Even though most of the furniture pieces in my home are on the modern side, I still always love the surprise of a single, distressed statement piece of furniture mixed in and on display. They’re comforting. They look as though they’ve been well-used over many years and remind us of home and memories.
When I came across this antique dresser I saw it as a perfect hallway table and storage piece. The challenge was to restore and clean it up, then send it back many years.
I’m always experimenting with different paint and stain products. With this particular dresser I wanted a distressed black stain finish like you find in Pottery Barn. What I love about Pottery Barn furniture is that the paint looks rubbed off, but the finish still maintains a low lustre sheen.
Minwax Classic Black Polyshades in a Satin finish worked perfectly to create this look.
Polyshades is a stain with the polurethane topcoat built right in so you only have the one step of applying the stain. There are, however, several tricks to applying it correctly.
I apply all stains, including Polyshades, with a rag. Many people use brushes and the instructions even say to brush on stain and then wipe off the excess with a rag; but after years of experimenting, I’ve found the best and easiest way to apply any type of stain is with rag. Remember to always properly dispose of brushese and rags according to the manufacturer’s instructions as they warn that they can be combustible.
Using a rag to apply stain, you’ll both apply and then remove any excess stain in one step. You have better control as to how much stain you apply and how you distribute it. Using a rag also eliminates the bubbles you get when you apply Polyshades with a brush. Just to prove it here’s the result when I applied Polyshades stain with a foam brush in the past. I’ve had similar results with a bristle brush.
Bubbles can occur if you shake the can, so I’m very careful not to shake or aggitate the can too much before use. And still… bubbles. No more applying stain with brushes for me!
So after applying the stain with a rag to this dresser, I sanded it back to let the warm orange shades of the wood pop through. Then a second coat of the Polyshades stain was applied.
The depth of colors showing through from the distressing is so convincing that you’re encouraged to walk up to the dresser and run your hand over it only to find a smooth satin finish. I still do this every time I walk by this dresser.
The black distressed dresser was missing a few of it’s antique brass handles, but the few that are left have such an unusual shape, they’re worth saving. I’m scouring Ebay for a match, otherwise I may use some very small coordinating pulls as a complement.
This distressed black dresser is for sale in my Shop.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to products I love and would use myself.