Updated Art Deco Chest of Drawers by a Teen

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Nothing makes me happier that to share a new project with you. However, when it’s a project that is done by one of my kids, I get beyond excited, even giddy. My proud mama heart takes over and I it amazes me how hard they work to get the job done. Take my oldest daughter’s latest project, an ugly painted beast in the before. Miss C is going to tame this brown beast and show you how it became an updated Art Deco chest of drawers. You go girl!

Art Deco Chest of Drawers Before | prodigalpieces.com

Many of you know that I have sworn off bringing home awfully painted furniture. I have had my fun messing with them, but apparently my husband keeps forgetting my promise to self, so when I send him out to retrieve project pieces he brings these things home. Bless his heart. Being the good mother I am I pawn these items off on my children. bwahahaha!!

Honestly though, in the storage unit lot I purchased and have mentioned in my last two furniture makeovers seen HERE and OVER HERE, my daughter wanted a piece to work on. This one was one of the cheaper ones and now we know why. ahem. This poor thing was done wrong.

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Art Deco Chest Side | prodigalpieces.com

If you also know me, then you know I have a heart for these vintage waterfall chests, and waterfall furniture in any form. So…Miss C decided to tackle it and give it her all. You have to check out her past work here.

First, we wanted to see what was under that paint, so she applied CitriStrip to the drawers and covered it with plastic wrap until it had eaten away at a few layers. These Art Deco pieces are known for their intricate veneer designs and we were hoping to strike gold.

Using CitriStrip Stripping Gel to Remove Old Paint | prodigalpieces.com

Upon first count, we found FOUR layers of paint – white, blue, green, and the awful brown. We were hopeful as we saw a veneer pattern showing up and she continued to scrape. See that lighter strip just under her arms?

Scarping Paint Off of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

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Well, what we had hoped to find was a cool veneer, but instead we found a cheapo adhered veneer look-a-like…basically a sticker. meh. I’ve encountered this before when I did this empire set. It’s basically a hack of a quality piece.

What to do? Break out my sander and see if we can score some wood. Things were looking so much better at this point.

Sanding Art Deco Chest Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Do you know what she found? Cherry!! We looked at each other dumbfounded because this beautiful wood was not only painted FOUR times, but they stuck that awful faux sticker on it! Things that make you go hmmm…??

Since Miss C had planned to paint the cabinet, she hit it with a good sanding to get rid of all the awful brush strokes and give the surface tooth to work with. Nothing like working out in the snow, eh? hahaha. It was actually kinda warm that day for us northerners.

Sanding Paint off of a vintage Art Deco Chest | prodigalpieces.com

Once all was prepped, Miss C decided to get this updated Art Deco chest started and stain the drawer fronts with one of my favorite stains, Early American (as seen in these posts). After that, she topcoated with Gator Hide using a Stubby Brush.

That looks much better…sigh…

Topcoat of Gator Hide on Drawer Fronts | prodigalpieces.com

For the cabinet, she applied the same Griper Primer I’ve used on my Broyhill desk. It creates such an awesome bond between surface and paint. Works wonders on laminate or previously painted surfaces. Buh-bye cow brown!

Priming Art Deco Chest with Gripper Primer | prodigalpieces.com

For the actual paint, Miss C chose to use one of my faves, Drop Cloth. You can see how I’ve used in these past projects. She applied two coats letting it cure in between. Then, she used Tea Rose to paint the drawer insides and sides since they were still pretty ugly with traces of four layers of paint too.

Now for the finishing touches. She wanted to add some sort of pep to the drawer fronts, so I helped her create an image that we could project using my thrifted overhead projector. She used…get this…a pencil eraser to apply her dots in this filigree pattern. I used this technique all the time and it works wonderfully. (notice Teddy manning the overhead projector for us. What a cutie.)

Projecting Filigree Graphic onto Chest of Drawers with School Projector | prodigalpieces.com

Using a Pencil Eraser to Create Faux Nail Head Trim Design | prodigalpieces.com

Once done, she did another coat of Gator Hide to the drawer fronts and applied a coat of White Wax to seal it all together. Here’s the new and updated Art Deco chest of drawers,  if I do say as my proud mama self.

Vintage Art Deco Chest Revived and Renewed by a Teen Girl. See more at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Art Deco Chest of Drawers with Rose Drawer Knobs by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Doesn’t it look soooo much better? The soft, creamy white against the stained fronts makes a beautiful contrast. The Rose Drawer Pulls add that delicate touch that Miss C carried over into the inside of the drawers as well with Tea Rose paint and Rose Drawer Liner.

Rose Lined Drawers on this Updated Art Deco Chest of Drawers | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

And her added filigree art to the front makes it have a new twist to this updated Art Deco Chest. Fun what you can do with a pencil and paint…and a thrifted overhead projector. hee hee.

Filigree Drawer Detail Done with a Pencil and Paint by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comBeautiful Vintage Waterfall Chest of Drawers Made New by Teen Girl | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

As always with my kiddos, they’re working to earn up a saving for themselves, and Miss C is offering this chest of drawers available for purchase in my shop. We ship right to your door and can ship more than one piece of furniture (or any small item) for the same cost. Sign up below for my newsletter for instant savings.

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Hand-Painted Art Deco Double Waterfall Chest of Drawers by Teen Girl | See more at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

We invite you to pin and share this updated Art Deco chest of drawers to inspire others (including kids!!) to see past the ugly and see potential. It really can be done!

Oh, how beautiful! A teen girl takes an ugly dated piece and turns it into a fantastic updated Art Deco chest of drawers. See how she did it at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Up next, is Furniture Fixer Uppers and I’m showing you how the last piece in my storage unit stash is getting new life. See the after HERE.

Antique Chest Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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More projects like this updated Art Deco chest of drawers:

French Grain Sack Chest of DrawersBefore and After Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comCheck out how this vintage Art Deco buffet was given a modern feel. Makeover at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com


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36 Comments

  • Christina in SW FL

    WOW!!! Miss C did a stunning job on this dresser! It is positively gorgeous and i know it won’t last long in your shop. *** Congratulations *** on a beautiful makeover. Truly the dots with the eraser is an inspired choice. Love the rose pulls and the roses in the drawers completely perfect.

    February 20, 2018 at 5:55 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I believe you just made her day, Christina. Thank you so much!

      February 20, 2018 at 8:34 am Reply
  • Paula

    What a sweet makeover Miss C! So elegant with a whimsical feel. I really appreciate every detail, especially the hard work and love that you put into it. You certainly made a Beauty out of that Beast!

    February 20, 2018 at 6:51 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Paula! I had a lot of fun working on it.

      February 20, 2018 at 8:46 am Reply
  • Laura Overholt

    Please tell your daughter for me that she did a beautiful job and I’m very impressed!

    February 20, 2018 at 7:22 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much! It was really fun, and I enjoyed working on it.

      February 20, 2018 at 8:53 am Reply
  • Janice

    Your daughter did a fantastic job on that piece! I can see that she is very creative like her Mama.

    February 20, 2018 at 8:25 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m glad you think so. Thank you, Janice!

      February 20, 2018 at 8:55 am Reply
  • Patty Soriano

    Can you please explain a little more how the dots were “applied?” At what point ? and how? Is she erasing something? Or using the eraser to apply round spots of paint ? thanks Larissa! She did a beautiful job!

    February 20, 2018 at 9:22 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I mentioned she topcoated with one layer of poly, and then added the dots with a pencil eraser. Just dipped it in gold and pressed on following the projected design, and then another topcoat of poly. Thanks! 😀

      February 21, 2018 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Sandi Jones

    I love the Art Deco style. Way to bring back the beauty of this piece! Great job Miss C!

    February 20, 2018 at 9:38 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yahoo! I love the double waterfall style especially. so cool!

      February 21, 2018 at 5:42 am Reply
  • Debra Wise

    Wow, she did a stunning job! She’s as talented as her mama. She truly did make a Beauty out of the Beast. Love all of the details she did. So beautiful!!

    February 20, 2018 at 9:40 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I was like…go baby go! So fun to watch and see her piece come to life. Thanks, Debra.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:42 am Reply
  • Cookie

    It looks Wonderful, great job!! Love it😍

    February 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome! Thank you from the two of us.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:42 am Reply
  • Becky

    WOW. That came out simply BEAUTIFUL! Great choices, and great work!!! I really love the design on the front. Maybe my dinning room furniture needs a little copy-cat update… If kids start out with this quality of work, where are they going to end up!?!

    February 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s the spirit, Becky! haha. So fun to share what we love to do. I hope they spread their wings and fly! 😀

      February 21, 2018 at 5:43 am Reply
  • Gail Ebeling

    What a beautiful job and such attention to details. You should be so proud. She learned by watching and doing.

    February 20, 2018 at 6:29 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      The fact that she was willing knowing what I have dealt with in the past with painted pieces is so cool to me. Thanks so much for the love, Gail.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:43 am Reply
  • Elaine

    Add me to the WOW group…she did an amazing job on this piece! So much detail, and so intricate. Your kids are so lucky that they get to learn from you!

    February 20, 2018 at 7:20 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      High five! These pieces are like blank slates and so fun to add a twist to them. Thank you, Elaine.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:44 am Reply
  • Debrashoppeno5

    Miss C does have talent. You have taught her well.

    February 20, 2018 at 7:51 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Debra.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:44 am Reply
  • Debbie

    Wow ! She has talent and vision!

    February 20, 2018 at 7:52 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You’re so fun, Debbie! She says, Thanks!

      February 21, 2018 at 5:44 am Reply
  • Kimberly

    What a wonderful job you did, Little Miss!

    February 20, 2018 at 11:34 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Miss C: Thank you. It was hard work, but fun to do.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:45 am Reply
  • Bonnie

    What a beautiful legacy to hand down. Not only will you both have wonderful memories of this but she is learning a trade which will never go out of style. Please tell her what a beauty she has made and she is also just like her momma!

    February 21, 2018 at 3:28 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to see them bloom and grow. Thanks for the support and love, Bonnie.

      February 21, 2018 at 5:45 am Reply
  • Ivory

    Stunning, stunning, and stunning. I love what you did. Wow!

    March 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Many thanks from my daughter. 🙂

      March 6, 2018 at 5:21 pm Reply
  • Marie

    Oh my word, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. What a beautiful makeover! I’m swooning over what a pencil eraser and a little paint can do. The pretty rose knobs echoed inside with the rose paper and pink painted drawers add so much lovely femininity to this dresser. I have a feeling this one sold rather quickly for her.

    March 10, 2018 at 11:44 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Truly fun to watch her go, Marie. Thank you for the love!

      March 11, 2018 at 3:29 am Reply
  • Sandi Allen

    Congratulations Miss C! This is absolutely Beautiful! Love the colors!

    June 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You’re so fun, Sandi! Thank you.

      June 19, 2018 at 8:05 am Reply

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