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  • Melissa Geskie

Ombre Paint Makeover on a Vintage Dresser

This is a quick and easy makeover on a vintage dresser. This dresser came my way through a local yard sale site. She had great bones and the original hardware was amazing! I knew I could make this one stand out! I grabbed her for the low price of $35 and took it home with me!

The before photo, check out the details!


Proper preparation is always super important when you plan to paint any kind of wood piece. To begin assess your item, are there damages? What kind of damages, veneer issues? Take out the drawers and vacuum inside, check to make sure the joints do not need to be glued or repaired. This piece had some slight veneer issues, missing parts and gouges. The top back decorative piece needed to be re attached. To begin I removed all the existing hardware and cleaned thoroughly with White Lightning.

Since this piece is a wood on wood drawer fit, no glides I used Dixie Belle Big Mama's Butta to condition and make the drawers slide smooth. I also used the same product to help condition the original wood wheels. Besides the fact that it smells amazing, giving the inside a fresh smell, to be able to slide open drawers easily is amazing!

Big Mamas Butta, smells so good!

After removing hardware and lubricating the drawers I started repair on the pieces of missing veneer. I also removed the loose back piece and prepped for paint. I like to use Dixie Belle Mud to fill the small gouges and repair the wood. It comes in a couple colors and dries quickly so you can sand it smooth. I also use this same product to fill in holes but since I will reuse the original hardware this step is not necessary.

When I finished sanding the mud to flat, I made sure to coat the entire piece in Dixie Belle Boss in clear. This is a primer that helps prevent bleed through of natural and wood tannins that leach out of old wood. If I did not do this step than the light colors I plan to use would have stains seeping through the paint! Making sure to take these extra steps will save you time and heart ache!


The plan for this tall dresser is to do a ombre effect. I want to do light from the top into a blue base on the bottom.

Colors Used


Starting to paint, with the drawers in, lay down your base colors. The bottom base color is Coffee Bean, moving into Vintage Duck Egg. Moving up to Sea Glass, and into Birchwood to finish at the top. I use separate brushes and made sure to cover all the wood surface. Since this is a base coat no blending is necessary yet. Wait until its dry to start on the second coats and blending.

On the scroll legs and top part of the dresser I wanted to do a contrasting look. I chose to use Gel Stain in Espresso. This gel stain is easy to wipe on and covers flaws and knicks. Wearing gloves and using a t shirt like rag I applied the stain directly on top of the dresser and legs. I applied two coats waiting in between each for it to dry. Make sure to add the gel stain in the direction of the wood grain. Use long even strokes from one end to the other.


When the gel stain has fully dried I applied a clear top coat in a satin finish. I applied the top coat with a wide synthetic brush to minimize brush strokes and provide a matte finish.

When adding the second coat of paint to the dresser make sure to use a spay misting bottle to keep the paint fluid. I also use sperate brushes to make sure I do not contaminate the paint when I pull the colors together. Blend the lines until the paint flows easily from one color to the next.

This piece called for some of the edges to be detailed. I like to use sand paper to lightly distress the edges and define the raised detail. Gently sand away the paint where you would like to have wood showing below. When you have finished you can add your protective top coats. I like to use wax to finish. Using Dixie Belle's Best Dang wax in Clear, I coated the base of the dresser using a wax brush.


After wiping back the wax I re installed the hardware. The hardware was spray painted gold to accent the new color. I also added two new knobs to the top drawers in crystal to pull together the look and replace a damaged knob. I used Warm Gold Gilding Wax to accent the edges of the drawers and tie in the hardware. I applied the gold wax with a small make up brush to feather out the strokes.

Stage and photograph your beautiful updated dresser. If you would like to watch a video of this process with extra details, please click here.


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Thank you!


The Top Drawer RVA

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