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Girl in a hardware store, part 2.

18 April 2016

Now for the second entry in my DIY/refinishallthethingsinmyhousebeforeImove project.

About two years ago, I found this dresser on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. Yes, I was driving in Brooklyn. Yes, that was stressful. However, I found this neat thing. At the time, it looked like it had been in someone’s work space: there was paint on the top and dust and scratches all over. I tossed it in the back of my Subaru, drove it home, cleaned it up with some wood soap, and let it sit in the corner of my room, holding craft supplies and miscellaneous hardware. But it needed a makeover.


campaign dresser, before.

From Pinterest I learned that campaign style furniture is a thing, and a sought-after vintage trend at that, so hooray for me and my free find.

At first I was going to paint the dresser a solid gray, and have the color contrast with the brass hardware. I bought paint and primer, removed all the hardware, started sanding.

Looking at the dresser more closely, there was something about the wood grain that was just too beautiful to cover up completely. But I had this gray paint….so I did a “wash” technique: I painted with a dry brush in small sections, then wiped the painted area with a damp rag. This added color but left the wood grain visible.

The paint had a bit too much blue in it at this stage, so I added wood stain (Minwax Dark Walnut, because I had it lying around) by rubbing it on with a dry cloth. That looked neat, but I wasn’t quite satisfied.


after dry-brushing and staining.

I did another round of dry-brushing and washing, then sanded away the paint in a few areas – going for that “distressed” look that’s so in these days.

Borrowing another Pinterest idea, I scrubbed the hardware with Barkeeper’s Friend, then polished it with Brasso to give it a shine.

I sealed the dresser with two coats of polyurethane, waiting the obligatory 12-24 hours between each coat. I’m bad at waiting. Reattached the polished hardware, but I’m not done yet.IMG_20160401_071725




I had swivel casters that I bought for my card catalog project and decided not to use. They seemed like a better fit for this stocky dresser – only problem being that the bottom of the dresser is a thin 1/2 – inch frame, not something solid I could easily screw the casters into.




Back to Home Depot. I bought a 1 x 3, I think, and had it cut into one 20″ piece and one 17″ piece. I screwed the 20″ piece into the back of the frame; the shorter plank into the front.


Now I had enough width to attach the casters. The front casters needed to be set in from the edge a few inches due to those triangular braces in the corners. With all four screwed in, I finally got to turn the thing right-side up and let it sit next to my bed.

It looks pretty cute with its cacti hairdo. Let’s get a close-up of the before and after.

Woot! Onto the next one.




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