the spring fling dresser.

We’re still recovering from the ridiculous amount of snow we got last weekend, but things are looking up weather-wise here in the Twin Cities, we might even hit 60 by Sunday.  I am suffering from a very serious case of garage sale withdrawal, so I’m chomping at the bit for some spring!

I thought I would nudge it along a little bit with a spring fling in the form of a garden themed dresser.

I shared the beginning of the journey of today’s dresser with you guys on Wednesday.  This dresser just insisted on being something other than what I first imagined.  After several failed attempts to salvage a milk paint finish, I threw in the towel and decided to start over again.

As a reminder, when we last left the dresser it looked like this.

The first thing that you have to understand is that any remaining chippy paint is going to leave a texture on the surface of the dresser if you just paint over it.  In addition, whatever you put over that remaining paint may ultimately chip off as well.  The adherence of your final paint layer is only as good as the adherence of what is under it.   So the first thing I had to do was make a choice between just sanding off the loose chips, or doing a heavier sanding and removing all of the milk paint entirely.

I went with with the former.  I used my orbital sander and a 120 grit paper to remove as much of the chipping paint as I could knowing that the remaining bits of paint would add some texture to my piece.

There were several ways I could have proceeded from there that most likely would have worked well.  I could have stuck with my original milk paint plan and simply added bonding agent to my paint to make it adhere to the surface of this piece better.  Unfortunately, I had already used up almost an entire bag of both the Homestead House Texas Rose and the Miss Mustard Seed Linen.  I did not have enough of either color left to start over with them (and I also don’t happen to have any more bonding agent on hand either).

Another option would have been to paint a base coat of acrylic or chalk paint over the entire piece and then add a layer of milk paint without bonding agent.  The chalk or acrylic paint would have adhered to the dresser, and the milk paint would have adhered to the chalk/acrylic paint.  Again though, I didn’t have enough of the Miss Mustard Seed Linen paint to go that route.

So I decided to just move on to chalk paint, and to switch up my color scheme a bit as well.  I started with an undercoat of two green shades of Dixie Belle paint, Kudzu and Mint Julep.

I wanted the Kudzu (the darker green) to show through some distressing on the edges, but I didn’t have enough Kudzu to paint the entire piece.  Since I hadn’t gotten all of the milk paint off the piece, I knew I would have some texture from what was left and an undercoat would show when I sanded those areas too, so I wanted to have a shade of green there as well.  Luckily I also had a bit of Mint Julep on hand.

In the end, I decided to paint the inside drawers in the Mint Julep as well.

And I’m so glad I did because it adds the prettiest pop of color when you open the doors.

But before I got to that, I painted two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (paint compliments of Dixie Belle) over the exterior.  Drop Cloth is a warm off-white.  Then I added one of my absolute favorite Iron Orchid Designs transfers (transfer compliments of Prima Marketing) to the front of the piece.

You can sort of see what I mean about the undercoat of green coming through in that photo above, right?  By the way, you can order this transfer online at here.  When I looked last night it was on sale for $17.99, which is a great price.

The thing that I really love about these furniture transfers is that they are sized for furniture.  I love the way this one fills up the entire front of the dresser (this is the large version of this transfer, there is also a smaller version available and you can see it on this piece).

And in fact, the large transfer was actually a tad too long so I cut off the “1871.” and put it on the trim at the back of the dresser top.

This is the 4th time I’ve used the larger version of the transfer and each time I have absolutely loved the results.  You can see the other three pieces here, here and here.

Once I had applied the transfer, I waxed this piece with Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax over both the Drop Cloth and the Mint Julep Dixie Belle paint, as well as over the transfer.  Yes, you can definitely was over a rub-on transfer.

By the way, I almost forgot to mention.  This dresser came with a key!

It’s really quite rare to have the key, and locks that still function.

Do you ever wonder about these old pieces with locking drawers?  It seems like all of the pieces from this era had them.  What did people lock up in them?  Money?  Their last will and testament?  Their secret diary?  Their hidden stash of chocolate?  Today it seems laughable that you would lock something up in a drawer and feel like it was secure, doesn’t it?

I swapped out the original wooden knobs for some pretty glass knobs.  I buy these knobs in bulk from D Lawless Hardware.  I am exaggerating only slightly when I say ‘in bulk’, but I do order them by the dozen so that I always have them on hand.  I also buy three different sizes.  This is the middle size, or 1 1/4″.

I love using the glass knobs on pieces with the transfers because they disappear a bit and don’t interfere with the detail of the transfer itself.

Here’s one more look at that pretty pop of mint green on the inner drawers.

And there you have it.  It may not be milk paint, but I still think it turned out beautiful in the end.

 If you need a garden themed linen press dresser and you live near the Twin Cities, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

41 thoughts on “the spring fling dresser.

  1. This was definitely worth all the trouble it gave you. And once again, I am missing my big farmhouse that would have easily accomodated this piece. Someone will be lucky to take this home! Beautiful…especially the color when you open it up…


    1. Thanks Terri! This is one that I would love to find a spot for myself too. If I didn’t already have so many pieces that I love I’d be tempted to keep it 🙂


  2. This dresser turned out lovely. I do love the green and I agree with you. This is one of my favorite IOD transfers as well. I love the green inside the piece. Thanks for sharing.


    1. I think it’s the graphic advertisement-ish look of the transfer that appeals to me, or maybe it’s the garden theme. Or maybe it’s the fonts? Or just all of the above 😉


  3. It turned out perfectly! I love the green color instead and like the color showing when you sanded it back a little. Thanks also for the link to purchase the rub ons, they have lots of Prima Marketing on sale. This will sell quickly.


    1. Thanks Laura! I noticed that was having a sale on Prima. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but have ordered from them in the past and had a good experience.


  4. This could not have turned out any prettier! I love the pop of green when it’s opened up. Thanks for the tip on where you get your handles. I always struggle to find enough at Hobby Lobby.


    1. I’ve really been slacking a little on the q-tips lately, but here’s a q-tip for you on Hobby Lobby. You’re so right, they never seem to have enough of any one knob in stock. Especially when they are 50% off. But did you know that you can ask them to order the quantity you need at the register? They will call you when they come in and they’ll give you a rain check on the 50% off, so when you pick them up you still get the sale price. Of course, if you’re like me and you want instant gratification (or you need to finish the piece and get photos of it taken so you have something to post on your blog this week), it’s a bit frustrating and would be so much easier if they just stocked a higher quantity of each knob in the store!


  5. So pretty. I’m loving transfers more and more. I think the French ones are lovely but these garden themed transfers really speak to me.


    1. I have a couple of pieces in my own home that have the French transfers on them and I do love them. But one of these days I need to use this garden transfer on something for myself too. My sister really wants a piece with this transfer on it too, we just haven’t found quite the right piece for her yet.


  6. I would buy this in a heart beat if I lived near you!!! Love it! Funny thing though. I find the pieces I make to sell with the IOD stencils do not sell. I noticed you have a few pieces left to sell too. I wonder what it is about that. They are beautiful!


    1. I think you’re looking at the dresser with the Catalogue transfer that doesn’t seem to want to sell. I’m not sure what the problem is with that particular piece and why it hasn’t moved, but I’ve been tempted to blame it on the transfer too. However, aside from that piece, the only transfer pieces I have on hand are today’s dresser and the ironing board I shared on Monday. I just posted both of those on Craigslist today, so we’ll see how it goes. However, the Boutique de Vin dresser that I shared in early March sold fairly quickly. The washstand with the smaller version of the Seeds transfer also sold really fast. The tall dresser with the Le Fleur transfer took a little longer to sell, but it was the middle of January so that has to be factored in as part of the equation as well. I did quite a few pieces with transfers last summer and they all sold well. I know I have a tendency to criticize my pieces that take a long time to sell and somehow forget that six other similar pieces sold just fine. So it’s hard to say. I struggle all the time between producing pieces that I love, and producing pieces that I know will sell quickly. If selling quickly becomes my only criteria, I’m going to have to just crank out Park Bench green mid-century pieces one after another. Ugh.


      1. Oh, You just inspired me again. I will try Park Bench Green and see how my current item sells. I love that colour and will keep it for myself.


  7. Wow, what a project that pretty piece was, but you made it Beautiful in the end. As someone said earlier, I wish I lived closer and could come scoop it up! You never cease to amaze girlfriend!


  8. Well it turned out pretty good . You saved a great linen press. Have a great weekend. I hope that this weekend a lot of the snow will be gone. Luv to you, Mom and sis.


  9. I was never a “green” person but oh, my gosh, I love all of the green pieces you do. You certainly saved this piece. And the drawers??? Beyond.

    It’s finally spring here in Iowa, thank goodness!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.