Laminate Dresser Makeover {with Homemade Chalk Paint}


This was my first furniture painting project and people, I am just over.the.moon with how it turned out.

The color.  The finish.  The fact that it no longer boasts an ugly, faux oak skin.


I figured seeing I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, I’d experiment on the old Sauder dresser I had purchased and assembled when I was 18 {that makes it 14 years old, if you’re doing the math}.  At least if I bombed this thing, it wouldn’t be a heart-breaker.

Who knew I could fall head over heels in love with the thing because of a simple splash of color!?

Dresser 3

There are SO many incredible DIY blogs out there {many with projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest}, specifically focused on refinishing and painting furniture, that will answer all your questions and guide you through the process, so I’ll just share the basics of what I did.  While I perused many blogs, my go-to during the research, product purchasing and painting of this project was Live Love DIY.

Here’s a list of everything I used:

*Because you can’t sand laminate, it’s really important that you use a really good primer before you paint.

I price checked many of the items above and was surprised to find that Menards carried them for even less than Walmart (at least the prices that were listed online), so be sure to check around.

Dresser Makeover

1.  Once your painting area is prepped and your furniture is clean (and sticky-spot free), you can PRIME.  I first applied the primer with a paint brush, and then went over it with the foam roller to create a thin, even finish.  While you’ll notice that the layer of paint/primer is much thinner than with a bush alone, this technique will pay off in the end when your final piece is smooth and beautifully even.  Allow an hour or two to dry (read the instructions on the primer).

2.  Once your primer is dry, you can apply your PAINT in the same way : brush on, foam roller over.  My paint said to allow 4 hours between coats, and while my impatience raged, I didn’t want to risk applying a second coat over a layer that hadn’t fully cured.  I applied 3 thin layers of paint all over, and a 4th on just the top of the dresser.  I painted these over the course of two days to ensure each layer had fully cured before adding another.  Don’t scrimp on this dry time.

** If you would like to try your hand at making and using CHALK PAINT, here’s a great post with all the different recipe options (everything from cornstarch, baking soda and calcium carbonate to unsanded grout and plaster of paris)  – I decided to go the Plaster of Paris route.  Chalk paint seems to be super popular on DIY blogs lately due to its creamy consistency, great coverage, chalky finish and the fact that it often removes the need for primer (but not when painting laminate).

Chalk Paint: Simply combine 5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris with 2 tablespoons of water, mixing well, then stir into 2 cups of paint.  I found that by mixing the Plaster of Paris with the water first, it made the paint less gritty later.

3. When your paint is fully dry, you’re ready to seal.  You could use Polycrylic {which would fully seal and protect your piece), but I didn’t want to have a clear coat of anything even semi-shiny over my paint – I simply wanted a chalky, matte finish, so I went with FURNITURE WAX.  I purchased a can of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, but decided to use my sweet neighbor’s can of Johnson Paste Wax instead, due to the subtle orange hue the Minwax brand leaves.  This simply gets rubbed on in sections, and then buffed off once dry.  I’m sure it’s more complicated than that…but in short, it’s wax on, wax off.  This creates a beautiful hard seal on your furniture without it looking like you bathed it in a coat of shiny, clear varnish (not bad, just not what I was going for).

Dresser 2

4. You can now reattach your HARDWARE.  There are some super cute options out there if you plan to purchase new, or update your old with a good quality spray paint (ORB – Oil Rubbed Bronze – by Rustoleum is a great option).  Mine just needed a good clean (this dresser was one of the many items that got slightly damaged in our leaky storage unit 4 years ago, so the drawer-pulls had gotten a little tarnished/rusty).

And that’s it, ya’ll!

Boring and blah…to beautiful and blue!


Again, you’ll find more specific details on how to paint laminate furniture right here.

And so our bedroom makeover forges on…we have yet to build our headboard (we’ve built the base and still need to stain it), I’ll be wrapping up my wall art project this afternoon, and then I just need to sew those shower curtains I turned into curtains and remove the pins that are currently holding them up – my hubby has pricked his fingers a few times while closing the curtains at 4:00am before dragging himself into bed.  Procrastinator, what?

P.S.  See that conch shell up there on our dresser?  We fished it out of the Atlantic ocean a few years ago while playing on the beach with precious friends in Martha’s Vineyard.  We pried the conch muscle out with a knife (and fork and jackhammer), fried it up and gagged it down (just to say we did – it was disgusting!), then washed and washed and bleached and soaked, and once again washed the heck out of the slimy, green shell.  It stunk to high heaven, but I was determined to uncover its beauty.

It now sits on our dresser as a reminder that even the ugliest, stinkiest, full of funky junk thing can be made beautiful with enough time, determination and TLC.

It sort of reminds me of me {wink}.