mini dresser makeover & “hand painted” stencils

by | Mar 6, 2016 | Before and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Hand Painted Furniture, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint | 21 comments

I am always drawn to child/doll furniture or salesmen’s samples (small, portable versions of full-sized pieces of furniture).  There is just something so sweet about them.  But, after buying a few of them and noticing how long it took to sell them, I stopped buying them.  I can get a better bang for my buck if I spend it elsewhere, so I look at them and “aww” and open the drawers and then walk away.

Most of the time.

I made an exception with this one.  It was well priced and I liked the simple shape.


Here is how it looked when I picked it up…


It was fine, but just looked a little drab.

We painted it in Farmhouse White, leaving the knobs wood.  That was Kriste’s suggestion and I loved it.


I added a stencil to the front in MMS Milk Paint Linen.  I like the soft tone-on-tone pattern.


I then lightly distressed the piece, allowing the areas that chipped to fall away and then I hit the edges of the drawers and the body of the dresser a little harder until I liked the look.


I finished the entire piece, including the knobs, with Hemp Oil.  It brought out the richness of the wood knobs and finished off the paint nicely.


I am so smitten with this one.

mms-5327 mms-5317

The stencil I used is one I actually designed!  People have been asking me for stencils for years and I’ve shied away from it for some reason.  I finally pinned myself down and created some designs.  The exciting thing about these stencils is they were created from my actual brush strokes, so they have feathering from the bristles and inconsistencies that will make the stencils look more like hand painting.  I’ll share more on them when they are closer to being available for purchase.


I have another full week in the studio and lots of furniture and antiques waiting for my attention…


  1. Toni

    One of the cutest things about this post is the scale of things. I’m in love with what must be teeny little plant in that cup! Very nice job. Looking forward to those stencils!

  2. B Folk

    “Small, portable versions of full-sized pieces of furniture” is always what I need, since I am small and live in a small apartment. Do people in your area have larger living quarters?
    The piece is darling! Wish I could find something like that in my area. Would make great craft storage, a table at the end of the sofa for storing remotes, docking stations, etc., a low bedside table, all sorts of uses.
    Glad to hear that you’re working on another item to add to your new product line!

  3. Saskia

    What a lovely piece. I love the wooden handles. It was a great idea not to paint them.
    I am curious to learn more about your stencils.

  4. amy Joanne Mogish

    So beautiful Marian, in every single way! It is speaking to me and hope to see it at Luckett’s with a sold sign to me! Love it……

  5. Susan Lee

    I have two little chests similar in size. They are wonderful as a jewelry box, to hold greeting and post cards, to store office supplies, and for layering on bookcases. They are very useful around the house!

  6. Karen Keller-Eyer

    Would love to purchase this sweet chest!

    It tugs at my heartstrings xox !

  7. Krista

    That is just so adorable! Love it with the knobs left unpainted. And your styling with the other items is so sweet. I enjoy stenciling, so I’m excited about your adding that to your line. Congratulations on continued growth!

  8. Krista

    Absolutely love it!

  9. Kay

    Adorable. I love small wooden pieces as well but do not have space for them in my small house. They’re usually too small to use for actual furniture. That may be why you have difficulty selling them: I’ll bet people love them but have no idea where to put them.

  10. Marlene Stephenson

    So very cute,i love everything about this piece and you made it a whole lot better.

  11. Deborah D

    Is it for sale cause I’m absolutely smitten with this little chest and know the perfect place for it in my home.

  12. Natalie in Ohio

    LOVE, love, love. It’s darling! I’d buy this sweet mini dresser if you sold it online via bids Marian!

    If you would consider selling “salesmen samples” you re-do on eBay, everyone interested would get to bid, the selling price would be higher than a “set” price, and you’d make more money on each piece!

  13. trish tokar

    adorable! your stencils sound exciting – can’t wait to see them!!

  14. Susan Alps

    Storage is always practical, no matter what size. This is so cute! I can’t wait for the stencils!

  15. marylisa noyes

    I have several of those children’s or salesman sample pieces. I have hutches and dressers and buffets. I display them in different rooms which makes me so happy just to look at them. I hadn’t thought of painting the ones in the dark stain but you have given me some creative ideas. Thank you.

  16. Naomi S.

    This little dresser is indeed sweet. I share your attraction to this type of small children’s play furniture. I have two llittle step-back cupboards, a dresser w/a mirror and a matching little doll bed. I am inspired to give them some love and a coat of paint now that I’ve seen how well yours turned out. A fun post. Thanks.

  17. Sandy C.

    It seems everyone wants to purchase your sweet chest, including ME! Any possibility? I live in Chicago so will never make it to Lucketts 🙁

  18. Dianne Plourde

    Love the white on white with the stencils. Love what you do with whites! It is a darling piece. Always intrigued with your simple & inviting staging of items. :O)

  19. Dianne

    Love it. And it shows me how something will look that I have.

  20. Christy Sumbury

    This is just adorable! I love the stencil and how you kept the wooden knobs.

  21. Janet

    Beautiful transformation! Would love to try it.


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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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