How to paint a dresser (and how to evenly paint drawer pulls)

Several years ago Bill and I inherited a bedroom set from my grandmother. It was nice quality and really sturdy, but a little too country for us. I painted the dressers green, but I was never too thrilled with the job I did, so I decided it was time for a redo. I don’t have a picture of the before-before, back when the bigger dresser still had a starburst wagon wheel type mirror affixed to it, so you will have to use your imagination. Here is a picture of the taller dresser, still with its green paint of phase two. Unfortunately I didn’t think to snap a picture when it still had the white drawer pulls on it.

dresser - beforetall dresser – before

The drawer pulls never looked good. I used white spray paint, and it had pooled unattractively and unevenly across the surface. No matter how many coats and how many times I flipped them, they didn’t look good. Finally I settled with them being gloppy and streaky.

spray painted drawer pulls - what not to dospray painted drawer pulls – what not to do

This time I had a plan, and it worked great. I hung the drawer pulls by thread on old coat hangers, and painted them with spray paint. This way I was able to get a really even coat. I did it outside and used chalkboard paint so the pulls would have a matte finish instead of the typical glossy spray paint look.

the trick to painting drawer pulls evenly: hang them with thread to a coat hanger to allow for even coating and no pooling paint!the trick to painting drawer pulls evenly: hang them with thread to a coat hanger to allow for even coating and no pooling paint!

The part of the pulls that attach to the dresser could be painted flat on newspaper. Keep them separated so the paint does not accidentally attach them to one another, and spray on a second coat if needed.

spray painted hardwarespray painted hardware

Once they dry, you will probably end up with tiny thread marks on your drawer pulls like these.

thread line

You can apply another coat of spray paint over just that area, or if you used black paint and you’re not too fussy, touch them up with a Sharpie marker.

Sharpie touch-up = good as new!Sharpie touch-up = good as new!

Here is a look at the in-progress version of the lower, bigger dresser.

I decided to make the dresser two-tone. I got new glass drawer pulls for the drawers that only have a single screw handle, but had to reuse the two screw handles since they were weird sizes. The lighter gray is Sherwin Williams' Chelsea Gray, which matches our bedroom walls, and the black part is Behr brand Black Suede.I decided to make the dresser two-tone. I got new glass drawer pulls for the drawers that only have a single screw handle, but had to reuse the two screw handles since they were weird sizes. The lighter gray is Sherwin Williams’ Chelsea Gray, which matches our bedroom walls, and the black part is Behr brand Black Suede.

And just like magic, now it’s done! Here is the final version of the big dresser:

One down! Final version of painted, two-tone dresser.One down! Final version of painted, two-tone dresser.

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4 replies to “How to paint a dresser (and how to evenly paint drawer pulls)

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