Anyone can paint a dresser. But the quality of that work is highly dependent on the preparation, the products, knowing which parts of the dresser to paint, and the practice of layering. The more you study products and practice the techniques the more likely you are to create a high quality piece of refinished furniture. Regardless of how long you’ve been refinishing furniture or if you’re just now working on your first, I’m going to teach you how to use glaze to take a painted dresser from ordinary to upscale.
This tall men’s chest was posted on CraigsList. The original owner said it was an Ethan Allen dresser. Although there are no maker’s marks proving the original source, the solid wood throughout and the dove-tailed drawers indicate that it could be Ethan Allen.
My hope was to be able to sand the solid wood down completely and stain it a light to medium gray. But even after hours of sanding, the dark stain on the body of the dresser did not sand back.
Instead, I decided to paint the entire dresser with a durable enamel. Benjamin Moore DTM is an acrylic enamel that sticks to everything, including furniture – chairs, dressers, buffets, and beds. Then brushed on a Benjamin Moore’s Stays Clear in Satin. The clear topcoat gives the painted finish an even smoother finish that can be wiped clean.
The muddy gray (Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Gray) turned out fine and someone would have purchased it. It was a clean, smooth, neutral finish. But it was flat and I wasn’t ready to offer it for sale when such a good quality dresser should have a higher quality look to it.
The dresser needed depth. I’ve read that some Restoration Hardware furniture has 7 layers of different stains to create such upscale, unique finishes. So to add another layer to the otherwise flat gray finish, I added black glaze.
General Finishes Glaze is one of my favorite finishes to apply over paint. You can see how I’ve used brown glaze over this same muddy gray HERE. And white glaze over yellow HERE.
Glaze is similar to a clear coat with color added to it. It acts as a protective coat over the paint. To apply glaze, I usually brush it on with a small brush, then with a cotton rag folded into a rectangle so there’s no wrinkles in the rag, wipe the glaze off in smooth even swipes. Work in small sections. Brush the glaze onto a single drawer, then immediately wipe across the drawer to remove the glaze. Don’t worry, enough of the glaze will stay behind to color the paint.
The clear coat that was applied over the paint, makes for a slick surface to work with and let’s you wipe off the glaze more easily.
Glaze is water-based and dries quickly; so if you’d like to remove more glaze, apply a small amount of water to the rag and wipe across the drawer again. If you’d like a darker finish, allow the glaze to dry (at least 10 minutes), then add a second coat of glaze.
For this particular dresser, I didn’t brush the glaze on. I dipped my rag in the glaze and wiped it across each drawer. Either technique works well.
Did you also notice that I sawed off the small points that were on the bottom of the dresser. I do this with older colonial style dressers to make the lines straight and more modern.
CLICK HERE to view a list of the refinishing products I use regularly. Here are the ones I used on this particular project:
- Craftsman Rotary Sander
- 60-grit sanding discs
- Benjamin Moore DTM low lustre in Kendall Gray
- Benjamin Moore Stays Clear Satin
- Purdy 2 inch brush
- General Finishes Pitch Black Glaze
- Cotton rags (t-shirts)
The glaze left behind will be darker in spots and appear uneven. That’s the beauty of the glaze. It creates a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture.
I haven’t added drawer pulls yet, but imagine this dresser with a silver or matte black metal like these found on Amazon…
This dresser will be available soon in Entri Ways’ online shop.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I use myself.
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