Patina Dresser

March 3, 2010

Every time I go to antique fairs, I am always drawn to those pieces that someone has glazed with a bold color.  My entire house is filled with mostly dark wood tones or white painted furniture, so this time, I thought I’d have some fun !

As you know from this week’s sordid tale about stripping paint off furniture, I had my little heart set on giving my previously white Craigslist dresser the look of a French antique.   With spring drawing very near, I thought it a good time to add a pop of color to our home.  To me, turquoise is a color that is simultaneously vibrant and calming, and a reminder of coastal waters by the sea.

You’ll recall the ‘Before’ with the multiple layers of white chipping paint, and here is the dresser after it was mostly stripped of it’s paint. 

b and a2

Here is the patina dresser, given a romantic new look, and refinished in this fresh new color.  

cg patina dresser

I just love this piece now.  It looks like something I’d want to buy from an antique shop!  To achieve this look, I invested in new knobs, some appliqués, and some paint.  (Sources below)

color and appliques

The first thing I did was stain my appliqués a little darker with an old half pint of honey stain I had leftover from years ago, so they would match the tone of the dresser. 

stained appliques

Then I attached them to the drawers with Titebond wood glue.  Setting paint cans on top helped them lay flat on the dresser so they would stick !

glue to dresser

As the appliqués dried, I watered down my small Pratt & Lambert sample of turquoise paint (called “Always Smooth”) with a few tablespoons of water and applied the base coat of glaze to the dresser.  No primer on purpose here – I wanted the wood tones to show through. 

glaze with base

When the deep turquoise base was dry, I dry brushed the second paint color on top after I turned it into a glaze with some water.  I bought a quart because I loved this color so much – it’s called ‘Rainy Day’ by Pratt & Lambert.  I’ll definitely be using this color in the future – it’s gorgeous.

You could easily get away with just buying another sample color because watering it down makes it go far enough to cover a piece like this. 

pandl rainy day

Dry brushing is simply dipping your paint brush in paint, then wiping most of it off before you apply it to your piece to get this deliberate two-tone look by revealing the base underneath.

dry brush strokes  

When it was all dry, I sanded the edges with a sanding pad to reveal some of the wood.

sand edges


Finally, I added a coat of Polycrylic in Satin to protect my hard work !

minwax polycrylic


I am loving the weathered look and colors of this dresser !

dresser detail more

rubbed sanded edge


detailed layers

So much can be done with appliqués and new knobs to give a piece a new look !  For today, this dresser is sitting in our foyer, but it will be returned to the mud room shortly.  I’m sure I can use this piece in a future guest room someday too.

Sources for materials: dresser from Craigslist; appliqués from Lowes;  Pratt & Lambert paint and Minwax Polycrylic from OSH; knobs from Anthropologie.

cg patina dresser 2

pitcher and books


I am loving this color so much lately.  And how wonderful that Pantone named turquoise ‘Color of the Year’ !  To me, turquoise is such a friendly color because it gets along so well with others.  It’s so feisty when paired with coral or orange, like a fiesta with reds, like sea glass with greens, a stunning focal point with white, and a cool compliment to warm browns.

What about you, how do you feel about turquoise ?  



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