Saturday, November 17, 2012

OMBRE Painted Dresser Tutorial - How to Refinish old furniture in 10 Easy Steps!

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When I wasn't busy making jewelry this summer, I took on a little furniture refinishing project. Now that I have finally gotten everything together, I wanted to share the tutorial with all of you! It is actually very easy to complete this project. As long as you can set aside a few hours over a long weekend, you can complete this look with any old piece of furniture you have been meaning to bring back to life.

This piece in particular has been in my family for many years. It was actually a piece of my great grandparents bedroom set. It was passed onto my grandfather, then onto my mother. The memories I had of this set of drawers is from my early childhood. It sat in my grandfather's garage, filled with tools, junk and motor oil! I knew I had a lot of work to do because of the dismal condition it was in, but I am known to see the potential beauty in the, I went to work!

I have broken this down into (10) TEN Easy Steps because I wanted to make it as simple as possible for any beginner to accomplish.


● A cleaning Rag
● A tack cloth
● Sand Paper
● Wood filler
● A putty knife
● Good Paintbrushes
● Paint in a variety of colors
● Floetrol (optional)
● Primer
● Polyurethane
● Spray paint
● New Hardware (optional)
● A well ventilated area


Depending on how grimy your furniture is, you will need to clean it. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust from the wood. Let dry.

As you can see, this piece was quite dirty! Make sure to clean well.


Once cleaned, sand your furniture with a coarse grit sand paper to remove any rough spots along the wood. Sanding also helps to loosen any chipping paint if your furniture had been painted in the past. Since this piece had been painted and used as a junk drawer in the garage, sanding was a very important step to ensure that the wood became smooth. You can also use a hand held, motorized sander for tougher jobs.

Don't skip the sanding step!


Now that your piece is completely sanded and smooth, you will need to remove the dust that has been formed on your furniture. Use a sticky tack cloth to complete this step. Make sure you remove all the dust from your furniture with the tack cloth or your paint will not adhere properly.


Next, you will want to fill any holes or scrapes on your furniture with wood putty. Use a putty knife to fill in the holes. Let dry.

Lots of indents and holes here!


Use a finer grit sand paper to sand the filled-in holes. You will want to make sure the holes are filled completely and the wood is smooth. Don't worry about the way this looks, your primer will cover it!


Now it's time to prime your furniture. I used Zinsser's Cover Stain Primer. It is an oil based primer. This primer will cover everything, even if your furniture is dark. Paint your furniture well and let dry according to the directions on your paint can.

Zinsser's Cover Stain Primer

Primed Drawers


Once primed, you are ready to paint! To achieve the look of the OMBRE, you will need to choose six colors, starting with a light color and descending into a darker color within the same color family. The easiest way to do this is to go your local paint store and choose the color scheme that you like. Pick up a paint strip and use the gradient of colors on the strip. You will not need much paint to achieve this look. I purchased sample sized cans since each drawer is painted a different color. Since the piece of furniture I was refinishing was divided into a top half and bottom half, I choose to do a very light green gradient on the top three drawers and a blue gradient on the bottom. The sides and back of my piece were painted white. Use a really good paint brush to apply your paint. Don't skimp on the brush! You do not want to be picking tiny hairs out of your beautiful paint. It is optional to add something called Floetrol to your paint. Floetrol will slow down the drying time of your paint, but will help to minimize seeing paint strokes left on your furniture as the paint dries. Let dry according to directions on paint can.


Once the first coat has dried, you will want to give your furniture a second coat to ensure the paint has been evenly applied. Let dry.


Once you see how beautiful your "new" furniture looks with the new paint, you will want to protect it. Use a good clear polyurethane to protect your finished furniture. I used MinWax semi gloss. Polyurethane comes in different finishes. Depending on the type of look your are going for will depend on the finish you choose: Satin, Semi-gloss, Glossy or High Gloss. Apply the polyurethane to the entire piece of furniture. Let Dry.


The final step is to choose hardware for your finished piece of furniture. I kept the original hardware, but gave it a new look. Hardware can be easily spray painted. I choose Rust-Oleum Metallic in "Oil Rubbed Bronze". If you want to bring newer life to your furniture with hardware, you can purchase new knobs and pulls from a variety of retailers. My favorite place for knobs and pulls is Anthropologie. They really have the most unique selection that I have ever seen.

Sprayed Hardware with Rust-Oleum Metallic

I hope I've explained everything clearly and concisely and inspired you to breathe new life into something old. Overall, this was a time consuming project but definitely worth the effort. I am happy that I could put some life back into a family heirloom that would have otherwise been forgotten. The OMBRE paint is a fun and vibrant way to modernize an old piece of furniture. Thank you to Mary and Ray for their help and for allowing me to take over their garage while I was consumed with this project. Happy Painting!

The finished OMBRE dresser!


Ayisha said...

Not only is this dresser beautiful but the tips on refinishing furniture are great too. Good job! -Ayisha

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job, I feel confident I can do this! Thank you

Unknown said...

Beautiful job. I starting to refinish furniture and thanks for the tips.

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Brittany Walsh said...

Can you share the names of the paint colors you used on this dresser? Love it- great Job!

Airless Spray Paint Gun said...

Thank you for sharing. Its informative and full of information.