Antique 3-drawer Dresser

I have been working on learning refinishing hobby for a while now. I post the before and after pictures on my Facebook page. I truly want others to know that if they want to give it a try, it’s not as hard as they might think! Often, friends will reach out when they have a piece that they know I could possibly want as a refinishing project.

My friend’s mom was cleaning out their family cottage and offered me this dresser. She remembers it being a part of their home for as long as she can remember.

Click here for a list of basic supplies you’ll need for your chalk paint project and here for the typical steps.

For a list of basic gel stain staining supplies, click here. For more instruction on how to apply gel stain over veneer/ existing finish, click here.


  • Zinsser Cover Primer
  • Annie Sloan chalk paint – Chicago Grey
  • Annie Sloan clear wax
  • General Finishes Gel Stain in Java
  • General Finishes Gel Satin Topcoat

How I refinished this piece:

I started by washing down the piece with warm, soapy (Blue Dawn) water and once dry, taping the edges and protecting the top. Following that, I used Zinsser Cover Primer to cover the piece. With this piece being an antique, the risk of bleed through was very high. I never risk painting a lighter coat of paint without using this primer now. The worst is painting and then realizing the piece is bleeding through. Feels like a waste of a coat of paint!

After two coats of primer, I applied two coats of Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Chicago Grey.

Once the paint dried, I applied Annie Sloan’s clear wax. Click here for my tips on applying.

As the wax cures, I started work on staining the top and drawer fronts. It’s really hard to sand all the grooves to bare wood. What I love about General Finishes Gel Stain is that it can be applied over an existing finish with just a light standing. After a couple of coats and drying time, I sealed the stain with the General Finishes Gel Topcoat.

I loved the existing hardware on this dresser but it was missing one. I even cleaned them up because I had hopes that I would be able to find the matching one. For more information on how I clean my hardware, click here.

I checked my local antique market but had no luck. I also found that it is extremely difficult to find hardware that is 4.25″ centre to centre. Like almost impossible!

Because I couldn’t find new hardware, I found handles at my local stockist (The Painted Bench) that covered the existing holes.

This piece still maintains the look of an antique but with a modern twist.

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