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Reader Re-Do: Dresser Makeover or “Did I just morph my dresser into a ninja turtle?”

12 Nov

I have mentioned Brittany in the blog before, as she is one of the readers who sends me interesting mail from time to time.  I even did an inspiration board for her a while back.  Brittany said she was also inspired by Maeve’s dresser re-do and gave it a go herself.  The lovely Brittany below.  (And she’s married and a mother of Bayley, so don’t get any ideas.)

Which brings me to a slightly panicky email I received from her sharing the results and asking my opinion, which I of course love giving wholeheartedly.

I need your opinion on something. I’ve been pulling my hair out after I found an awesome MCM dresser on Craigslist and decided to refinish it. So, I refinished it and then realized it was way too orange. It’s hard to tell in the pics but it looked like a carrot. So, after much debate, I decided to get a good rest and then start all over. Well, I screwed up and sanded too far into the veneer. So, my only option was to go buy new walnut veneer or just paint the whole thing, which I did not want to do. I googled for a while and found some pretty cool before and after’s, so I thought I’d meet in the middle and paint half and veneer the other half. I picked the green from the Orla Kiely pear canister and stained the new veneer a dark walnut. I feel like I’ve ruined a good thing, now that I’m finally finished. I am one to NOT paint over perfectly good wood, but in this case, there was no way I was re-veneering the whole beast of a dresser. And plus, veneering is HARD and stinky.  I would love a second opinion. I know you did something similar recently with your daughter’s low boy dresser and I LOVE the results. But I am not sure what I think about mine. Maybe I have been staring at it too long?

Suffice it to say, I can see the carrot and understand the dilemma.  I asked her to share more about her experience with veneer, as this is something I have never been brave enough to attempt.

 It’s not too spendy, I went to Windsor Plywood and bought a 2×8 sheet of black walnut veneer that came to around $36. Cheap, considering I ruined the original veneer, which I can’t believe I did. But I was not going to just paint the whole dresser. It would’ve been a crime. So, I thought up re-veneering.

I traced out the dresser drawers on the back side of the veneer and then cut out the shapes with a really sharp pair of scissors. I cut it a tiny bit bigger than the size of the drawers so I could have some wiggle room when veneering. I painted a thin coat of contact cement onto the drawer fronts and then another thin, even coat onto the back of the veneer. It’s MESSY because the contact cement is drippy. So don’t do it in your bedroom like I did. Also make sure the room is well ventilated, or you’re going to faint from the fumes. Let the contact cement dry for about 15 minutes, until it looks like a satin finish and is tacky to the touch. I would suggest two people doing the laying of the veneer on the drawer fronts, because it must lay down properly, or it’s ruined. Once the veneer touches the drawer fronts, the contact cement automatically glues to itself, and the bond is strong, so make sure you have it exactly how you want it to lay. Have a rolling pin on hand and roll the veneer with force, to make sure there are no bubbles under the veneer. You can cut out any rough edges with one of those really sharp hobby knives that look like a surgical tool. And then sand on the edges to make sure they are even.

Then sand the veneer lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to prepare it for the stain you will use. It’s really not as hard as it sounds and is a cost effective way to keep wood grain in your piece instead of painting the whole thing. The green color I used is called “Olive tree” from Benjamin Moore. It is the closest match to the Orla Pears as I could find. The paint I used was water based, but I decided to use Minwax oil based wipe on poly in Satin, to get a really nice, hard and smooth finish. It gave the green color an even more mustardy look, which makes it look even more vintage. It definitely toned it down, which I like.

When I told Brittany I really liked it and thought it looked lovely in her Orla inspired bedroom, her response was…

Yay! So glad to hear you like it! I was staring at it going, “Did I just morph my dresser into a ninja turtle???”

I love the walnut and olive together.  I think it turned out to be a gorgeous piece.  What do you think?  Have you had any experience with ‘re-veneering’ something?

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5 Responses to “Reader Re-Do: Dresser Makeover or “Did I just morph my dresser into a ninja turtle?””

  1. PJ Tolbert November 13, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    I love it. I’m not sure I’d be up for re-veneering a piece but she did an amazing job! Love it.

  2. Rebecca@MidcenturyModernRemodel November 13, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    The veneer looks good. I kind of would like to see it on the drawers too but I like the effect for sure.

  3. Dana@Mid2Mod November 12, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Brittany did a beautiful job, on both the painting and the veneering. I’m usually a “paint as a last restort” type too, but this is absolutely stunning. Perfect color combination!

  4. Nicole November 12, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Love the way it turned out. I have a coffee table that I painted in a similar color Chartreuse and it looks fab. Visit my fb pg designitgirl for the after!

    Love your blog

  5. Chris November 12, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Two thumbs up from me!

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