Vanity Dresser Upcycle Project (How to Distress Paint with Only a Hairdryer)


A few months ago when we moved into our new home, I picked up a beast of a dresser from a second hand site. It was beautiful and had some age to it but the wood was dark and heavy and it just looked dreary. It had a stunning scalloped mirror that was fixed to the back, and to be honest, at that time it was easily is best feature.

When I came home from work one evening to find the mirror had broken free of its supports, splintering them as they fell and taking some impressive chunks out of my wooden bay window sills, I wasn’t impressed. The only redeeming feature was gone and as a hopeless DIYer I knew it was beyond repair.

Project Upcycle commenced! I had quite a few baskets about the house and the bottom drawer was so impressive that I had other plans for it (to be continued in another blog) so I decided to remove it all together and create a shelf in the alcove remaining by fitting a sheet of Ply into the void.

I then sanded the whole thing down. Unfortunately I don’t own a sander so I did the painstakingly boring task of it all by hand….after this I gave it a good clean with some vinegar soaked rags. The old wood smelt bad and there was years of dirt built up.

After the sanding I gave it a prime. I used an ordinary own brand for interior wood but chose it in grey.

Next came the painting. Again, I’m on a budget and while Annie Sloan etc are all lovely I find cheaper brands often pretty much just as good for a fraction of the price. I used a lovely gloss finish duckshell blue and covered the whole thing.

After leaving to dry overnight (made the mistake of painting in situ in my bedroom then sleeping through the fumes!) I applied a white gloss to specific edges. As it dries, a trick of mine is to blow a hot hair dryer over it. This will make the top layer crack to reveal the colour below-distressed look with none of that fuss! Once you’ve achieved the cracking you want just leave to dry.

To finish the look I put some baskets in the shelf and there we have it! I plan to replace all the handles at some point and would love to reattach the mirror too!

Excuse the rubbish before photo, its the only one I had!



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