Welcome back to The Dresser Diaries, the story of my first attempt to paint a piece of furniture. Did you forget where we left off? Click here to see Part I.
I laughed. I cried. After my first try at painting some furniture, I enthusiastically gave The Dresser . . . two thumbs way down.
You might recall that after finishing two coats of paint, I applied the clear coat right before sundown. I woke up to find The Dresser covered in a milky coating that could not be further from “clear.” For several weeks I pouted about my DIY failures. But after some self-diagnosing on that trusty-ole internet, I convinced myself that the cold weather was the culprit. So each morning I dug inside makeshift hampers to find clothes while I waited for the spring to come back to Utah.
When the sun came back (and before it went away again) I pumped myself up to start fresh. No respectable DIYer would just walk away from a poorly-painted dresser. There were no Rocky-like jumping jacks on our front steps, but I did crank up my iPod to my housework playlist. (Stay tuned for that hot list to drop later on the blog.) Singing out loud to music no one else could hear, I begrudgingly re-sanded the entire thing.
Ready to start carefully painting again, I needed to shake up my routine and make sure I was getting the best possible outcome. So this time I brushed the drawers instead of using the roller. I was very impressed but didn’t want to take the time to brush the entire dresser. So on the frame of the dresser itself, I used the large roller. (I’d previously used the small roller.)
The large roller used so much more paint than the little roller but the finish turned out a lot better. I was actually starting to admire the way it looked!
Is that clear? Crystal.
I poured the clear coat into the paint pan, scowling at it. But I wanted to keep the dresser protected from nicks and scratches so there was no way out of this step. I used the paint roller to apply the polyurethane on the first dresser drawer. And it just didn’t feel right. I could tell right away that the paint was going to be milky again. I could just tell. Panicking, I tried the paintbrush on the remaining four drawers.
After all was said and done, the four drawers that were brushed looked perfect! The drawer that I rolled dried milky.
*light bulb* I was wrong – the weather didn’t cause the milky coat – the roller did. Professing my never-ending love to my paint brush, I victoriously screwed in new handles that I purchased at Home Depot for under $20 total and voila!
Okay, okay. Maybe “voila!” isn’t quite appropriate. But four out of five ain’t bad!
The asparagus color is a great match to my muse fabric, below. That awesome fabric is part of my desk decor and coordinates perfectly with a DIY lampshade that I’ll reveal soon.
As far as this refinished dresser goes, it started out rough, but Siskel and Ebert would have given its ending rave reviews.
Tasha’s Top 3 Tips for Amateur Painters
- If you can avoid it, don’t paint outside. I’m not promoting huffing paint, but if you have an open indoor space you should consider it. You can sacrifice sunshine for a finish that is free of bugs and leaves. I can attest that the slightest breeze wreaks havoc on wet paint. Most paints are safe for indoor use and you’ll achieve far better results.
- Use a large roller brush for large spaces. I know, right? You’d think I could have figured that one out without this entire debacle. But I learned that the large brushes use more paint but roll on a more consistent coat. But remember: Don’t use a roller made of foam. (Thanks YHL!)
- Use a paintbrush for small spaces and for clear coats. If you bought that clear coat because you wanted it to be, ahem, clear, you must ditch that roller. I have no scientific explanation for the “roller+clear coat = milky” theory – other than the grooves in the roller catch and release inconsistent amounts of clear paint.
I hope I can help you prevent any nasty mistakes and encourage you to give it painting a try. I had so much fun that I’m already painting another piece of furniture now! Stay tuned for the fun purpose of this next project . . .
Anyone else prefer a paintbrush to a roller? Do you have pictures of your painting successes? I’d love some inspiration!