DIY: How I Stripped and Repainted This Vintage Dresser

I’m so happy this is done! I bought this vintage French style dresser years ago but finally took the weekend to finish it.

How to Repaint a DresserI couldn’t figure out if I wanted to do something funky and colorful or restore it to it’s original look. I decided to keep it simple and go with high gloss white with gold fixtures. It seemed like the previous owner tried to repaint it and did a crap job. The paint was peeling and bubbly. Yuck. I had to strip the old paint before repainting it so I could get a fresh smooth finish. Here’s how I did it all. First, you’ll need a dresser of course. You can find inexpensive dressers at thrift stores or Craigslist. That’s where I found this one for $20. Next, you’ll need the necessary tools.

Dresser Refinishing

Since I needed to strip the piece, I decided to go with heat over chemicals. I love stripping (and not just the naked kind). These inexpensive heat guns make the paint bubble and peel so you can easily scrape it off. I prefer this because I hate having to deal with chemical stripping.  It’s messy and takes too long. Plus it’s kind of rad to torch things. Anyway, for the paint I wanted a durable high-gloss finish, so I went with Glidden’s Trim & Door paint. It’s an oil based paint which is a pain to clean up and it stinks but sometimes it’s just necessary. This paint has an anti-drip gel texture that goes on and dries super smooth and glossy with one coat.

Heat stripping is serious business, guys. You have to be really careful because there are the obvious hazards of burns, injury,  fire, and loss of possessions. It’s easy though! Just heat the old paint until it bubbles and peels. Do it in a ventilated area or keep your windows and doors open so your fire alarm doesn’t scream at you like mine did. Oops. Then scrape it off and use a medium grit sandpaper to get the left over charring off and smooth it all out.

Heat stripping a dresser Heat stripping a dresser

Heat stripping dresser
I sanded it after this

After painting it with one coat and letting it dry over night I needed to address the hardware. I wanted to keep it original but cleaning and polishing with Brasso just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Repainting antique dresserI took the easy route and used a light coat of Rust-Oleum metallic spray paint on them. I lightly sprayed them to keep some of the vintage flaws for a more original, aged look.

Repainting a dresser

All done!

How to repaint a dresser

How to repaint a dresser

Refinished antique dresser

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10 thoughts on “DIY: How I Stripped and Repainted This Vintage Dresser

  1. Hi! Your project inspired me to restore a dresser similar to this one. Did you leave the top as is (laminate veneer) and simply paint over it. Also, what color spray paint did you use? (I assume its gold but just want to make sure!)

    thanks!

    1. Yay I’m so happy to inspire you! I left the laminate top alone and painted over it. I figured it wasn’t peeling or chipped so it would be better to leave it be. The paint I used adhered really nicely to it. As for the spray paint, I believe I used Valspar metallic gold.

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