This set was very ugly when I bought it! I mean so so outdated, very 1970's style. When I first saw it I had a vision right away of what it could look like restyled. Sometimes I can know right away what I could do to a piece, other times it takes me a couple weeks to figure out what I am going to do. This set had a long dresser, 2 nightstands and a headboard.
First I had to apply shellac to everything. This kind of furniture has an almost plastic feel to it. It is like a shiny laminate - very slippery. You need to either sand everything down or put a couple coats of shellac on. Anything that is laminate, looks like it has 10 layers of lacquer, is plastic like, you need to shellac or sand so the paint has something to grip.
After applying 2 coats of shellac (clear version and I just use a cheap brush that I can throw away afterwards so I don't have to get out the strong cleaning chemicals), and letting that totally dry, I started painting with Annie Sloan Old White. It is a soft creamy white. All the raised areas got painted with Modern Masters metallic paint in copper. One of my favorites of their paints. I had to put on a few coats of the Old White and I think 2 coats of the Copper.
I then sealed everything with the Modern Masters dead flat varnish. I really like this sealant. It always goes on smooth and never drags. You can't see all the brush marks either. I put on 2 coats of the sealant. Take a look at the dramatic change!
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More photo's of my work are in the Gallery.