HOW TO GET A NATURAL WOOD STAIN COLOR WITHOUT ORANGE OR RED UNDERTONES | THRIFT STORE DRESSER MAKEOVER
Have you seen all the gorgeous natural-looking wood-stained furniture makeovers on IG and Pinterest? Ever wonder how to get this natural look without the yellow and red undertones? Today I’m sharing a NEW product I just tried. It took away all the unwanted undertones and was so easy to achieve! I also have some exciting news I’m sharing at the end of today’s post!
Here’s the thrift store dresser I started with. A shiny melamine tallboy with some funky decor panels and Jetsons-looking hardware. Can you see the potential here!?
Before I get into the full tutorial, here’s the new look. A gorgeous painted and stained duo!
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And check out these all-natural wood stain-colored drawers! They look even BETTER than they did in their natural state. I’ll show you the side-by-side difference down below!
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Thrift Store Dresser – SALVAGED
Slick Stick Bonding Primer
Salt Water Silk Paint
Serenity Silk Paint
Au Natural Stain
Gold Gemstone Mousse
PAINTED & NATURAL STAINED DRESSER
Here’s how it all came together…
PREP | CLEAN
I started by cleaning this dresser’s shiny finish with this TSP substitute. I like using it in a spray bottle and wiping it down with a large sponge. I use another industrial spray bottle filled with clean water to rinse. This makes the cleaning process super fast.
HARDWARE AND PANELS
I was worried these dated panels were going to be tricky to remove without causing any damage to the dresser but it must have been my lucky day. When I unscrewed the hardware, the panels fell right off!
Because I wasn’t sure what type of hardware I was going to use, I filled the old holes in with Bondo. (I ended up using the original hardware but I swear, every time I don’t fill the holes I find NEW hardware I want to use…lol… murphy’s law I guess.)
SAND TO BARE WOOD
I was curious about what type of wood was underneath these drawers. Using my new Bosch Orbital Sander and an 80 grit aggressive sandpaper I sanded the Bondo smooth and took the majority of the finish off. Then I traded the orbital sander for my new palm sander and sanded the remains and evened out the veneer using a 120 grit. Finally, to get a super smooth finish I hand sanded with this 220 sanding sponge.
AU NATURAL STAIN
This was my first time trying this Au Natural Water-based Gel Stain in this all-natural color. Love it! Wait until you see the difference!
It’s easy to apply and here’s how I like to do it. The first two steps are NOT necessary but I like to use water as a FREE stain conditioner when working with water-based stains. I find the finish turns out more even.
- Dampen the wood with a mist of water or a damp rag
- Wipe any excess water off
- Apply the Au Natural Voodoo Gel Stain
- Wipe any excess off
Here’s the difference between the raw wood and the Au Natural Stained wood. The top drawer has been stained and the bottom three are the raw wood. It looks very natural but cuts down on the undertones and brings it up a notch. A perfect looking modern stain in my opinion.
At this point in the makeover, I still wasn’t exactly sure which direction this piece was going so I used this bonding primer on the body and legs. This is so I wouldn’t have to sand the shiny melamine. I applied one coat of Slick Stick, waited two hours, and then applied my second coat. When I went back down to my studio the following morning, I did a scratch test to make sure it adhered 100% before painting. Here’s a super quick video on how to do a scratch test.
PAINTING WITH LEFTOVERS
I used leftover paint to mix a custom color to pair with the Au Natural Stain. This beautiful blue with green undertones was created by mixing 25% of this Salt Water into 75% of this Serenity. GORGEOUS! This dresser took two coats for full coverage. I like the looks of this custom color so much, that I decided to paint the bottom two drawers as well.
Pro Tip #1 – I like to flip my piece upside down to get all the underneath painted first. I also used my Slap It On Technique to paint the spindle legs which works like a dream. No brush marks!
Pro Tip#2 – If you get paint on parts of your project by mistake, take a damp sanding sponge and sand it off. I used to wait until the entire piece was dry before sanding off little mistakes but I find it easier to use a damp sanding sponge and sand them off right away. No sanding dust will get into your wet paint if your sponge is damp. I’ll be sharing this tip on this Saturday’s YouTube so you can see how easy this is to do!
TOPCOAT | PROTECTION
No top coat is needed for the paint portion of this dresser. To seal and protect the drawers I’ll be using this spray wax. It’s super easy to use and has a totally flat finish.
To give the original hardware a NEW look, I used spray paint but wasn’t happy with the results. So I ended up using this Gold Gemstone Mousse on the hardware handles and the bottom two inches of the feet.
Here’s the finished look! What do you think?
I love the natural-looking wood top paired with the custom Serenity bottom!
It’s a perfect spring color!
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on Youtube. If you have any problems viewing below, feel free to watch it on my Youtube Channel HERE. Our #siyoutube family has hit 13.2K so don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t done so already! So exciting, thank YOU! 🙂
Here’s another look at this dresser’s before and after. I hope it’s inspired you and given you some new ideas for your projects!
And now for my exciting news! Zibra Painting has asked me to participate in next week’s Zibra Podcast… my first podcast EVER! It’s a new segment called “The Beginners Bucket” and I’ll be chatting on… “How do experienced refinishers balance wanting to use new techniques and products with creating furniture that will be in style and enjoyed for years to come?” I’ll be linking to it on my socials so I’d love for you to follow me here, here and here as well!
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS NATURAL WOOD STAIN COLOR AND DRESSER MAKEOVER. ALSO, FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU. IT MAKES MY DAY! 🙂
Happy furniture painting friends!
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