I purchased this antique dresser at an auction for $6.00 last fall. It was a beautiful bird’s eye maple, so it pained me to have to paint it, but the veneer was chipped and bubbled and beyond my ability to repair. So, I had to come up with a way to cover it. Some free antique sheet music from my grandparent’s attic was the perfect solution.
This project was so fun! Not only did I relish giving the dresser a new life, but I loved finding interesting and unexpected items from around my house for the “photo shoot.” A naked lamp shade becomes a cloche for books, ironstone, and coral in addition to a display for old photos. An antique frame painted white becomes a perfect place to feature an antique christening gown and a family letter from the 1880’s held in place by a starfish.
One of the keys to decorating with whites is to use lots of texture and varying tones of white and neutrals. I love the texture of this bird’s nest against the smooth, bright white eggs, the gloss of the ironstone and the yellowed sheet music. A feast for the eyes.
This letter not only displays beautiful penmanship, but the age of the paper looks lovely against the crisp white frame. It was written to one of my ancestors and references her survival through the siege at Petersburg, Virginia during the Civil War.
I love old christening gowns and baby dresses, so this was the perfect time to show one off. The antique wooden hanger balances gracefully on the edge of the empty frame.
This is what the dresser looked like when I brought it home a few months ago. I’m sorry it’s buried under other yard sale finds, but you get the idea! It was a good haul that day!
It took me so long to work on this piece because I was wringing out all of my creative juices to figure out how I could save this beautiful bird’s eye veneer. Some of it just needed stain and poly, but several areas were chipped, bubbled and missing. I finally faced the truth that it needed some expensive restoration or it needed to be painted. Paint is what I do, so paint it was.
But paint does not cover missing, chipping, and bubbled veneer. Mod Podge is a fairly recent discovery for me…I know, late bloomer. Vintage sheet music was the perfect solution to hide the imperfections.
I brushed the Mod Podge directly on the drawers and applied the sheet music, cutting around the key holes, knob holes and edges with an Exacto knife. I then applied a liberal coat of Mod Podge over the sheet music.
The paper is always a little bubbly when it’s wet, but it dries flat, so don’t think you did something wrong if you’re trying this. I then applied an antiquing glaze (a mix of clear glaze and burnt umber universal tint) over the sheet music and one more coat of Mod Podge. I finished off the top with a coat of Wipe On Poly to make it water resistant.
The rest of the dresser was primed in a Sherwin Williams’ bonding primer and one coat of latex semi-gloss ProClassic paint in Creamy. I hit the edges of the dresser with a sander and applied an antique glaze.
I love the original wheels on this piece and how the yellowed sheet music is framed by the white on the body of the dresser.
Here are some additional pictures of the items in the arrangement on and above the dresser.
I'm Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, lover of all things home and an accidental entrepreneur, author, freelance writer & photographer. READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business...
Marian’s Upcoming Events
SEPTEMBER 23-24 | Purple Painted Lady Festival
OCTOBER 7-9 | Sage Farm Antiques
OCTOBER 10 @ 10AM | Signature Finishes
204 Worcester Street, North Grafton, MA
NOVEMBER 12 | Vintage Whites Market