the soldier blue dresser.

I think I already shared the story of how I acquired today’s piece.  My picker, Sue, found it at a garage sale that wasn’t too far from our homes.  I was at work at the time, so she texted me a photo and said she’d pay for it and ask them to hold it, if I could send Mr. Q to pick it up.  So after a few exchanges of text messages, Sue had purchased it, and Mr. Q had picked it up and brought it home.  And I never had to leave the office 😉

My handyman, Ken, repaired the runners inside the dresser and re-glued a few things.  Once he was done it was ready for me.

I’ve been watching a few furniture makeover experts on YouTube lately and so many of them just sand off old finishes rather than using a chemical stripper.  Especially when the piece is solid wood rather than veneer.  So I decided to give that a shot on the top of this dresser and it worked like a charm.  I started with an 80 grit paper on my orbital sander, then moved on to a 120 grit, followed by a 220 grit.  Easy peasy!  This sort of work is only possible for me in the summer when I can work in my carriage house workshop and I don’t have to worry about the dust (I don’t have one of those fancy sanders that suck up the dust).

It can also be a bit of a problem because I usually get up around 6 a.m. to start working out there this time of year.  I’ll work until the day heats up too much to be comfortable.  I don’t think my neighbors would be real excited about listening to my orbital sander at that hour.  Using a chemical stripper is much quieter.

By the way, as I was doing the sanding while wearing a mask I realized that this was one upside to COVID.  I used to absolutely struggle with wearing a mask while I worked, but now I barely even notice it.

Once I had the top sanded down, I pulled out the drawers and removed those porcelain knobs that came with the dresser yet were totally wrong for it.  You can see the knobs a tad better in this photo from a week or two ago …

White porcelain with yellow roses on them.  Totally wrong for this piece!

Once those were off, I also had to remove some ancient contact paper that was lining the drawers.  That is one of my least favorite tasks, and I think that plays a part in why I don’t like to line drawers myself.  I know that sometime down the road, someone is going to have to remove that stuff and I hate to do that to them.

Next up, I dug through my stash of knobs and was happy to find that I had 8 large wooden knobs that would be perfect on this piece.  I’m really glad that I kept all of those wooden knobs that I used to remove from dressers back in the day.

All that remained was to choose the paint.  I decided that this dresser was the perfect candidate for some milk paint.  There’s something about this particular style & age of furniture that just screams milk paint to me.  So I dug through my bin of already open milk paint thinking I’d have to create a custom mix using a couple of colors, not having enough of any one color for the entire piece, but then I stumbled upon the Homestead House Soldier Blue.

If you aren’t familiar, Homestead House milk paint is the same milk paint manufacturer that makes Miss Mustard Seed and Fusion milk paint.  This was their original line of milk paint and they have over 50 colors to choose from.  So if you’re looking for a new color to experiment with, check them out!

You guys have seen me use this color on a couple of smaller items including this wooden bucket.

But I still had quite a bit of it left, easily enough for this dresser.  And really, ever since I first cracked open this color I knew I wanted to use it on a full piece of furniture one day.  This was that day!

I cleaned the dresser, scuff sanded it lightly and then brushed on two coats of Soldier Blue.  I won’t go over my tips for using milk paint here, but if you aren’t familiar you can check them out in my milk paint basics post.

After two coats of paint were dry, I sanded to distress the edges with a 120 grit paper and then smoothed out the flat areas using a 320 grit paper.  I did not get a lot of chipping on this one, but much like with the black dresser that I shared a week or so ago, the existing finish on this one was quite dried out so I didn’t expect a lot of chipping.   So once again I created my own distressing by sanding down the edges of the piece.

I vacuumed away the dust and then topped it all off with Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

I’m really loving this product for use over dark shades of milk paint in particular.  It totally brings out the depth of color.  You can apply it with a rag, or use a waxing brush which is what I did here.  Simply apply with the brush, then wipe away any excess with a clean, lint free rag (the lint free is especially important over darker colors like this one).  After 12 hours you can buff the surface to create additional shine, but as we all know, I prefer a more flat look so I don’t do much buffing.  By the way, the Butta’ cures in about 7 days.

Today’s q tip:  If you’re using a brush to apply Butta’ over a dark paint color, be sure to scoop out the Butta’ onto a paper plate (or something more environmentally friendly like a pretty vintage china plate that you purchased at a garage sale for a dollar) first to avoid dipping your brush back into your full container of Butta’.  This way you can avoid contaminating your entire supply of Butta’ with dark flecks of paint.  This is especially important with milk paint that is more prone to chipping.

Initially I was planning to use some dark wax over the bare wood top of this dresser, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved the way the natural color of the wood played against the Soldier Blue paint.  So I decided to simply add Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat right over the bare wood.

I wasn’t worried about the imperfections because I love how that adds some history to a piece.  But at the same time, this top is protected for future use with three coats of flat clear coat.

I staged this piece with a painting that I picked up at an estate sale a couple of weeks back.

It’s an original oil painting, but I don’t think it’s valuable.  One of these days maybe I’ll find a lost Rembrandt at a garage sale, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.

I just thought this painting was really pretty.  The colors and subject matter are soothing.  I really disliked that frame though, so I used the Soldier Blue that was leftover from the dresser to paint it.

Now it pairs beautifully with the dresser.

So, what do you think of this makeover?

And if you had to pick, which of the three dressers I’ve shared recently is your favorite?  Is it the team player painted in Typewriter black …

Or the star of the show with its beautiful floral transfer?

Or is it today’s dresser painted in vibrant Soldier Blue?

Leave a comment and let me know which one you liked best.

If any of you locals are in the market for a dresser, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details on this one.  P.S.  the painting is for sale as well.

Thank you to Homestead House for providing the Soldier Blue milk paint, and to Dixie Belle for providing the Big Mama’s Butta’ and the flat clear coat used on this dresser.

56 thoughts on “the soldier blue dresser.

  1. Love all three and the soldier blue is gorgeous. I have to say my personal fave is the team player. Something about the black just speaks to me. So rich and elegant! But I also love the floral. Hmmmm…. Tough choice! Great job on all 3. Bet this one sells fast too!


  2. I love them all but if I had to pick one to be in my house I would say the soldier blue one! Congrats on an amazing job.


  3. Oh my word Linda, every one is so gorgeous!! You style them all so beautifully! Normally I’d pick the black but THAT BLUE is amazing!! So rich! That’s my fave🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻


  4. Love the blue dresser! You mentioned removing contact paper lining the drawers. What do you use to remove the “goo” residue left once the contact paper is removed or do you just line the drawers with prettier paper and call it a day!


    1. There wasn’t a lot of goo on these because the paper was pretty dried out, but I cleaned the bottoms of the drawers with J.R. Watkins All Purpose Cleaner in the Lavender scent this time around.


  5. Love it!! I think the blue is my choice with black a very close second. The style of the blue dresser is lovely-I have never seen one like it in my neck of the woods.


    1. No? Typically this style of dresser has a carved wooden drawer pull, either in the shape of a grape cluster or maybe acorns. It totally changes up the look to have knobs instead (in a good way, in my opinion). They seem to be somewhat common around here though.


  6. You are so amazing! I love everything you paint! The floral dresser is my favorite but it may be hard to use in a space. The blue turned out so pretty. I am not a blue person, but that dresser could persuade me to change. ☺️


    1. Finally! A vote for the floral! You really do have to have just the right spot for one of those. The customer who purchased it is putting it in the bedroom she keeps at her house for her granddaughter. She says she gets invited to a few tea parties in that room. I can’t think of a better spot for it, can you?


  7. They’re all pretty, but I pick the soldier blue. It’s a perfect color for that style dresser. It’s beautiful! 🙂


  8. I love all 3 and would’ve found a place for any of them in my home if I lived near you. I’m surprised to say that looking at all 3 next to each other, the black is the one my eye keeps returning to. Surprised because blue is my jam and the flowers made me coo (for real because, gorgeous), but the black is so stately and elegant and just calls to me today. All 3 are fabulous. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks so much Margeurite! Maybe the buttery smooth finish that I got by wet sanding with the hemp oil is what’s drawing you in to that black one 🙂


  9. I love the lines on the blue one so I’d have to vote for that one. Love them all, but really love that style~ BTW – what is the best lint free rag you have found??? I have a hard time with those and like you said, it’s really hard on dark colors. I’ve been trying microfiber cloths, but those really aren’t the best either. Frustrating!!


    1. The best ling free rag for dark colors? Old black t-shirts. I seem to have a penchant for black t-shirts, and when they start to get faded, I put them in the paint rag pile and replace them with new ones.


  10. I too love all three. But my favorite is the handsome classic black. Wish I could be sure if I painted a black piece it would turn out so well. 😊 I look forward to your posting. Brightens my day. Thanks


    1. I think you could do it! Especially with milk paint or chalk paint. Two tips; either stick with the Big Mama’s Butta or hemp oil as your finish, or if you want to use a water based poly, then tint it with a little bit of black chalk paint to avoid streaky-ness. But truly, I think the Butta/Hemp Oil route is the most fool proof.


      1. Thank you very much for the tips. Appreciate it! I’ve always been cautious
        about painting dark colors , afraid they won’t turn out great. And yet I love a black piece in any room!


  11. Soldier Blue is my favorite!! The other two are fabulous but I’m a blue person from way back. And thanks for reminding people how wonderful milk paint is. If I had my druthers I’d paint with that for all my pieces. But sometimes it’s not the best choice. And the patina on the top is glorious!


    1. Milk paint was my first true love for painting furniture. But it can be temperamental and sometimes you just want something more foolproof and that’s where chalk paint comes in. But I do love the look of milk paint when it turns out like this piece!


  12. I love the way that this dresser came out! The blue is a perfect color and the top is fabulous! I wish that I lived closer!! I definitely would snatch this one up in a heartbeat for our new home in Florida! As far as which one is my favorite, I would have to say it is a toss up between the blue and the black one. The black one for my Washington house and the blue one for the Florida house 😂 I love the way that the milk painted dressers look. They all are just beautiful! 😊


  13. I love seeing your successes with milk paint Miss Quandie! They are always impressive no matter the result…….well, the blue is a very pretty color and would be cute in a little boy’s room…..but I DO just LOVE the finish on the black chest! I’m the old broken record here! 😀


    1. Excellent choice Ellen (I laugh when I write that because Mr Q and I once had a waiter on a cruise ship that said “excellent choice” each time someone ordered, no matter what they ordered, so now it’s kind of our inside joke).


  14. What a pretty blue! I think the dresser turned out beautifully however, for me, my favorites are the black and the floral.🙂
    I completely know what you mean about using your sander, mine doesn’t catch the dust either…LOL


    1. I just can’t justify spending the money on one of those fancy systems that hook up to a vacuum and whisk away the dust. Maybe if I did this as a full time gig, but for a hobby … nope, just can’t do it.


  15. It has to be a tie between the floral and the soldier blue. I thought the floral dresser was outstanding. My favorite color is blue. You did a great job. Take care .


  16. This piece just couldn’t have turned out better. Perfect color, finish, the change of knobs is so perfect for this and the wood tone top just gorgeous. I absolutely love it! Choosing between all three when each is equally fabulous is a tough decision. Just because I’m partial to black and I love the lines of that piece I’m going with it. However the blue one is a total stunner too. And though I tend to be a less is more gal the floral piece in a little girl’s room would be enchanting.


  17. Beautiful makeover. It is hard to choose my favorite but Rose Celebration is my all time favorite transfer and we’ll, I’m a sucker for antique painted in black milk paint.


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