Take a run-down dresser to new heights with this hand-painted ombre finish!
Project cost: I spent $90, however if you already have a dresser and paint it would be free
Project time to completion: 24 hours
Project materials: sander and/or sand paper/sanding block, wood filler, putty knife, screw drivers, chisel, masking tape, paint, paint brushes, sealer, cardboard, rags, secure location
Pick Your Piece - First things first, find a dresser. I was able to purchase this used for $40. You might already have one, or was given one, whatever the case, evaluate your dresser. For example, this hardware had to go! Also, on the top set of drawers there were fake key holes and in the upper corners of the dresser the flowers also had to come off! So, you might need to chisel and/or to fill holes, so take a look at what you don't like and find tools that will help you accomplish the look you want. This dresser was easy to segment into 3 different sections, so that is why I chose to blend 3 different colors.
Strip Down - To begin working, find a place your dresser can live while you work on it. I opened a cardboard box and placed it under my dresser...just in case. Next, take off everything on your dresser from hardware to details you don't want. I used a chisel to remove the 3 rosettes; it wasn't perfect. I had to hammer in the nails sticking out, and sand down the remaining wood to have it be flush with the face of dresser. If you chisel too deep, you can always fill with putty, so don't worry about hurting the dresser...anything can be fixed.
Sanding - Next, sand away! This dresser was in bad shape, gouges and scrapes all over. It would have taken me a long time to get everything smooth, so instead, I made the decision that this piece was not going to be perfect. (If you want your piece to be perfect, I would bring your item to a professional painter. My dresser is going to get used and abused, so trying to sand all the scratches down just to make more didn't make sense to me!)
With that said, I still sanded everything to scratch up the clear coat on the dresser so the paint would stick, and some gouges more than others. I also sanded the drawers. Then, I wiped down everything with a damp rag so the paint wouldn't pick up any dust from the sanding.
Choose your paint - I have found that a variety of paints work on furniture. This time, I chose to go to my local hardware store and get the cheapest interior paint I could find, since I needed 3 different colors. Also, I knew I would need a decent amount of paint, so the quart size worked out great. (You could easily use acrylic painter's paint if you have it.) When choosing my colors, I wanted white on the top, a deep purple on the bottom and a purple somewhere in between, so that is what I looked for at the hardware store. If you are unsure, just get some paint samples and bring them home to look at in your house, in your light.
Paint Base Coats - I chose to tape off the different sections that I would be painting, as sometimes I get carried away being so close, and paint something I didn't want painted! I started with the top, since I knew it would need a few coats to cover up the dark brown finish, and painted the top section of the dresser.
I then pained the purple on the middle section and the deep purple on the bottom, with a couple more layers of white on the top. I also painted the drawers in the same fashion.
Fill - I filled unwanted holes and really deep gouges on the drawers. (Dip your putty knife into the filler and smush into the holes. Keep swiping your putty knife across the hole until the putty is flush enough and let dry. Lighting sand once dry. For the deep gouges, just swipe your putty knife across until the hole is fulled with putty. Again, your going to sand it down, so you don't need to over work it.)
Blend - Reapply the two colors you want to blend on top and on bottom. Start from one side, with a clean brush, and make small brush strokes up and down; continue all the way across. (I used a 3" wide brush and blended about 4" tall. You can see in the second picture that my brush strokes are on top of each other slightly to mix the two colors together on the dresser.) Reapply more paint on top and repeat the brush strokes from one side to the other, with your just blended color. Repeat the same process with the bottom color. Remember that everything can be corrected, it is just paint, it will dry and you can paint over it, if needed.
Once you have blended both ends of your dresser, look at the front and see where you would like transitions. For example, just a white drawer on top looked off, with the purple bar underneath it, so I blended a bit of purple on the bottom of the top drawer. (I actually mixed purple into some white in a new container and the blended that new color into the white.)
Finishing Touches - Lastly, I painted a gloss clear coat over the entire dresser and added hardware!