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This dresser has been an adventure from the start. I originally found it on Facebook Marketplace and loved the clean lines and spartan vibe of the frame. When I started this project, I thought I had a clear plan that would take just a couple days to finish. Well, I was so wrong!! This little dress became my obsession for a full week and I refused to give up. The end result makes me super proud, but when people ask how I did it, there isn't a clear cut answer!!
The adventure begins
Before: stain looked more red in person than it does in the photo
I thought that maybe using a stain would help add color back into the grey areas and then I thought I could just add additional coats to the lighter, pine sections to even it out. Welp, that did not work!! I tried 3 different stains and everything just got darker with some brown undertones and it was worse than when I first started!!!
So what now? Another trip to the hardware store and I found a solid stain by Minwax that I thought would be the ticket. I got their tintable solid stain in pickled oak - it was very close to the color I thought raw would is. After 2 coats, it looked great and I thought I was done!! But then I brought a drawer into the house and set it on the floor. Sadly, the drawer was a lot lighter than all the other wood in my house and very white by comparison. I love white, don’t get me wrong, but if I wanted this to be white, I would have just painted it!! Back to the hardware store, and I returned to give it one last coat of a solid stain in a more orange tone - it was the color Neutral Beige, which was not beige at all when mixed up! I watered this down so it was about half water half stain, then brushed it across the piece and wiped the stain off almost as quickly as I applied it. I worked in sections, making sure not to let the stain stay on too long or it would become too orange.
The warm tone that came out was great! A bit grey, a bit yellow, and a bit orange (in other words, it was a light brown, but I am a color fanatic and always looking at undertones). But now that I had added so much solid stain, the grain was a bit lost and there wasn’t much depth to the finish. Another trip to the store and I came home with a clear mixing glaze and some super dark brown paint to tint it with. I applied the tinted glaze over the fully dried stain and rubbed it into the grain, then off the piece super quickly before it had a chance to dry at all. This worked perfectly!! The dark brown worked its way into all the grain lines, as well as the cute rustic lines that were carved into the drawers and frame, bringing all that nice detail back out. Then I sealed the whole thing up with a coat of Minwax Polycrylic for protection and it was done! The poly also had the added bonus of killing the intense smell that the wood had, which I think was incense but John said smelled like pipe tobacco. The knobs were something I picked up at Hobby Lobby when I went on a pumpkin hunt the previous weekend and voila!
TOP: After a very quick application and wipe off of dark brown tinted glaze. You can see how it filled in the grain and darkened the overall color.
BOTTOM: Before adding the tinted glaze.