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Classic makeover for a vintage dresser

Antique Furniture Finish

 Giving painted furniture an antique furniture finish is one of my favorite things. This dresser had seen better days and restoring it to the original finish wasn’t in the cards. I work much better with paint.
antique furniture finish - black dresser with antiqued paint

Antique Furniture Finish

antique furniture finish - black dresser with antiqued paint petticoat junktion project before

 The vintage dresser was just crying out for a little love. I found the piece at My Favorite Junk Shop….where else!

antique furniture finish - black dresser with antiqued paint petticoat junktion project

I removed the hardware from the chest and scrubbed it with Simple Green cleaner. I had to vacuum out the cobwebs and spider eggs first.
I painted the dresser with Caromal Colours Peppercorn Basecoat paint. I don’t use Caromal Colours products exclusively but they are easy to use and produce a great finish, especially if you want the piece to have an antiqued or aged look. The Caromal Colours paint is very thick which makes it easy to achieve a textured look if that is what you are going for. In this instance I just wanted the paint to be smooth.

furniture 001

When I pull out my paints and start to work I always try to paint multiple items. Work smarter, not harder. I’m on the lazy side….just sayin’.
I had these mirrors on hand and I thought they would look great with a touch of the Peppercorn color also. The Peppercorn is a rich black.

antique furniture finish - black dresser with antiqued paint project

After the paint dried on the dresser…. which only took a couple of hours….I used my trusty sander and distressed it pretty well. The white crazing or scrubbed look from the sanding  disappears when I use the Caromal Colours Toner.
The toner is my favorite product for antiquing or aging furniture. It is water based and I just rub it on (or brush it on) then wipe it off until I get the look I want. The toner will give the raw distressed edges of the wood a warm brown color and it will darken the paint. Getting rid of the haze from sanding.

antique furniture finish - antiqued paint

 Next I used Howards Paste Wax in Golden Oak to give the wood and paint a deeper richer color and sheen. The Howards is also a good aging product but it tends to wear off over time whereas the toner will not. antique furniture finish - black antiqued paint
The frames and mirrors turned out well too. I painted, distressed, and toned them. The silver on the mirror frame I left as is.
I finished the chest Friday morning and Friday afternoon it was on display at This Old Place Antiques in Clarksville. On Saturday a lovely lady from Starkville,  Mississippi took it home.
I made a video showing how I distressed a white chest of drawers. The process is the same as for this piece. Watch the video ……

How To Distress Furniture

You can find a complete tutorial using the Caromal Colours toner by clicking here… Tutorial-How To Antique Painted Furniture

I also have a tutorial on antiquing furniture with Howard’s Wax here… How To Antique Furniture The Easy Way.

Before and After Furniture Makeover featuring a vintage vanity painted and antiqued

This post first appeared on Petticoat Junktion May 23, 2011. It was one of my very first posts. I updated some the info and republished it so you guys who are newer here will get to see it. There isn’t much I can do about the photos. At least my photography has improved over the years…..or maybe it’s just my editing skills. You may notice I painted the dresser in the carport. That was before our workshop was built in 2012

For those of you who have asked about my favorite DIY products and Tools. Here is a partial list…….
Beyond Paint for Furniture 
Ryobi Drill (cordless)
Mouse Sander (cordless)
FrogTape Painters Tape
Howard’s Restore-a-Finish
Rustoleum Heirloom White Spray Paint
Rustoleum Metallic Copper Spray Paint
(Affiliate links for your convenience, read affiliate disclosure here)

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Kathy, I forgot to mention that I started to do my kitchen cabinets in CAROMEL COLOURS. I’m using the MUSTARD COLOR.

  2. On the VINTAGE DRESSER that you painted with the CAROMEL COLOURS in the PEPPERCORN, it looks like a VINTAGE BLUE color. Is that the color it comes out as when you use the toner, or is it just the way the picture took? I love that it looks BLUE, but I need to be sure. I would love to paint my bedroom furniture the BLUE color. Thanks

  3. Thank you Pam, I just worked with it as is. I painted it then distressed, toned, and waxed. Areas of missing veneer are like added details when distressing!

  4. I am wondering how you dealt with the left side of the dresser, where the veneer is missing from about 1/3 of the side. THANKS!!! Very pretty!

  5. I love the dresser but I have a question about the hardware on it. I have an old chest of drawers with the same hardware and can’t figure out how to remove them. Can you tell me how? There isn’t any screws or nails to be seen holding this in place. I’m afraid to just start prying them off as I don’t want to ruin them and would like to put them back on like you did after I get the layers of paint off.

    Thanks for any help you might have.

  6. Aw..at least a fellow MS gal got it …but I sure wanted it! I came to see if it was available. I need to make a trip to your shop soon.

  7. Looks amazing what a great job! Haven’t been keen on the darker colours but this may have convinced me!!

  8. Never heard of this paint or toner..thanks for sharing! I have to check this out. You have a beautiful touch:)

  9. Beautiful! I've never heard of this paint but will definitely check it out. You did some great work here…so tell your son he might as well get over it. ; )
    That's what I tell mine!