Salvaging a Dresser with Saltwash

I mentioned this dresser in my post about the antique vanity but didn’t quite explain just how much of a mess it was. I couldn’t resist it at such a low, low price but it’s been a daunting challenge to tackle!

Let’s see…first there’s the 4-5 layers of bad paint jobs. Then there’s the drawers in need of shoring up. Then there’s the missing handles and the painted over keyholes. Then there’s the huge crack down the middle of the top.

Ordinarily chalk paint could go easily over a layer of bad paint with minimal prep work, but not in this case. The old paint was bubbling something awful and needed to be removed. A good paint stripper and scraper would, with a lot of time and elbow grease, take care of the issue. BUT I don’t have a safe outdoors area to apply a paint stripper. So I scraped off what I could and got to brainstorming.

I’ve seen projects finished with this cool product called Saltwash. It adds an awesome texture that, with layered paint, gives an amazing weathered, beachy look. Rather than fighting the weird texture left by bad paint, I thought I’d add to the texture and make it purposeful. I reached out to the company and was graciously sent a free sample!

I used wood filler to patch the crack in the top and, after taking a closer look at the warped and seriously damaged bottom drawers, decided to turn the bottom drawers into shelves. It was super simple; I had wood cut to fit, stained it, and slid it right in with some L-brackets added for support at the back. With everything cleaned and given a thick coat of shellac to seal further chips and give the new paint some help gripping, it was time to try out this Saltwash stuff.

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First, I blended a custom “sea glass” color about half and half Craftsmart “French Teal” and DecoArt “New Life” chalk paint with a touch of Martha Stewart “Antique Sky”. Now for Saltwash.

The instructions are really simple: mix with any kind of paint, glob on to form peaks, smooth intense peaks as needed, apply a second coat of paint in a different color, sand and see the magic happen. The “splash can” size I was sent as a sample said it would work with about 4oz of paint. I mixed it with closer to 6-8oz of paint and it was really too thick. Since I was working with chalk paint (already thicker than most paints) I probably could have used a good bit less and that’s something I’ll keep in mind for next time. I added some water and stirred well to thin it out.

Then I globbed it on. Don’t overthink it, just have fun. Make sure you’ve got good coverage but it doesn’t need to be too thick. The messier the better! I loved it already. I loved it so much I actually started second guessing the “required” second coat. While I’m sure you could just use the single coat after smoothing the peaks, I decided to follow the instructions and see what happened. Once the Saltwash paint layer dried completely, I lightly and unevenly brushed on a layer of Country Chic Paint in “Hurricane”. Now I really started to second guess this second coat…it looked horrible! There was still one more step and I followed through.

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Wow! With just a little sanding this awesome texture with the blended colors emerged. Hurricane blended in with the custom color underneath to form this weathered look like nothing I’d ever seen before. I could practically hear waves out my window. Have you ever seen anything look more beachy? This is by far the coolest thing I’ve ever done with chalk paint and I highly recommend getting your hands on some Saltwash and trying it out!

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antique-dresser

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3 thoughts on “Salvaging a Dresser with Saltwash

    1. Saltwash is so much fun; I definitely recommend trying it! If you look back at my post and my pictures you can see the gray layer is added on top of the dried Saltwash layer then sanded to blend and create that lovely Saltwash-weathered look. The dresser is complete without the drawers since I replaced the very damaged drawers with shelves (I always prefer to keep drawers but sometimes they’re beyond repair). Thanks for reading!

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