Etsy Shop: Alchemy Home Decor

Stripped and Flipped!

Last weekend I bought a dresser that needed a lot of help....and by a lot, I mean, so much that I was really questioning my purchase! I even posted this picture of it to facebook, wondering if I'd lost my mind!
So, as you can see, the veneer is completely shot.  I often get pieces in with cracked or chipped veneer, and have learned some tricks for repairing it, but usually I don't have to remove it all, so I knew this would be quite a process.  However, when I was standing in the thrift store where I found it (for $20!!), contemplating for no less than 20 minutes on whether or not to buy it, I noticed the wood underneath the veneer was really gorgeous, and decided to just go for it.  It was structurally sound, and the only issue was the veneer and the broken cabinet door, so I hauled her straight home and couldn't wait to get started!

Materials Needed:

  • a great piece of furniture (of course!)
  • chisel and hammer for removing veneer
  • heavy duty sandpaper
  • screwdriver
  • Your choice of paint (mine was Annie Sloan's "Graphite")
  • Rustoleum Decorative Glaze and some old cloths for wiping
  • brushes
  • Satin Polyacrylic for a finish coat
  • stencils of your choice! I got mine at Michael's, they are Martha Stewart's silkscreen stencils.

I started ripping veneer off the next day.  Fortunately, most of the veneer on the sides and drawer fronts was so loose already that it came right off, but for those stubborn pieces, I was able to use a paint scraper and a hammer and sort of "chisel" it off.  The wood on the sides wasn't the same solid, lovely oak as what was on the top and drawers, so I knew it would have to be at least partially painted, but I really wanted to try to salvage the tops and drawer fronts to re-stain.

After about 30 minutes of trying to pry the veneer off of the top, using all kinds of methods that I read about online without much result, when I remembered a refinishing tip I'd read just the other day....when having difficulty removing badly damaged veneer from the top of a dresser, take off the top and flip it over! So, I immediately called in for reinforcements (aka my fiance, Sam) and he was able to pry the top off pretty quick and we flipped it and reattached it with a few nails along the side and some new screws on the bottom (the original ones were so rusty we couldn't even get them back in!)

Once we got everything stripped, sanded, and flipped, this is what she looked like:
better already!
I had purchased a small can of stain I was planning on using, but to be honest, I hate staining. It's smelly, messy, and I've never quite gotten the hang of it, which is why I usually stick to painting. So I had a can of Rustoleum Decorative Glaze, and was curious to see what would happen if I used it on the bare wood. I took one of the drawers out to test it on the inside first, and used a cloth to rub it on...
Inside of drawer before
and after!
I loved the results so I went ahead and did the drawer fronts and top to match, and the color turned out beautiful and just what I was hoping for! It was equally as messy as stain, but a lot less "fume-y" and seemed more predictable/easier to work with.
I'd already decided I wanted to do a dark color and went with Annie Sloan "Graphite" with some distressing.

Removed the cabinet door and painted the inside of the cubby, did some distressing and stenciling on the corners of the drawers; then added some corner stencils on the top.
The only problem I encountered with the "flipping" of the top, was that there was a line around the edge where it was attached that didn't seem to want to sand down. So I ended up painting a border around the edge to mask the discoloration, and it blended the corner stencils even better.

After all was said and done, The glaze and paint dried for a day, then I used two coats of satin Minwax polyurethane finish coat, with one day of drying time in between (still have one more coat to go on the top, for a little extra protection), used the same poly on the hardware to clean it up and shine it a bit, and she was ready!

This little piece stole my heart, and I decided I couldn't part with her, so she's going to find a place in my bedroom as soon as everything is nice and dry :-)

Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement on this piece, and all of my wonderful Furniture Alchemy Facebook fans for liking and sharing the pictures, I got around 100 new followers just in the past 24 hours! Just another reason to keep this little dresser around, I think she brings me good luck!

**Edit** Just wanted to show everyone what I did with the cabinet door that was broken....nothing goes to waste at Furniture Alchemy!! :-)
Added some hooks and now we have a rustic key/leash station/message board next to our door!

It's been a year! and "What Color Is That?!" Vol. 2

Boardwalk Empire and a 1920's Dresser