I headed to Home Depot for supplies. There were several things I needed:
- Lead mask (to make sure I do not breath in the lead while sanding, which makes it airborne)
- Lead suit (covers me head to toe, literally.)
- Plastic gloves (for lead poisoning prevention)
- Sand paper (220 grit - a very fine grit to just scratch up the surface so the new paint sticks), I got a pack of 5 papers for about $4
- Tack paper (way more handy than a damp cloth after sanding), I bought a couple because they are awesome!
- Primer Spray Paint (I bought the red primer since I was painting the dresser red), I needed 3 cans.
- Spray Paint - 4 cans covered the dresser.
- Polycrylic or Polyurethane (some people say Polyurethane yellows over time so i bought the Miniwax Polycrylic, which also comes in a spray)
- Spray paint handle (It is a plastic gun thing that clips on top of the spray bottle. It is a cheap and easy way to reduce finger fatigue. Laugh if you want but I was so glad I got one)
Total I spent about $60 on all the supplies. It was a bit more than expected because of the lead issue.
Step 2. Sand. By far the least interesting part of the project, especially when sweating in a plastic suit, mask, and gloves. People walking past seemed to walk a bit faster after glancing in my direction. Something about the hazmat suit scared them, I have no idea why. It took me an hour and a half to sand the whole dresser. I mostly did it to take of the previous sealant and sand down scratches and paint imperfections. I did not sand too much because I personally like the antique look.
Step 3. Prime the wood. This was my first time with spray paint so I first tried my stroke on some random wood pieces. I HIGHLY recommend this because spray painting takes some practice. You need to spray about 8 inches away from the wood. Too close and the paint will go on too thick and run. Too far away and the paint will not make it to the furniture. I would also recommend waiting for a non-windy day because the paint will be blown away while spraying. Also make sure to wear clothes you are not particularly fond of and be aware that you will get paint on your skin. I happened to go rafting with some friends the next day and I looked particularly funny with my red spray paint farmer tan. I even got paint in my hair which made me look like a ginger (not a bad thing, my mom would be proud).
You will want to spray in even strokes that overlap. Make sure to start and stop your spray off the wood or it will splotch (a technical term). Here is a video to get the basic idea.
Do not worry if after your first coat it looks stripey. This is normal. You will need a couple coats. Wait about 10 minutes in between coats. I used three coats of primer and eyeballed it so it looked covered. Here is my dresser primed and ready to go.
Step 4. Paint. By this time you will be so excited to finally put color on your furniture! I know I was. Use the same technique as the primer and you will be thrilled with the results. I also used three coats for the paint. Do not be stingy about the paint because it will look weird if you have streaks. Here is my dresser all painted!
Step 6. Hardware. I decided to spray paint the hardware an antique bronze-ish color to add some glamour to the piece. I had to sand the handles down first and then I washed and dried them before spraying.
Step 7. Put everything together and enjoy!