Pewter Herringbone Dresser Tutorial

Friday, November 29, 2013 -

This is my favorite piece I made for the doomed boutique last weekend. Here's what it looked like before.

Anyone who refinishes furniture probably has come across a little dresser just like this at some point. Beautiful, solid wood, but a bit on the orange side and screaming 1980's French reproduction. I decided to try some metallic paint.

I've seen some amazing furniture make-overs using Modern Masters metallic paints, but haven't been able to find any locally. Its still on my "must try" list. In the meantime, I found a pretty pewter color from Martha Stewart at Home Depot.

The first step was to sand down the drawer faces.

 Once all the old finish and stain was gone, I wiped on one coat of Antique Walnut stain by Minwax. After it was completely dry, using a measuring tape, I found the center and ran a strip of painter's tape horizontally.

I dealt with the top half first.

Next, was time to bust out the speed square. If you don't have one, get one. They are SUPER cheap (like $1 at Harbor Freight) and are pretty much essential if you want to build anything square. I talk about it here.

I wanted my diagonal lines to be at a 45 degree angle, so the speed square made things really easy. I just started at where the drawer edge and the tape intersected, lined up my square and drew a line with pencil. 

The next step was to slide the square down so the inside of the bar lined up with my pencil mark and draw another line. I repeated the process of ascribing the inside and outside of the bar, sliding all the way down the drawer face.

When I was done, it looked like this.

Time for more tape. I simply filled in every-other section with tape, and made sure to tape around the outside edges. For clean tape lines, make sure to really press the tape down and maybe even use a scraper to rub the edges.

I brushed on 2 coats of  paint and immediately pulled off the tape. Once I had allowed it to dry for several hours (depending on the paint, you may need to wait overnight), I repeated the process with the square and pencil lines to the other half of the drawer face.

I then filled in the opposing sections with tape. This took a little concentration and peeking under to tape to make sure I was covering the right section. I painted another 2 coats of paint, pulled off the tape, and allowed it to dry thoroughly.

Several hours later, I taped of the front of the drawer face, and brushed 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint around the outside edge.

The body of the dresser got 1 coat of primer and 3 coats of paint, brushed on. I then sealed everything in 3 coats of semi-gloss PolyAcrylic by Minwax.

I added some glass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, and here is the final result.

I wanted simple hardware that wouldn't distract from the herringbone pattern. I like the bit of sparkle the glass brings. In real life, the wood is a much cooler, almost grey brown. 

I was really happy with the way the metallic paint applied. It seemed to self-level and hide brush strokes.

So what do you think? I'd say it's a pretty big improvement for this little, ho-hum dresser.

I felt pretty confident taking this to the boutique, but unfortunately, it was one of the pieces damaged by my collapsing tent during the rain, so it didn't sell.

 Its not too bad, just a couple of chips on the top. I'll be able to fill them in and paint over it without too much difficulty. I had the thought of putting it in my boys' room, but then I decided it was WAY too special to me to have it destroyed. So, once its fixed up I'll list it on craigslist.

Have you ever fixed up something that's too nice for your own house? haha

Linking at:

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  1. Oh...the doomed boutique...I still feel so bad about that! I love this dresser though. It is way awesome. :)


  2. Ohhh I love it! The wood grain and metallic paint look so awesome! I hope it sells when you fix it up again! It is so pretty, and yeah things get destroyed in my house quickly....boys!!

  3. I love this makeover! The stain with the pewter paint looks so cool! You did a wonderful job.

  4. This is just incredible. One of the most creative pieces I've seen.

  5. This looks like a lot of work but it looks great! I love the color and the herringbone pattern. I found you on the Keeping it Simple link party. I'd love to have you join mine!

  6. Absolutely LOVE it! Turned out gorgeous. Thanks for the tutorial !

  7. This rocks!!!! And great tutorial! Thanks for sharing again on DIY Sunday Showcase.


  8. This pewter dresser with the herringbone pattern is stunning. My heart sank as I read your post on the doomed marketplace. I hope you will be able to recover some of the damage.

  9. Very cool & chic makeover! Love the pattern and combination of wood with painted wood!

  10. First time to your blog -- over from MMS. I'm a sucker for Herringbone so HAD to come look and glad I did. It's a wonderful piece.

  11. This is AMAZING! Already pinned it. Visiting from the Remodelaholic link party.

    - Tasha @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body (

  12. This is an absolutely great redo! So creative!

  13. Just wanted you to know, I loved this so much it's been featured on this week's DIY'ers!

  14. I love everything about this. I am not usually a trendy girl but this I LOVE! Pinned already.

  15. This turned out so beautiful, Elisha! Also loving that gold elephant :).

  16. That dresser is awesome! I'm featuring it in this week's PoPP Spotlight.

  17. Featured and pinned! Thanks for the inspiration! Linda


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