A Quick Furniture Rescue

before and after furniture makeover using Annie Sloan Chalk paint

A Quick Furniture Rescue

Do you have any furniture that needs to be rescued?  By rescued I mean refinished, remodeled, given new life, updated, made presentable?  Surely we all have some type of unsightly or dated furnishing.  It’s not just me is it?   It might be tempting to get rid of it and replace it with something newer; however, I think many pieces (dare I say, all furniture?) can be rescued from the junk pile  with just a little bit of effort.  Okay, some pieces will require more effort, but you get the idea.

I have such a piece.  It is dated (white wash finish) and, it is laminate (not the best quality).  However, it is sturdy.  The drawers glide beautifully, and it will give plenty of space for storage.  And, it was given to me by my grandmother as a gift for our first baby.  #sentimental  It is currently in my garage, where hubby has to do some sort of backing up magic to avoid hitting it with the side mirrors of his car.  He would like to see this chest of drawers donated or thrown out.  However, I have a better idea.  Annie Sloan Chalk paint.  Here are a couple befores so you can see what I’m working with.


dated, whitewashed chest ready for makeover

side view of dated, whitewashed chest


I stumbled onto AS chalk paint after reading a post out in blogland. It seemed pretty easy to use, and people seemed to love it. I thought I would give it a try on an old chest that I had. The results were great and I was hooked. Since then, I’ve painted several other pieces in my house.   Today, I am going to show you how simple it truly is to use this paint.


Here’s How – Step 1

Although you don’t have to prime or sand when using AS chalk paint I prefer to go ahead and prime laminate furniture so that the paint has something to stick to. I prefer to use Zinzer brand primer; however, for this project I used what I had on hand from an old project.  Note to self…just throw out the old stuff – this was hard to use.  🙁

chest with primer and ready to paint


front of dresser being primed

drawer front with primer


Step 2

After giving it a good coat of primer, I’m ready to paint.  This chest is going to be a fun, colorful piece, so I am using Napoleon Blue.  I love the richness of this color.  The bold color will easily add a pop to the guest room that is in process.


painting Napolean blue chalk paint onto chest

Annie Sloan round paint brush


I really like using this round brush to apply the paint. It gets into all the nooks & crannies of a piece (of which this chest has none). It’s good to do a light coat of paint. A light coat of paint dries quickly.  Don’t freak out when you see brush marks and it looks a little streaky. The second coat will take care of that.


side of chest with one coat of Napolean blue chalk paint

side of chest with one coat of Napolean blue chalk paint


Another great thing about this paint is that it dries super fast. Usually by the time I’m done with the first coat, I can start again from the top with coat #2.  One thing to remember, once you start make sure that you keep your brush strokes moving in the same direction.

Now, I have a beautiful, even coat of color. I let it dry about 24 hours before moving on to the next step.  Waxing.


Step 3

Next, it’s time to apply the wax. Don’t freak out.  This is not as hard or as scary as you might think.  Trust me.  I typically use the clear wax and apply it with this larger oval-shaped brush.


When applying the wax, it is best to use a thin coat and really spread it out and work it into the paint using the brush. I use up and down and circular motions ~ direction does not matter at all.   It’s best to work in small sections so that it doesn’t dry and set.  SO, after I’ve waxed the drawer front, I will immediately wipe off the excess with a clean cloth (aka –my sons’ old cut up t—shirts). I continue with this process until I’ve waxed the entire piece.  After it’s waxed, and I’ve wiped off the excess, I let it sit for 24 hours before returning to buff it.

So, I completely forgot to take photos of this step.  However, it’s truly as easy as I’ve described.  Here are couple photos I found online for you to see.  There are also videos of this process as well.


adding wax to chair

applying wax to piece of furniture

Step 4

For buffing I use a padded buffing cloth and go to town. This is where the muscle work comes in. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you begin to see your piece have a sheen to it – a burning arm muscle is also a good indicator. 🙂  If you have one of those handy-dandy electric buffers, then count yourself blessed.

I’ve really only used wax to seal and finish off my chalk pieces; however, for heavier use pieces, I have read that people may use a polyurethane or polycrilic.   So that may be an option for you as well.  I think I would definitely use a polyurethane if I was doing something like a dining table.

Napoliean blue chalk paint used on chest


Step 5 (optional)

Distressing is step five and totally optional.  Some people love the vintage vibe or distressed look.  There are two ways to approach this.  If you want to distress you can sand the piece you’ve painted on the corners or high wear areas.  You can also wipe paint off with a wet cloth before it fully dries to get a distressed look.  Then wax the piece as normal.  Annie Sloan prefers to distress hers AFTER waxing.  In this case you would distress in the same fashion but will probably need to go back and reapply wax where you’ve distressed.  I personally don’t want that extra step, so I distress pre-waxing.

For this piece, I did not want any distressing.  So all that’s left for me is to add drawer knobs that I found at Home Goods.  FYI – I priced knobs all over the place.  I could not come close to the deal I got at Home Goods.  I can’t say the quality is the same, but for a chest in a guest room, they will work great.

Step 6 (optional)

I am pretty happy with the color of the chest, but as I was walking through Home Goods one day I saw this adorable blue gift wrap paper with bright yellow lemons.  Now I know that that may not be a design we think of for bedrooms, but I just really loved the paper.  So, for $2.99 I decided I would buy the paper to line the drawers.  That would give it a more finished look.

This process is pretty easy.  I just measured the inside of my drawers.  I cut the wrapping paper to that measurement.  Next, I used Mod Podge to “paint” the inside bottom of each dresser drawer.


Mod Podge used to line drawers

When you get ready to lay the precut paper onto the sticky drawer bottom, here’s a tip.  Curl the paper in half and lay only one half of the paper into the drawer at a time.  Smooth that part out, then lay the other side down.  This will help cut down on air bubbles and the smaller size is easier to work with as well.  Once the paper is in place, you will need to go back over the paper using Mod Podge again to seal it.

Here you can see the wet Mod Podge on the paper.  However, when it dries it will be clear.

wet mod podge used to line a dresser drawer


I did the same for each of the five drawers.  I think the lining makes a nice little punch to this piece.  What do you think?  And for $2.99 and about a half hour, I’m pretty happy with it.

drawer lined with gift wrap

blue paper with lemons lining a drawer


So, here’s my finished piece.  What do you think?  I love the color and think it will be a nice pop in the room.  What pieces do you have that could use a breath of fresh air?

refinished chest using Annie Sloan chalk paint


And here’s one more look at the before and after of this project.  I love these kinds of projects.  You get to see the end result so quickly.  I’m not good with delayed gratification.   I have used chalk paint for so many projects, and I highly recommend it.  I would like to try Velvet Finishes paint next.  Have any of you tried that yet?  If so, you have to comment below and let me know if you liked  it.

Okay friends, I think that’s enough from me for today.  Please comment below and let me know what you think of this dresser project and if you have any tips to share with me.  And, you can sign up for my email list here to get my posts delivered right to your inbox.

Until next time ~








Shared on Share Your Cup Thursday


  1. What a great idea….The drawers look fantastic! What a difference a lick of paint can make. I love the colour x

  2. Nice job! I especially appreciate that you took the time to paint the drawers in a contrasting color and to add the colorful paper to the drawers. Also — the new hardware really pops against the pretty blue color. I agree with you about not distressing the painted piece. I’m not a big fan of the distressed, chippy paint look.

  3. I love the color. Looks fabulous after! I love a good DIY upcycle instead of just tossing it. Thanks for linking up! (:

    1. Author

      Thanks! I really love the color too. It’s the starting point for what will be a guest room later.

  4. It turned out great! I love chalk paint. I’m getting ready to do a nightstand makeover with chalk paint. I like the idea of wrapping paper and Mod Podge inside the drawers.

    1. Author

      Thanks Cassie! I am pretty happy with it. I love the gift wrap in the drawers. I think that gives it a fun little punch. Thanks for visiting today.

  5. I love how you made this sentimental piece of furniture so beautiful, Jenny! It’s amazing how you have given it new life. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at Hearth and Soul. I’ve featured your post this week.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much April! It’s funny how things do become sentimental – even when there is really nothing “special” about them. I’m glad I was able to save this piece too. A little remembrance of my grandmother.

  6. Cute piece! I’ve used Annie Sloan chalk paint quite a bit and love it as well. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. What a transformation, Jenny! Love the color you chose–thanks for linking your project up with us at Vintage Charm–

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this at the Farmhouse Friday link party! Shared and pinned! 🙂

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