Fusion Mineral Paint Empire Dresser | Makeover

Custom Order!  I found this gorgeous dresser and as soon as I got to actually play around with it and look inside the drawers I knew my customer would be in love with it.  She was looking for something for her craft room to hold all of her supplies- it had to have deep drawers AND shallow ones.  Hello Empire Dresser Makeover!

I label this as semi-custom because I was only given 2 requests:  It had to be pink and have crystal knobs, the rest was up to me.

After hearing so many great things about Fusion Mineral Paint, I just had to give it a try.  I gave her pictures of furniture painted with their 2 shades of pink and she picked the English Rose.

I have debated how to write this up because I always want to be honest, but at the same time I don’t want to be negative toward a company.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of pros to this product and I will definitely use it again, but I honestly had a few very frustrating moments and feel like I should share them.

Problem #1 It was supposed to be a very light and non-bubble gummy shade of pink as pictured by Fusion Mineral Paint themselves.  It came out completely different!  This is not a lighting issue for me as I color-corrected to match the exact shade.  Beautiful!  But not the same…  The only time it looks lighter in my other pictures is because my garage was extremely dark-or way too bright and I threw all kinds of extra exposure on it in photoshop.

Problem #2  They claim 1 pint covers an entire china cabinet.  I put 3 coats of this paint on and I could still see through it!  Not in just a couple places, like I was missing spots, you could see through it everywhere.  After 2 regular and 1 slightly thinned out, trying to stretch out the rest of the container, coats I now needed to buy more paint.

Problem #3  Could possibly be user error, but there were SO MANY brush strokes.  I even watched tutorials from the company to make sure I had the correct brushes and technique.  I hate brush strokes, unless I intentionally put them there, and this was a project that I did not want them with.  Also, as I sanded between coats and after, the paint turned very dark in some areas, mainly where the brush strokes were, so what was started as a “clean” non-distressed paint job, very quickly changed.  It was actually a really cool look, but it was frustrating having it turn out not as expected.

Problem #4  Also as you can see, lots of chipping… Love the chippy look, actually do it quite often, but it would have been much less time consuming and frustrating to just use milk paint if that’s what I had intended.  The dresser had been stripped, sanded and cleaned so that wasn’t the issue…

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  • Strip the old junk off
  • Fill crack and other random holes
  • Remove hardware and cut off small knobs
  • Sand with 180 grit
  • Clean with TSP
  • Tape off drawers
  • Create knob fittings with wooden bead
  • Paint 300 coats of English Rose <- I’m a little dramatic
  • Clean up and add knobs

First thing: I put those ginormous chemical gloves on, get the ones that go up to your elbows, and strip that baby down with Jasco.  That varnish was pretty thick, but came right up after waiting for 10 minutes.  This process feels like it takes forever, but the end product is so much nicer.  I did this only on the top because the rest of it was in good shape and would sand smoothly, but the top was jacked up.

I filled in that big ol’ crack with wood putty and sanded it down.  If I had known it would come out chippy and distressed I would’ve skipped this part because I think it lends to the history and is pretty neat.

Since my customer wanted glass knobs I removed the old hardware and realized that the top little knobs were built into the dresser.  I cut them off, but didn’t realize what I had really done until I was actually DONE and putting the knobs on!

When I realized what I had done AFTER I painted the dresser, I said WTF like 10 times, had a mini panic attack, cried, and then put on my thinking cap.  Damn curved drawers!

BOOM!  I went to Hobby Lobby and found these beads and then cut them on an angle with the scroll saw I got from my mom (thanks for saving my arse mom!), sanded them to fit perfectly against the curve of the dresser and then attached with wood glue.  Then I filled in the tiny gap with wood filler to make it seamless and painted.  I’m sharing this a bit out of order, but now if you’re ever in the same situation you can do this BEFORE you finish.

So where was I??? After stripping, removing hardware, etc I sanded the entire thing down with 180 grit sandpaper.

I look cute, eh?  It was 108 in my garage that day…  After sanding, I vacuumed up the dust and thoroughly cleaned with TSP.  I taped off my drawers and got to work painting.

I already described my paint debacle above with this piece being the most coats ever required EVER to cover it… the one positive is that they say it doesn’t need a top coat.  We’ll see, fingers crossed, so I don’t have to go back and fix this for my customer… that would be super embarrassing.

When all was done being painted, I sanded everything, it chipped everywhere-so I was forced to distress it and then I installed the knobs.  All I could do was shake my head.  Between the paint color being off, the knob situation and unintentional distressed paint job, I had enough of this project.  I let my customer know the drama and assured her that if it wasn’t her style I would find another empire dresser to refinish and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings.  Turns out she loved it and since she was just expecting pink with glass knobs she would’ve never known that the project felt like a mess to me.  Big mouth Jessica…

At the end of the day I did love the way that this project turned out.  Like I love it so much.  The variations in color were different and pretty and the matte finish was perfect.  While it is sometimes frustrating using a new product and not knowing what to expect, thats kind of the name of the game.  Hence why I created this blog… so you know what to expect.

After weeks of sitting on a birthday present -french provincial vanity- from my awesome mother in law, not knowing how I wanted to paint it, I have decided to use the Fusion Mineral Paint in Coral.  I am so excited to get started on it, especially now that I know what to expect!

I hope all of you love this Empire Dresser Makeover just as much as I do!

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