That’s one snazzy title, right? Well, it’s just that epic! This French Country Dresser makeover will give jaw-dropping results. Want to do something similar? Yeah, well be prepared for words like; gorgeous, beautiful, amazing and unbelievable…because that’s what you’ll hear!
Let’s get started then…
I’m a hand-me-down lover — of furniture that is. Anything old I’ll gladly take it off your hands and repurpose or create into something new. These beauties were handed down to me from my Grandparents after they passed away. They came all the way from Ohio, made a stop in Colorado for a few years till my parents moved here to Idaho and kindly delivered them. They’ve been sitting in my bedroom untouched for the last two years until I could come to a decision on how I wanted to make them over. And let me tell you, the wait was worth it!
I think what drew me to the pieces were the detailed designs.
Let’s just say they had curves in all the right places.
And those bun feet? Love!
Character all the way around that was screaming to be seen.
I did something unusual this time around, I asked my husband what color he’d like to see them since we’d be using them in our master bedroom. Now I didn’t just give him free reign here, I gave him a selection of pictures from Pinterest on dresser makeovers and we came to agreement on an Annie Sloan color named Napoleonic Blue. Typically I make my own chalk paint, why? Because it’s a lot less expensive and I can custom-create a color I really like with little effort. But this time around? I liked the color, knew I’d have a hard time matching it up, and just went for it.
Overall the dressers were in fairly good shape, just a few water rings, scratches and a little chip missing on the bottom of the smaller chest of drawers. A little wood putty went a long way to filling in those gaps. And before all you antique lovers go crazy on me and tell me I ruined such a beautiful set…they’re not antiques. They were made with quality, but I checked and doubled checked to make sure before I took on a project like this, so rest assured they’re not antiques.
A little water stain here…
A few discoloration spots there…
A little wood putty to fill in those scratches…
And some Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue to make everything pretty.
That first pass with the chalk paint went on a bit thin.
But by the second coat everything was looking great. And the best part? No sanding involved!
It’s a bit bright, right? Well don’t worry, it’ll all change up by the end. The first thing I did was apply a clear wax.
A little wax on, a little wax off…seriously. You rub some on to ensure coverage and then you wipe it off. Easy peasy. After I applied the wax I went in search of a french styled graphic to add the perfect touch. The Graphic’s Fairy is one of my favorite places to find french themed transfers, you seriously need to go and look at Karen’s page, it’s amazing! Visit her printable transfers page here: The Graphics Fairy . On her site she offers various ways to help you transfer your graphic to your furniture, small project, and or fabric, all of which are amazing, but this time around I did it differently than most might think of. I used my Cameo Silhouette to create a stencil. Why? Because after painting, waxing and various other tasks that put wear and tear on my arms I wanted to simplify it for myself. And I did!
Karen offers her printable as PDF files, which I then converted to a PNG file and opened it up in my Silhouette Studio. From there I used the trace function and wahlaa! I got myself a simple super easy stencil that can be reduced or enlarged to fit my projects need!
One note, I didn’t figure this out on my own. I researched online and found most of them to be really complicated and almost gave up until I found this lovely little website, Maya Road Classic Card Kits. She goes into details on how to convert the PNG file in your Silhouette Studio using the trace function. You can see it here: Using PNG Files for your Silhouette.
After removing the lettering to create the stencil, I used contact paper as my transfer method. You don’t want to try and apply this vinyl stencil without it, it’s too flimsy.
I then smoothed it out to remove any air bubbles. Now don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect as you’re just using it as a transfer method to get it on the project.
Your next step is to remove the vinyl backing. Peel it away slowly, seriously, because there are small letters involved and you could accidently remove the inside of an R or E if you’re not too careful.
Nice and sticky and ready to be applied to your project.
Be sure to choose your location of the stencil before hand and make sure you’ve measured to ensure it’s centered. Nothing looks worse than going through all this hard work to find out that your graphic is crooked. Kinda ruins the moment.
Once you’ve applied your stencil, use your spreader to push out the air bubbles and try and get the smoothest finish you can. Don’t worry if you can’t seem to get rid of them all, you can use your fingers later.
Now carefully peel away the contact paper.
And when I say carefully, this is why. Sometimes those interior parts of the outlined letter like to stick to the adhesive. If this happens just gently press it back into place and rub it with your finger or spreader and try peeling it back again. Sometimes it takes a few times to get it loose, but it’s okay, you’ll get it.
Next be sure to smooth out any air bubles with your fingers. You want to gently press them out so you don’t rip the vinyl and have your paint leak through underneath.
I then chose to grab some acrylic black paint and my handy dandy sponge dabber to fill in those letters on the stencil.
Be sure to not add too much paint onto the dabber, unless of course you want a dark finish on the project. I wanted something that looked time worn, so I used it lightly to fill in the stencil.
Once you’ve filled it all in…LET IT DRY! Yup, don’t try and peel it off now, you’ll just spread all that wet paint around and ruin your lovely piece.
After the paint has dried, peel away the vinyl to expose your graphic.
I started with a corner and worked my way down. And FYI, it doesn’t all come off in one piece.
A little tug here and there…
And then some detailed work on peeling it back from all those smaller spaces.
But in the end this is what you’re left with!
But you’re not finished yet… Here comes the really fun part! This is when you apply the dark wax and give it that aged, well worn appearance that its been sitting in a French countryside villa just waiting for you to take it home!
Again…wax on, wax off!
I know it looks a little messy, and it is, but oh so worth it in the end.
Here is is with the dark wax rubbed into all those lovely details of the dresser.
And if it got too dark? Just use a little clear wax to tone it down a bit.
Just right for me…and please excuse the messy basket to the side. Those baskets held all my drawers contents while it was being reworked. lol
Pretty snazzy, huh?
And that wood on top? It never looked better with a little sanding and gel stain!
Look at those bun feet!
And all the detailed woodwork just popping now!
And the long short dresser? It wasn’t forgotten either!
Now off you go to create your own masterpiece! And keep watch here for my master bedroom makeover! You won’t want to miss that one!