Midcentury Dresser Upcycling Project Part 1

Everything started about two weeks ago, in the moment when I decided that I wanted to buy an old and ugly, damaged, laminate midcentury dresser for £10 in a charity shop because it charmed me with its overlooked potential. I decided that I just simply want to have much more art and creativity in my life and do something that actually makes me happy.

My Midcentury Dresser from a charity shop.

I looked up Chalk Paint, which I had previous experience with and which is known to be one of the best paints for furniture. I was amazed by all the colours that I could find on the Annie Sloan website and also overhelmed by how expensive they are. Since, I have never painted anything by myself, I didn’t want to buy 1 liter of an expensive paint that I would end up hating. So instead I bought the 120 ml version, to try it out and hoped it would be enough for the project. I had a hard time deciding on the colour I wanted to use for my dresser, however in the end I decided to go for “Honfleur”, as it is a shade that reminds me of wood and chocolate.

My Annie Sloan products.

When the dresser got delivered, I started by checking what condition it was in. I found out that someone has actually ripped off the front piece of the laminate during delivery, which has exposed the ugly particle board underneath. There were also pieces of the laminate missing, as well as holes and cracks in some places. Luckily enough, I expected this to be the case and that’s why I bought a wood filler beforehand which helped me to solve this issue.

I filled the cracks in with the wood filler and sanded it afterwards.

Then I sanded the whole dresser and started painting. To my surprise, this was more difficult than I had expected. Some of the parts of the dresser were totally weird and the paint wouldn’t adhere to them properly. It took me several layers and lots of time to actually paint it over in a nice way. This is when I realized that I shouldn’t have bought this type of furniture in the first place. I made a mental promise with myself that from now on I will make sure to only buy furniture with good quality wood and nothing like this. However, I knew that I wanted to make this project successful no matter what and try my best to make it look pretty.

The dresser after I painted it with honfleur.

Due to my problem with the paint not adhering properly, I ran out of it fairly quickly so I didn’t finish the back of the dresser. The colour itself is beautiful and soft and made the dresser look so nice that I was proud of myself for painting it. The only problem I had was that I wanted to make it look more special and unique. So I started making a design for the drawers.

The design.

I wanted to achieve this by using painters tape and the “old white” chalk paint on top of it. It took me about an hour to put the tape in the correct position and after all of it, I was totally exhausted. I made sure to press the tape firmly and not put too much paint to avoid bleeding.

Painters Tape.

The best thing about creating a stencil from painters tape is that it’s way cheaper than actually buying a stencil . It’s easily available, you can just buy it from Amazon or in B&Q and create all kinds of geometrical designs. This goes especially well with midcentury furniture, as it makes the shape really stand out and it’s a great combination.


Everything went well until I removed the tape with great difficulties and found out that the paint was bleeding in several places. The design looks great from faraway, however it still needs some improvements.

The old white is way too bright at this moment and the dresser started reminding me of a zebra. That’s definitely not a good sign. I decided to consult my mum, who has more experience in painting and she suggested that I should wax the white with some dark wax, or alternatively make the pattern in gold. What do you think I should do about this?

Wish me luck,

Alex