Mid-Century Dresser, Nightstand, Chalkboard

By Diane Lawyer, Owner at Sweet Pickins Designs in Roswell, GA.

This is a wonderful Drexel, mid-century dresser, mirror (which I turned into a chalkboard) and nightstand set. I marketed this as a buffet, side table, and chalkboard. I found these pieces at a local thrift store, they were well-loved and need dressing up to work in today's homes. I decided to revive them in GF Seagull gray and created a custom 'barn wood' top for the dresser and nightstand. 

All three pieces were thoroughly cleaned and sanded with 120 grit. I stripped the tops of the dresser and nightstand with Citristrip prior to sanding. To create the faux barn wood look top for the dresser and nightstand, I did something that was a bit unconventional and not likely recommended by General Finishes. It was an experiment that worked! 

I applied GF black gel stain to the stripped and sanded tops. I only allowed it to dry for about an hour. I then applied GF water based black stain and began wiping it off immediately. I use new baby diapers for wiping back stain and I used a cut up diaper to apply pressure and wipe off the black stain. The application of the water based stain caused the black gel stain to begin lifting, but not all over and not uniformly. I then lightly sanded with 220 grit sandpaper. This revealed some of the original wood, along with varying striations of black, along with the wood. You can see the results in the picture of the top of the dresser. I've used this method a few times now on several items and no two pieces look exactly alike, other than they look like worn barn wood.

For the 'chalkboard' I removed the mirror and used the backboard of the original mirror as the base for creating the chalkboard. I used Rustoleum chalkboard paint to create the chalkboard.

I cleaned all of the hardware which was a brass color prior, and spray painted them black, followed by spray polyurethane. General Finishes HPTC was applied to all of the furniture pieces pieces followed by Pitch Black glaze.

The set sold very quickly and the new owner was thrilled that she has a unique set.

Project Category

Upcycling Merit CategoriesShades of Gray

Color Recipe

  • For custom top of dresser and nightstand:
  • 1 Part GF Water Based Black Stain
  • 1 Part GF Black Gel Stain

Products Used

  • General Finishes Black Gel Stain
  • General Finishes water based Black Stain
  • General Finishes Seagull Gray
  • General Finishes Pitch Black Glaze
  • General Finishes HPTC
  • Citristrip
  • Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint

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