I found this antique bow front dresser two years ago during a trip to one of my favorite places ~ Traverse City, Michigan.
I usually bi-pass pieces that need a lot of work and this one was definitely in need of some TLC, but I knew there was a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
I hauled it home then stashed it in our workshop for years. Each time I thought about working on it, I dreaded removing the damaged veneer so I’d push it aside and move on to another piece. I had it so long that I actually tried listing it for $45. Apparently nobody else wanted to make the repairs either so I decided to dig in and salvage it. I had just returned to work after my surgery to remove Chondrosarcoma and I was on a mission for new beginnings!
Don’t fight the Character, Embrace it!
Typically it would drive me bonkers not to fix all the missing pieces of missing veneer as seen in the above photo. The problem is, in this business, painters never recap the time and money lost by spending a week making repairs just to get a piece ready for painting.
For this classic bow front, I decided to just go with it. I pulled off the loose veneer on the sides of the dresser, but wasn’t able to remove the everything which left lengthy random strips of jagged edges. With pure determination, I proceeded to trudge forward.
I dug out a roll of textured wallpaper and started my transformation. I purchased mine from Menards here in West Michigan but I’m sure you can get it at any big box hardware store or wallpaper store.
I sanded down the sides of the dresser to smooth out the ragged edges where the veneer was pulled back. I did this for two reasons. I wanted the surface to be as flat as possible so you couldn’t see where long strips of veneer had been removed and I also didn’t want any sharp points that could eventually wear through the wallpaper. The wallpaper I used is a thick dense foam type textured wallpaper that resembles vintage ceiling tile. It’s white but can be painted with our paints.
I applied textured wall paper to the sides of the dresser in the same manner you would attach it to a wall then added upholstery tacks for extra reinforcement, I probably didn’t need them but they added some cool detail to the design.
Before painting, I applied two coats of Zinsser’s Clear Shellac over the wallpaper to create a barrier. Why did I need a barrier? I was afraid the water from the paint would soak through the wallpaper and loosen the adhesive. Make sense? It looks kind of funky in this picture because of the shellac but it worked like a charm.
I applied several colors of paint blending and pouncing to make it look like vintage ceiling tile then sealed everything with several different layers of paint, glaze, Clear Coat, Dark Wax and several metallic mica powders. All products can be purchased at any of our Shizzle Design West Michigan locations or online here.
It was so adorable in person but these are the only photos I have because it went home with someone before I had a chance to take more.
The metallic mica powders, clear coats, wax and paint supplies used are available here!
A hui hou ~ Shelly