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.
For more furniture makeover posts, click HERE.


  1. WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie

    A beautiful vignette! I love that you used varying shades of white. You've created a warm and creative space. The use of the lampshade is clever!!

  2. gail

    the dresser turned out beautifully! I love the entire vignette! It all looks so cozy.
    good luck this week! 🙂

  3. Jackie

    Very calm corner with different shades. I love it! great job!

  4. Laurie at Turner Farm

    Love this! Love how you used the items around your house. Great job, so creative!

  5. One Cheap B*tch

    Everything fits so perfectly together! My eye immediately went to the starfish! I love your entry this week!

  6. Magic Brush

    Love, love love the dresser!!!!

  7. Marla

    The dresser is awesome. I like the use of old sheet music, saw your lampshade too. Good stuff! Smiles, Marla

  8. Low Tide High Style

    I think being this creative, week after week, breaks some law of nature!! I love the sheet music dresser and all of the wonderful items you have displayed!

    Kat 🙂

  9. Jen T

    This is JUST what I needed to get moving on my project. I have thrown around this idea on a piece I have – this is beautiful and the sheet music does look framed in by the creamy white paint…BEAUTIFUL and great job!!

  10. bj

    Absolutely magnificent, Miss Mustard. I am so proud of you!!
    xo bj

  11. Kristin

    oh i *love* that dresser!! sigh…i'm on the hunt now!! thanks for the inspiration!

    faded prairie

  12. Kolein

    Revering again….Miss Mustard Seed,

    You are so talented. Beyond words. That dresser and the frame together really caught my eye every time I read and scrolled up and down the post. Did you pick any particular music/songs?

    And $6 for that piece? Wow. Just beautiful.

    Just to make you feel better…I thought Mod Podge was glue.

  13. Red Door Home

    Love everything you did. The dresser is my favorite part. I have wanted to try something like this for a while but never had the courage!

  14. Funky Junk Interiors

    STUNNING outcome! The photo of the books just had me wanting to reach out and grab them.

    Such a lovely vision you had for that poor dresser. The shape of it in itself is so interesting. You really have an eye for amazing pieces and you've done this one justice to the extreme.

    Love your entry!

  15. The Little Red Shop

    It looks just lovely and how wonderful to have such a letter from one of your ancestors.

    : )

    Julie M.

  16. Amy Kinser

    How many ways are there to say love and beautiful? I absolutely love this vignette and think it is so beautiful. Everything about it appeals to me. BRAVO!

  17. Cynthia

    Love…absolutely love…this dresser transformation!! I have an old dresser which I planned to paint but the sheet music is such a perfect embellishment! It would look so ideal in the room I keep my vintage piano. I love decorating in white–thanks for the inspiration–you've done a gorgeous job!

  18. Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig

    Oh my word, that is amazing!
    It quite honestly takes my breath away, it's so lovely.

    What gets me? Is the sheet music around the keyholes. To die for.

    Have a wonderful week!

  19. Morning T

    I am in awe of that dresser…talk about creative! The vignette is amazing~ love it all!!

  20. Dreamy Whites

    Wow do you ever have talent. I have a dresser very similar, and just painted it white. I love sheet music. What a great idea! LOVE it Marian, I know who I am voting for!
    Take Care,

  21. Jane

    Wonderful Whites! Everything looks lovely. My favorite is the lamp shade cloche!!

  22. Lisa

    Beautiful as always! I love the collection. I am a HUGE fan of old books and the sheet music really sets off that dresser perfectly. Love the addition of the gown. It's a little feast for the eyes!

  23. LouLou

    Marian!!!! OMGOOOOOOODNESS! That dresser is my new favorite Miss Mustard Seed creation! I MUST make one of those myself…. My wheels are just a turning pondering which piece of furniture to use…It's fabulous, and the vignette is PERFECTION!!!

  24. Willow Decor

    This is one of the prettiest dressers I have ever seen!! I love it. You did such a wonderful job. Really stunning!! You inspired me and I am off the watch the tutorial!!

  25. Debra @ Common Ground

    This is just crazy wonderful. The dresser technique with the sheet music is perfect! Love all the elements of your vignette!

  26. Kelley B

    Really nice job! I am really loving the variety of shades and textures. Lovely photos!

  27. Bird

    I am seeing a lot of white lately and yours is just a breath of fresh air!

    How long does it take to set up for a shoot? It looks so effortless, like everything just belongs there and has always been there! I guess that's what makes a good decorator!

    I'm voting for you again! Good luck


  28. My Cottage Charm

    Very sweet white vignette! 🙂
    I'm glad you stopped in and commented on my kitchen…and you're right, those cabinets were a mess! A BIG MESS! It took me FOREVER to get them done, but it was SO worth it. I used to hate my kitche, but now it's my favorite room in the house whole house! 🙂
    Thanks again for stopping by. 🙂

  29. Melanie

    I love that dresser! My mother plays the piano and she would just love that piece.

  30. Linda (Nina's Nest)

    I love EVERY SINGLE THING on your beautiful dresser (piano music – wow!). But the lampshade frame as a cloche is just plain brilliant! Linda

  31. Jacque

    you are brilliant and so talented. Love it.

  32. maryboys

    i am at a loss for words, which is fairly rare:) this is incredibly beautiful…every single piece, detail, photo…i. love. it.


  33. Nancy

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw your dresser covered in sheet music. It's so nostalgic, romantic and looks beautiful. I want one! What a great, beautiful, creative idea! Thank you for sharing! I'm following you now. Hope you visit me sometime as well. Blessings and hugs!

  34. kanishk

    Very calm corner with different shades. I love it! great job!
    free internet jobs


    Stunning, simply stunning!

  36. TheVirginiaHouse

    You did great! I can't wait to see the winner. Everyone has done such an awesome job. This is one of my favorites though!

  37. Ness Lockyer

    That looks amazing! I have an old dresser which I bought for $5 that I have been wanting to redo for a while. I might think about this.
    Just beautiful!
    Ness xx

  38. KarenB

    I LOVE IT! What a fabulous idea. I also love the lampshade turned cloche. Very cute and inspired!

  39. Anonymous

    Alaina said…I love the idea with the music sheets. There was a dresser in pine, I have always wanted pine, but the condition is not the best, didn't really want to paint it but now I know what to do with it. Now I only hope it is still available. Thanks for the inspiration.

  40. Splendid Willow

    My lovely friend Gina over at Willow Decor sent me here. I am truly speechless! Your dresser (and everything around it) turned out amazing. And I thought I was clever wrapping a branch… ( http://splendidwillow.com/archives/6152 ). Obviously, I have to learn from you and think more grand!

    You have my vote!

    ox, Mon

  41. Ticking and Toile

    lovely! you did a fantastic job on the dresser!!! The whole vignette is truly dreamy & divine……

    If you have a minute come see my frenchy bedroom makeover & enter my jeanne d' arc giveaway!!


  42. The Cozy Chateau

    A well-deserved first place! I loved every aspect of your white entry. Congratulations!

    And you got some really great finds. Definitely makes me want to go thrifting soon. Cheers!

    Nicole 🙂

  43. Bethany @ The Paper Pony

    This project really turned out beautifully! The vintage music is just so sweet- I think I need it for my piano room!!! Great job.

  44. freckled laundry

    I've said it before and I'm sayin' it again…this is b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.
    Every little detail.


  45. Michelle @Shellsshabbyshack

    Beautiful… a real conversation piece. This is the perfect idea for the not so perfect dresser. Love it!

  46. lifespassion

    Absolutely gorgeous and a great idea! I just might have to try this!

  47. Inspire Me Heather

    Your dresser turned out beautiful – I linked it to my "book pages" post too!

  48. Feathers and Flight

    This a Wonderful Piece! Thank you so Much for the Tutorial! Your Creativity is so Inspired! You can tell that you really Love What you do!
    Thank you Again!
    Happy Tuesday!

  49. Kim

    My grandfather used to rebuild player pianos when he was alive. I have an old dresser with a lot of damage and this is just the inspiration I needed to find a purpose for it. I have one of his pianos and tons and tons of rolls. This old dresser of mine will go perfectly in my piano room now!!! Thank you so much for posting this!! I’m nearly in tears and so excited to get started!! Thank you, thank you!

  50. Divya

    I am trying to recreate this look with my dresser and need help! I have a major concern with the burnt umber tint. My local Sherwin Williams was kind enough to give me some for free and I’ve diluted it in water but when I brush it onto the sheet music after mod-podging onto the drawers, I find it comes out very ‘streaky’ and not even the way it looks in the pictures above. I’ve tried with different types of brushes and even a damp rag and I’ve even tried different concentrations of tint but instead of having a nice warm tint like it does in the photos it just looks like I smeared brown stuff all over the sheet music. HELP!

  51. Lauren

    oh my word, I have similar shots of Drew putntig things together for Bentley’s room! I love that you are documenting… this baby boy newman must be documented. ha. so excited for you both… yay for another south end babe!



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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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