Painting with white can be SUCH a chore! But when you use General Finishes Brushable White Enamel, it’s more like a dream. Read all about how I used Brushable White Enamel (BWE) to give an oak dresser a much-needed update!
Bright white paint always provides a fresh and clean update to any piece of furniture. Take this oak dresser for example.
At Morgantown Market, I saw it staged with a large mirror on top. It loomed over you and made you want to step back away from it. It was basically an intimidating dresser!
The owner of Morgantown Market wound up separating the mirror from the dresser and once I saw it by itself, it was a no-brainer. I bought it and loaded it up into The Marshmallow (my truck). It was no small feat because the piece is completely solid oak wood. Despite the fact it only has 5 drawers, it’s super heavy!
I had a vision of the dresser looking light and airy. I wanted it to fit in a farmhouse home, a coastal beach house or a country cottage. To achieve this look, I started the makeover process by prep cleaning and sanding the dresser. You can learn more about that part by watching the video below.
Next, I applied 2 coats of BIN Shellac Based White Tinted Primer. Here’s what the product looks like:
It’s very important to wait for your primer to completely dry. Once that happened, I applied 2 coats of Brushable White Enamel (BWE) by General Finishes. This is a brand new product that combines bright white paint with a durable topcoat. It comes in 2 shine levels – Satin and Semi Gloss. I opted for the Satin shine.
This product is a total game-changer when it comes to painting with white paint because it drastically reduces the chances of yellowing from occurring. Normally what you would do is prime, paint your bright white paint on and then cover it all with a water based topcoat. The problem with those steps is that the topcoat may puddle in the corners of your piece, causing yellowing. It may also activate layers underneath, drawing stains up to the surface.
That’s not a problem with BWE! Because this is a paint and topcoat in one, you’re doing those last 2 steps at the same time! There’s no separate topcoat to apply. As the paint dries, the topcoat reveals itself, leaving you with a super durable finish in less time.
I applied 2 coats of the BWE with a ClingOn! F50 brush and gently distressed the edges of my piece. It was a bit of a gamble because I was revealing the original finish that I was trying to cover over in the first place, but the piece needed it. It looked like a boring white box otherwise.
Those heavy original pulls were swapped out in exchange for simple cup pulls with a rubbed bronze finish. They are much cleaner and they allow you to “see” the piece and appreciate its lines. They’re noticeable but not loud.
I completely stripped and sanded down the top. The result was a stunning quarter sawn oak. The original color of the oak wood was much lighter than the original red/orange stain, so I stained it with General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain in “Whitewash”. It got caught in all of the grooves and added the soft and airy feel I was going for. I sealed it with 2 coats of High Performance Topcoat in Flat.
See those flecks of darker areas? That’s the grain pattern that is produced when an oak log is sawn in quarters as opposed to horizontal boards.
I absolutely love the look and I think it adds so much character and charm.
That grain pattern is a dead giveaway that the piece is solid wood. It’s a hint at what lies beneath!
I made sure not to take any of the paint around the edges of the drawers to preserve the joinery and craftsmanship of the piece.
This piece has come a long way. It took a lot of expertise and time to strip, sand, prime, layer and execute my vision for this piece. There were a lot of ways that things could have gone wrong, but thanks to top-notch products from General Finishes, this dresser is ready to be loved for another century!