Dresser Before and After and Chalk Paint Review

Celebration emoji, dancing girls emoji, celebration emoji!!

I am so relieved to finally have this project complete and I am really satisfied with the way it turned out.  It was an ambitious project being that I'm big and pregnant, it was my first time painting wood furniture, and it was my first attempt using chalk paint.  

Basically I like to make my life ridiculously difficult in the name of design.  This dresser was the equivalent of that ubiquitous pair of heels that scrunch your toes and give you blisters, yet you wear them anyway.  

The dresser began as a sturdy yet out-dated traditional piece with elaborate antiqued brass pulls in Drew's college apartment bedroom.  It originally came from the guest bedroom of his grandmother's house and while tied to her memory, was a not a piece of particular sentimentality.  

Somewhere along the way in college, I got it in my head that modern chrome pulls would update the dresser [don't judge -  design vision has to start somewhere], so I dragged Drew to Home Depot for our very first DIY project together [the first of many].  

Once we were married, this poor lonely dresser with its confused design identity, sat unused in a corner of the guest room in all three of our houses.  

As I began planning Vivi's big girl room, I knew I would be keeping the dresser due to overall costs and its remarkably good construction.  The vision for the project practically poured out of me onto paper and once it did, I was convinced this look was the only way to go.

I am so glad I never veered from my original design.  And I'm so glad Drew and I decided against throwing the dresser off the Bay Bridge into the San Francisco Bay and just stuck out the project, because seriously - this was the project that just would not end.  But it's over now, and Vivi has a rad dresser and I learned quite a bit about chalk painting and painting furniture in general.  

As for a chalk paint review, I have to say, I'm not as obsessed with this product as many bloggers are.  I think for some projects, chalk paint [in our case Annie Sloan] is the perfect way to go.  For others, standard paint is totally suitable.  

Chalk paint is touted as a no-sanding necessary product that is easy to use, but for our project, sanding was a still a must.  The dresser was stained cherry and had a thick shiny varnish.  

When I spoke with the salesman at the store where I purchased the paint, he suggested a light sand.  Any signs of peeling or cracking chalk paint are sign that the paint is not adhering to the piece and more sanding might be necessary.

Some of the instances where I would recommend chalk paint based on my experience

  • if you want the distressed, layered paint look
  • if you are concerned about the odor and/or toxicity of standard latex and oil paints
  • if you have a well-worn or semi-light colored wood piece [meaning just not something crazy dark like cherry]
  • you have a piece that is away from a high-traffic area or is rarely used

pros of using chalk paint for this project

  • the dry time in between coats was super quick
  • the paint went on smoothly [we used a speciality chalk brush] 
  • a small amount of paint goes a long way
  • the dried paint has a velvety finish

problems I encountered during the project 

  • the cherry wood bled through in some areas of the white paint
  • we sanded quite a bit since our piece was very high gloss, but still encountered a few small areas where the paint had trouble adhering
  •  because the paint gets thinned with water, we had issues with dripping
  • the white paint seemed to dry as soon as I brushed it on causing a higher chance of brushstrokes
  • I kept getting tiny bubbles when I laid the white paint down on the surface that I had to sand out before the next coat
  • the wax top coat had many hairs and particles sealed within it no matter how much we cleaned the surrounding area and is already showing wear and tear.

I don't doubt that all the problems listed above could have been remedied had I not been inexperienced in its use and determined to just get the damn thing done.  

In the case of this piece, I wanted a smooth modern finish, but if you are looking to create a distressed look chalk paint is definitely your best option.  

However, I was not impressed with the wax top coat.  The dresser is already showing dark marks that cannot be removed and the little particles that were sealed into it are still driving me crazy.  I would suggest skipping the wax, especially on a high use surface, and opting for a standard polyurethane top coat.  

I am planning on using the leftover paint for future projects, so when I do, I will update you with a new review.  For a full chalk paint tutorial, I suggest this video and this tutorial as well as the Annie Sloan site.  I used all extensively, especially in the beginning when I was learning the basic process.

Have you used chalk paint before?  What were your experiences?  I would love to see photos of your chalk paint projects!  Share them with me through Instagram by tagging @EverydayEnthusiasticMere!

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.