Custom White Dresser

So I’m just going to be honest. Sometimes doing custom orders really stresses me out. I want to make sure the piece is exactly what the client wants, and occasionally clients have different tastes than mine and I worry about executing their vision. As my time has become more limited with the recent arrival of baby number two I have been taking on even fewer custom orders…but I was SO excited about this one.

How cute is this?! Seriously?! I told this client more than once that this is exactly the type of piece I’m always on the hunt for. If you’re reading this and have one, hit me up 😉 Anyway, she wanted this one done in off white with no distressing. While that may sound simple, it’s actually a bit tricky, which is why I decided to share my process.

Because I usually use milk paint or chalk paint, most of my pieces require fairly minimal prep. A good cleaning and a rough sanding will often do. However, this piece needed some additional work.

When using white paint, it’s very common for discoloration or water marks to show through. To eliminate this issue, I gave the top and drawers of this piece a really thorough sanding using a hand sander and 150 grit sand paper. I used good old fashioned elbow grease to sand the rest by hand. Now the issue with doing this, particularly when painting with white, is that it can release the tannins (the colors of the stain/wood) and increase the amount of bleed through. Not every piece will bleed, but the reddish orange hue on this piece signaled to me that it probably would. To decrease the bleed through, I used spray shellac to “seal” the entire piece before painting.

For this piece I used General Finishes Milk Paint in Antique White. Guys, let me let you in on a not-so-secret secret. General Finishes Milk Paint is NOT actually milk paint. At all. I’ve bursted quite a few bubbles in painting groups over this when people are all excited because they think they tried milk paint ( does that make me a horrible person?!). True milk paint is a powder that you mix with water. It behaves COMPLETELY differently than General Finishes, which is actually a water based acrylic paint. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE General Finishes, but milk paint it ain’t. 😉 Anyway, I did one coat, lightly sanded, then did another coat of shellac on the top and drawers. Normally, you’d be able get away with two coats, but white is a different story. This took three thick coats.

How great does this look in white?

Now, for the sake of transparency, let me say that I haven’t sealed this yet. When I use this paint, I often use General Finishes High Performance Top Coat (HPTC) to seal. However, it CAN slightly yellow white paint. The other option is Minwax natural wax, which is also a great product, but I think the HPTC gives a slightly more consistent finish. So I’m still deciding. 😉

I’m so happy with how this turned out. But really…but when you start with a piece this cute, it’s hard to go wrong!


4 thoughts on “Custom White Dresser

    1. The General Finishes “milk paint” that I used on this is from my local Woodcraft store. They also sell Old Fashioned Milk Paint, which I also use. I purchase all my Miss Mustard Seed milk paint products off of Amazon. Hope that helps!


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