Thursday, May 20, 2010

Operation Organization, Take 5. (or take .25?): A Blast From the Past)

I’m fully aware that it’s Thursday, which means I usually go on and on about some random organizational project I took on over the week.  But this week, Thursday managed to sneak up and surprise me, so unfortunately, the organizational project is not yet completed.  (or started)  It’s not that it won’t get done (and posted) this week still... just not today.
Can I take a day to feel over-tired and completely burned-out?  Thank you.
I am planning on making a fun birthday present for Veronika (of “It’s Nothing to Blog About” - so funny and sweet) who is coming over with her hubby for dinner tonight, as soon as this post is up, so it’s not as if I’m just going to lay back on the couch, eat bonbons and watch Days of Our Lives or anything. (Do remember way back when Marlana was possessed?  You can’t top that.  I had to stop watching after that was all over because it just seemed boring then.)
So, please forgive me for posting about an old project I did for organizational purposes.  It’s still my own homemade work, so even though I did it almost a year ago, I’m still ok with putting it up on my blog.  No objections?  Great.
OK.  So, mr and I didn’t have a dresser when we moved out here.  We gave our dresser to bug (the sacrifices we make for our kids!) and we got rid of our other dresser before we moved so we wouldn’t have to move it.  Therefore, our clothing was stacked in piles around our closet floor.  This closet is not the biggest master closet you’ve ever seen... quite the opposite, actually.  So we were quite literally bursting at the seems.
When Lise and her family moved, we inherited their old dresser.  And by old I mean ANCIENT.  Like... hundreds of years.  Well, actually, I have no proof to back up that last statement, but it sure looked that old.  It had gone through at least two other owners before us because Lise and her hubby had gotten it as a hand-me-down as well.  Needless to say it was pretty beat up.  I don’t have a complete before picture, because I didn’t think to take one before it was all disassembled.  But, here it is with all the drawers pulled out, but before I did anything cosmetic.
Ew.  And here’re some drawers, with the ugly handles.
Ew, again.  
In the middle of the dresser there was a door with a large (ugly) decorative scroll-type thing on it.  I hated it, but I didn’t take a picture, so you’ll have to imagine how bad it really was.  

And this is what it looks like now that it’s been invited up into our bedroom:
Ah.  Much better.  A place to put our clothes!  (But unfortunately only like a quarter of them).
First, dismantle the dresser.  Take the hardware off the drawers.  Throw the ugly door right into the garbage.
Borrow a sander from your dad.  Or if you have one, don’t bother.  I didn’t have one.  He just recently bought me my own because I kept his for so long and kept re-borrowing it.  I might have to do that with all his tools... just kidding!  Thanks, Dad!
Ok, so, get a power sander.  I used a small handheld one.  It took me forever to figure out how to attach the sandpaper.  So finally I just went and bought some self-adhesive stuff and stuck it on.  
Sand the dresser top, sides and front.  
Then keep sanding, because you didn’t get it even enough.  Brush off all the dust as you go.
Keep sanding some more, and take a break to ice your hand from all the sanding.  
Then sand the drawers.  Curse them repeatedly for having all the stupid detailing and grooves that you don’t even really like anyway.  Try your hardest to sand all surfaces - even the details - even if it’s just a little bit.  The paint won’t stick if you don’t.
Get out the spackle left over from patching the millions of holes the previous owners put all over your house in the weirdest places.  Patch up the little holes that the hinges from the ugly door in the middle of the dresser left.  Let it dry.  Go over it with another layer to make it flat with the rest of the dresser.
Use a broom to sweep the dust off.  Continue to curse the stupid little designs that you don’t like because it is absolutely impossible to get the dust out.  Blow on it.  Brush it with your hands.  Break out the chlorox wipes.  Finally, decide it’s just going to have to be good enough and move on to painting.
Bust out the white spray paint.  I used matte, mostly because it was on sale.  I bought the cheap stuff.  But I won’t do that ever again because my hand is still paying for it a year later. 
Spray the dresser top, sides and front.  You know this already, I’m sure, but DO NOT over-spray.  It will run and drip, get all gloppy, not dry well and just generally look bad.  So use a thin coat, and spray steadily and evenly across the surface.  Spray back and forth across the width, then slowly move up the length of the dresser repeating this pattern and staying about 10 inches away.  
Take copious breaks for the paint to dry in between coats and to rest your poor tired hand.
When you run out of spray paint because you only bought two cans (hahahaha!!!) make a quick run to the store.  Go right for the expensive kind that has the nice hand-friendly trigger, because by now you’ve crippled your writing hand and it will probably never play piano again.  
Go home and keep spraying.
When your finger is stiff and your whole hand is permanently cramped into a claw shape you will know you’ve painted enough.
This dresser took me probably five coats or so of white matte paint.  If you don’t want a completely opaque look, you can use less.  I wanted nothing of the old dresser to show through, that’s how ugly it was.
Let it dry.
Repeat this process with the drawers.  This part is trickier, because did I mention there are all those gooves and details??  Do the best you can.  No one can ask for more.  If you growl a little while working it makes you feel better.
Now, run to the store to buy some new hardware for the drawers because the tarnished brassy ones will not do.
Pat yourself on the back from remembering to bring a handle with you to use as a model.  After spending ions looking for a similar fit, flag down an employee and ask them to find one for you.
You are allowed to be seriously disappointed when he informs you that this size handle hasn’t been manufactured for years.  There’s nothing he can do except custom order some to be made especially for you, the cost of which obviously negates the whole “using secondhand furniture” thing.
Move on to plan B: silver spray paint (which you happen to have lying around from another project).
Lay your hardware out and spray evenly across all handles.  
Allow them to dry, then flip them over and repeat.
Repeat this as many times as necessary from as many turns and angles as necessary to get the look you want.
Screw the hardware back on.  Put the drawers back in.
Now, decorate.
I used wall decals that I got at the dollar store.  The colors went perfectly with the spring green wall color in our room and the blue accents I’ve used in there.
This process was definitely not scientific at all.  I held up the leaves in different patterns and layouts with the backing still on them until I decided on one I liked.  Then I trimmed with a scissors where I needed to so that some of the leaves overlapped cracks and such and carried over from drawer to dresser, etc.  

I took the backing off and pressed down - hard.  You can't really tell in the pictures, but there are a few leaves on top of the dresser, too.
Final step - clear spray paint or polyurethane all over the whole thing to give it gloss and keep the decals on.  Or you could use some other sealant - even mod podge if you want, although that would take a whole lotta bottles of mod podge!
Oh, when you’re done, get some burly guys to carry it up to your room - in this case mr and my brother IL.  
Admire your work and feel pretty good that you didn’t have to spend $200 to get your clothes off of the floor and into a new dresser.  
Now, the trick is USING IT, instead of continuing to allow your clothes to multiply on the floor.

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Lise said...

This dresser is my flippin' favorite. Are you still going to paint mine?

Unknown said...

Of course I'm still going to paint yours! I have a sander of my very own now!!! Do you still want it black? AND any other requests (with painted features or decals or whatever?)

Infarrantly Creative said...

I am in love. Seriously...beautifulness~

Unknown said...

Why thank you!!

claire @ a peachtree city life said...

that's so pretty! i have a very similar dresser we refinished - and it has a door covering the middle drawers - but it keeps falling off. i might take it off altogether and do something like this. thanks for the inspiration!

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

WOW, it looks great. I love the decals.

Kate said...

You did a FABULOUS job with this. I love the leaf decals!

Jaimee said...

So pretty. White paint makes everything lovely.

Amanda @ Healthy House on the Block said...

Oh my goodness! What a fantastic dresser you've created! I love the leaves - they are just perfect. You did such a great job!!

Cassie Bustamante said...

what a unique update! i love the colors you chose- it's playful but very peaceful, too.

Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely said...

Those little leaves totally make it!! I can't believe you found them at the dollar store! Some gals have all the luck. ;)

ArtfullyJune said...

What a great makeover. I love the touches of color.

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

That looks great! The wall decals really make it fun, too.
Well done!

Mandy England said...

WOW! What a difference. . . and I love the touch of the decals! I'm going to have to keep my eyes open next time we're at the dollar store! :]

Josalyn said...

I swear I have that same dresser and I'm going upstairs right now to take the stupid doors off the middle drawers. genius!

Lisa L said...

Hey Lady,
This is great! I have a very plain dresser that could use this treatment but I like the step by step because it reminds me it will be a BIG project to take on...Thanks for being real. This blog is a new fav of mine!

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