How to Chalk Paint a Dresser [Easy Guide]


It’s been more than ten years since we bought a dresser for our children’s room. I needed a lot of space for their things at the time, and the truth is, the need for additional storage grows exponentially with their growth. 

My husband and I were discussing inserting an old dresser we have in the attic additionally, but the thing was that it didn’t match the rest of the room décor.

That’s when it hit me! How to paint a dresser? Why simply don’t chalk paint a dresser?! Let’s dive right into a detailed guide on how to chalk paint a dresser.

How to Chalk Paint a Dresser

Being able to reuse what we already have in our house and make it look better is one of the main reasons I’ve fallen in love with DIY projects.  To be honest, I am proud of the progress I made over the years, as well as the number of things I made and repurposed.

For those who are committed to reusing, and making things look better, paint a dresser!

This guide is a perfect opportunity to read how an old dresser from the attic became a valuable addition to our youngsters’ room. 

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Why Chalk Paint a Dresser?

chalk painting a dresser

As I mentioned before, giving life to the old things, or things you didn’t use enough is one of the main advantages of DIY projects. Also, it is no secret that storage spaces are needed in every house and that you can never, ever, have enough storage space.

Dressers are big pieces of furniture, and they are often not that cheap. Also, even if you find the one it fits your budget, the probability of matching the rest of the décor is not usually high.

I can give you several reasons to chalk paint a dresser: 

First of all, it’s the best way to paint a dresser. It doesn’t require you to be a professional painter.

Secondly, it is a great way to have quick results and a cheap way to match the rest of the furniture in the room.

Thirdly – once you realize the power of chalk paint, the word ‘’old and non-usable’’ will be long gone. Moreover, with chalk paint, you don’t need a bunch of prepping steps.

There are so many chalk paint ideas for dressers you can use, and so many options to choose from! 

What to know before getting started!

chalk painted dresser,
ideas to paint a dresser

A chalk paint dresser is a solid first step to entering the magical DIY world. Still, there are a few things to consider before starting.

One of the things you should note before having a chalk-painted dresser is that you chose the proper paint first. As you can already imagine, there are a variety of brands and colors, and all of them have their cons and their pros. 

Personally, whether I paint a dresser or do a makeover for some other pieces, I always work with the paint that is designed for furniture. Yes, it has its limits when it comes to the color pallet, but the main advantage is that it adheres way better. 

Also, you should be aware that for some pieces (like this step-by-step process I am about to write about), you need to consider if the dresser topper is different in color than the rest of the dresser. 

Depending on the style you like and the size of the furniture, it is also good to plan the amount of paint you need in advance, as well as some other tools and materials. 

The Internet has a solution for everything these days! I found many comments about the prices of the chalk paint and how some brands that offer great colors are often expensive.

You see, one of the main reasons why DIY projects are amazing is that you can be flexible enough to fit the budget you have at your disposal. So, I started googling for ways to make my own chalk paint, and there is a great calcium carbonate chalk paint recipe you can use! 

Tools Required

I’d like to point out that the tools and materials you need for chalk painting the dresser vary from the size, the model, and the style you want to use. For this particular chalk painted dresser, the tools you need are:

Materials needed for Chalk Painting a Dresser

Materials needed for Chalk Painting a Dresser

Another note here is that, if you want to add details to your dresser, there are many interesting prints, layer-shaped tools, and other amazing materials you can use. So many chalk paint dresser ideas exist, and you can be as creative as you want.

As for this particular project, I went with the blue chalk paint and the natural dresser top color, so it could match the rest of the décor we already had in the room.

Instructions: How to Chalk Paint a Dresser

how to paint a dresser white,
chalk paint dresser ideas

Step 1 – Removing the finish

So, the first thing I did was to remove the finish from the dresser. This is the step you won’t always need, but since the dresser, I was remaking was old and needed as much attention as it could get, this is how it went. 

What I did is that I used the paint and varnish stripping gel first. I am not really a fan of heavy chemicals, so I usually use this citrus-based one. 

In most cases, it works perfectly. Removing the finish takes some time, depending on the size of the dresser, and although it’s not a dangerous chemical, I warmly recommend having on the work gloves from the beginning until the end of the process. 

Step 2 – Sanding where needed

This also isn’t something that you are expected to do to chalk paint a dresser. To be honest, whether you will sand the wood or not is up to you. 

However, I had to sand some parts, especially the top of the dresser, so I could remove the rest of the stain, and obviously, to get a better texture later on. One thing I’d add here is that, if possible, you do the sanding part outside of the house. It’s easier to clean up the room later. 

Step 3 – Coating the top

Since I wanted to get a nice and warm natural look for the top of the dresser, I applied three coats of the pre-stained wood conditioner. 

The idea at first was to use the weathered oak color, but as I read up somewhere that it won’t make much difference to this particular shade since it is really light, the grey version did a great job instead! 

Make sure to give it time to dry before continuing. Two or three days is probably the best. 

To get the shiny look of the dressers’ top, I used the water-based topcoat. It gives the perfect finishing touch!

Step 4 – Protecting the hardware

Now, onto the hardware! There are several ways to treat hardware at this point, and it really depends on what you want to do with it. 

For example, a friend of mine decided to replace all of the knobs when painting her dresser, so she simply removed the hardware before she started painting. In my case, I wanted to keep it. 

What I did was, I used the painter’s tape and covered all of the hardware with it. It was a bit tricky not to go too much around the knobs, and it took me a bit of time, but it was worth it later. 

The paint was where it should be – around the hardware, not on it. 

Step 5 – Chalk paint the rest

The most fun part of this project was actually painting dresser DIY (the rest of the dresser). 

Do you know why I love it? It’s because you don’t have to worry that you didn’t pull the brush properly, or that something wants to be perfectly in sync. 

That is the beauty of it! It looks great however you decide to use the paint and the brush! 

As I already said, I used the blue chalk paint, and it was so stunning once the dresser was finished. It was as if we had just brought it from the store. 

The kids loved it too. 

Finishing Instructions 

paint dresser diy,
how to chalk paint a dresser

Tip Nr.1 Mix it up a bit!

There are more fun ways to refresh your old dresser! If you are an artistic soul, you can use small-scale paintbrushes and add floral motives of different colors, decorative lines, and so on. 

It is one of the advantages of learning how to paint a dresser with chalk paint, after all.  I am not much of an artist. But if you are, let your imagination do its thing. 

Tip Nr.2 Prep steps only when needed

In many cases, you won’t need to do much besides just painting the dresser, and that is one of the great things about this way of repurposing. 

You need to pay attention to how to paint a dresser without sanding. But also learn to see when the sanding is needed.

However, when you want to reuse really old furniture, you may have to deal with more than just painting. For example, there might be cracks in the wood, so you’d have to use some wood filler. 

Be ready to evaluate the situation before you start doing anything.

Tip Nr.3 Go full DIY

This is one of my favorites! There are so many amazing DIY projects. You can DIY changing table topper, DIY dresser drawers, you can learn how to remove dresser drawers, or you can make a farmhouse dresser DIY project

There is a sea of possibilities! The one common thing for them is that they all need painting! 

This is where you can fully develop your DIY spirit. In these cases, you have to nurture your senses of what type of prep steps you need, what kind of style fits each of the options, what colors would suit them.. and so much more! 

Tip Nr.4 Different colors and different vibes

So many ideas to paint a dresser- this is a sentence you could read many times through this guide. 

But it is really true. I can’t wait to do a white chalk paint dresser, as I was looking up on how to paint a dresser white. 

It is also good to know how to paint a wood dresser, or how to paint an old dresser, etc. It would be entertaining to see where to fit a grey chalk paint dresser or black chalk paint dresser.

Final thoughts

Don’t throw it away, even if it’s old – chalk paints a dresser, and give it life again! This would be something like a poetic message here. 

The thing is, the main reason why I looked up chalk painting dresser ideas was its practicality. But it was also a way to express creativity. 

Painting dressers with chalk paint is fun and purposeful. Learning how to chalk paint a dresser is easy, and it gives you opportunities to grow. 

DIY paint dresser is the perfect way for a beginner to fall in love with the DIY projects and keep doing them!

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