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At first I was intimidated by the idea of taking a much-loved then much neglected wooden dresser and trying to turn it into the shabby chic buffet we wanted for our dining room.  Getting the dresser for free really cinched the deal; we had to figure out the secrets to antiquing furniture.  Turns out there are five easy steps to the perfect antiqued look.

1.  Sand off all old paint, shellac, and/or stain.  An orbital sander made quick work of this step and soon our free dresser was down to its bare wood.  One thing my husband and I wished we had done to make the next steps easier was to take out all the drawer dividers and work on everything in separate pieces.  **Remember you want to sand underneath any overhangs, the sides of the drawers, and the inside of the dresser – anywhere you can see during regular use.

2.  Prime & Paint.  We chose a silver metallic primer & paint in one.  These come in spray options but the chances of drips make the regular paintbrush versions much better for this project.  The metallic silver provided a lot of coverage and makes the perfect antique detail later on.  Gray, light blue and even pink are favorites for this coat.

3.  Paint your color.  To match the beach feel of our dining room we chose a semi-matte white paint.  Make sure to completely cover the primer/paint from step 2.

4.  Sand sections down to reveal the primer/paint from step 2.  We used a detail sander, called The Mouse, so it would only take off small areas.  Work in back and forth strokes in sections, moving in the same direction but putting the sander down sporadically.  As you can see from the photo below, we worked horizontally.

5.  Finish with shellac or other sealant.  Again we had the choice of spray on shellac but in order to ensure even coverage the paintbrush variety was the better choice.

Many old dressers come with wooden handles or knobs that would look great painted in a complimentary color.  Our freebie had old and notched handles so we got rid of them completely, used wood putty to cover up the holes, and bought a package of new silver handles on sale.  All in all the perfect project for a weekend and we now love our beat-up dresser as a brand new buffet.

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