Last week, I finally got around to painting a dresser that’s been hanging out in my garage since October!  I put it off originally because the winter weather set in, but then this spring has been busy and it’s been out of sight, out of mind.  Jeff cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago and I promised I would paint the dresser and get it out of there.

Well, I finally did and I made a video of the process.

So, here is how the dresser started…

It’s a pretty little piece, but the finish was a bit dinged up.  A part of me wanted to sand it all down and do some kind of a whitewash or bleach the wood or something, but a reader of me asked if I would paint it specifically for her.  Since I was just going to sell it, anyway, I was happy to do that.  She told me a few colors she liked from my Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint collection but otherwise gave me free rein.  I ended up going with Mora

Based on the description of her home, I thought this color would be neutral enough to play nicely with other blues in her house.

Mora is a bit of a chameleon color.  It can look blue, green, gray, or even white depending on what color it’s next to.

Here is a video showing my process of painting the piece…

Here’s a close-up photo of the inspiration design I used for the dresser…

It’s from the book Handbook of Decorative Motifs, which is a very handy book to have if you do any sort of design work.  It has motifs based on botanicals, flowers, and historic patterns.  I bought it about 15 years ago and have used it as a jumping-off point for all sorts of ideas.  You can buy it used on Amazon from $1.49.

For the decorative painting, I used Liquitex Professional Acrylic in Titanium White

…and Liquitex Matte Medium to thin down the paint.

And, here’s a peek at how it looked before the distressing and finishing…

(For the detailed tutorial, watch the video.)

In my next post, I’ll show how it turned out along with how I distressed and finished it…

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Kate

    Lovely! You’ve created a true folk art treasure. (And I put the motif book in my cart to add to my art resource shelf.) I watched the video and was quite impressed with how far you’ve come in producing them and how confident you appear (no, “like” or “um”).

    • Marian Parsons

      Thanks! I have really worked on my “ums”, but I still drop them here and there! 🙂

  2. Betsy

    First of all I’m impressed that you can sit on the floor and not need 3 people to help you up. Second, your ability to paint without using a drop cloth. Once the piece is totally dry did you remove the drawers to paint the edges? Your work is just lovely. I can’t wait to see the finished piece.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, well, I am only 41, so I hope I can get up and down from the floor! 🙂 I know what you’re saying, though. It’s not as easy as it used to be.

      No, I do not paint along the drawer edges. I just leave them wood. Paint can often interfere with how the drawers fit in their recesses.

  3. M

    Traditional Iranian art motifs are Persian. Not Islamic. Persian art developed thousands of years before they were invaded by Arab Muslims.

    • Marian Parsons

      Well, then the book is incorrect, which it might be. It says, “Islam – Islamic popular art periodically exercised influence in southern Europe: a mosaic from Asia Minor.”

  4. Vickie White

    This video only confirms what I’ve known for a long time….you’re a true artist. Don’t kid yourself….you’re pr0fessional in everything you do! LOVE the treatment of that chest….

  5. KJ

    I only see it on amazon at $56.19, not $1.49…What am I missing here ?

    • Marian Parsons

      That’s new. You have to click on the used books that are offered from other sellers. The lowest one was priced at $1.49, but other readers may have snapped up the lowest-priced used books already.

  6. Diane Westbrook

    Oh love this dresser!! It is just lovely! I searched for the book too…was able to get it used for a bit over 17.00 dollars…like the comment above…new was over 56.00…thanks for the inspiration, as always…hope you do more painting!!! I just received my bottle of Hemp Oil and I need to find a tutorial on just how to use it…am going to try to use it on older kitchen cabinets that are looking pretty worn…

    • Marian Parsons

      What often happens when I refer a used book is that the cheapest ones get bought by other readers and then the price goes up!

  7. Dori Johns

    Wow! I love everything about this and can’t wait to see the finished dresser. Will you please make your next post in 5 minutes? *wink*

    • Marian Parsons

      It’ll be live tomorrow!

  8. Lindy

    Loved your vision ~ The owner will be in love with this beautiful and sweet dresser ~

    • Carol

      I am the lucky owner & I do love it!

  9. Elizabeth

    I love this! I am currently working on a little gray hutch and going to do a design on the doors. Thanks for sharing the book info. Great idea for inspiration!

  10. Linda

    This looks beautiful Marian. I have used that book many a time – it’s great. I used it on a miniature Mora clock that I painted -I wish I could find another one.

    Hope your summer is going great!


  11. Sarah

    I love it, Marian. So proud of you.

  12. Sandy Ferguson

    Found book on Ergode Books for $5.07 & $3.99 shipping. Best deal I could find. Hope this helps.

  13. Marlene Stephenson

    It is a lovely piece and will be treasured.

  14. Kathryn Griffin

    Beautifully done! At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the folk art, but as it evolved, I quickly changed my mind. Thank you for sharing. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  15. Robin

    Amazing!! Just love it. I’ve been so afraid to try this. Watching all your videos I can find. Soon I’m gonna give it a shot. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work

  16. Victoria

    The V&A Museum (location of the specific pattern you used) publish a lot of pattern books that are great. Lots of Morris stuff too. I also really love “Bitten by Witch Fever” which is about wallpaper.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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