Our youngest son is going to be 3 this summer and he’s ready for a “big boy” room makeover. We’re doing a nautical theme and the first project was transforming this thrift store chest with a ship silhouette.
We found a matching dresser and chest at our local thrift store. They were in good shape but I wanted to update them to fit the room theme. Here’s a before shot of the chest:
I started by giving the entire piece a thorough cleaning and painting it with Annie Sloan “Old Ochre”. Actually I started by pulling the old granny panties out from behind one of the drawers. Why can’t I ever find something good, like a wad of cash? But I digress… So here it is with a couple coats of Old Ochre.
If you’re familiar with Annie Sloan’s Old White, Old Ochre is similar but a tad more caramel-y if that makes sense.
Once I finished the silhouette, I started lightly distressing it with a sanding block and it just wasn’t feeling right. It was still too white for me, so I decided to do a wash over the whole thing with Coco. Doing a wash is easy, just water down the paint and, working in sections, brush the watery paint on, then wipe it off with a rag. I intentionally left it streaky when I wiped it off because it reminded me of wood grain and it just felt more nautical to me. You can wipe more to have less pronounced streaking.
I didn’t measure how much water I poured into the paint. There’s no right or wrong amount, but the more water you add the lighter the paint will be when you wipe it off. I added a little more water when I did the drawers because I wanted the streaks to be lighter and not compete with the graphic.
I used the existing knobs and painted them first with Old Ochre, then an uneven, messy layer of Coco, then dabbed and wiped dark wax on with a paper towel several times.
I decided to replace the three bottom handles with rope. I found this rope at Lowe’s and was able to purchase it by the foot for only a couple bucks.
I used a drill bit to enlarge the existing holes in the drawers. Tip: Starting on the inside of the drawer, drill about a quarter way through the drawer. Then move your drill to the outside of the drawer and drill all the way through. Making a starter hole on the inside helps prevent the wood from chipping. I may have learned this lesson the hard way.
(I haven’t secured the rope to the inside of the drawers yet, but the plan in my head is to use a conduit clamp as soon as I can get to the hardware store. I’ll update the post to let you know if that works well.)
I also painted the image onto the tops of the drawers. I’m not sure if you can see it in the pictures, but there’s a slight gap between the drawers. When the drawers were closed, that gap was really pronounced and it broke up the graphic. Painting the graphic onto the drawer tops made it look much nicer.
I sealed it with a couple coats of clear wax. I’m so excited to have the first piece of Max’s new room finished and I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you as we finish each project!
Update: Check out how we painted the matching dresser here.
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