Empire Dresser in Typewriter

Sep 16, 2019 | Furniture Wax, Hemp Oil, Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint | 0 comments

An empire dresser gets a miss mustard seed’s milk paint makeover

Typewriter is a shade of soft black in the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line. This classy color is a fabulous choice to use on pieces of furniture where you are concerned about bleed-through. The original red stain on this empire dresser was definitely a prime candidate for staining and bleed-through. To combat that issue, I opted to paint it in the ever-gorgeous Typewriter by Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint!

Empire dresser painted in Miss Mustard Seed's Typewriter sealed with Hemp Oil and Furniture Wax by Eight Hundred Furniture

much-need prep work

This empire dresser came to me in quite the state of disrepair! It had chipping bits of veneer all over it. The bottom was starting to become detached from the rest of the body. One of the feet kept falling out of its little hole. The piece was dirty inside and out. It smelled.

You get the idea!

The makeover process started with major structural repair work. I used a lot of wood glue, screws and clamps to get everything back together. I also removed the decorative columns that adorned the front. The goal was to simplify the lines of the piece. It was all just a bit too much for my taste. They came off easily with a chisel and a hammer. I saved them though, so don’t stress out thinking that I threw them away! I think they would make a lovely matching set of lamps, to be honest!

I had a lot of holes and big patches of missing veneer to fill in, so I broke open a can of Bondo (affiliate link) and did some major repair work. This product smells very strong, and you need to have good ventilation when you use it. Despite its strong odor, it works like a champ!

Once the Bondo was dry, I sanded the entire piece down with my Festool Mini Orbital Sander. Not only did this smooth out all of the Bondo, it also created a nice even surface for me to paint with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.

I didn’t fix all of the chipped spots. There’s a certain amount of imperfection that comes with antique pieces of furniture, like my dresser. As long as the piece is aesthetically pleasing and is structurally sound, I leave most of the character alone and let the piece be what it is.

Detail shot of beautiful onlay on Empire Dresser

As you can see in these photos, there are bits of trim missing and little chunks taken out here and there. I didn’t stress out about these spots nor did I fix them. They’re part of the piece’s history and charm.

Close up of chipped spot on Empire Dresser

Choosing Typewriter

Once all of the structural repairs were taken care of, and the piece was sanded down, I didn’t have much of a choice in the way of color choices. This piece had a very reddish-brown stain that is typical of antique furniture. It’s the kind of stain that is notorious for causing bleed-through and staining. Because I’m a bit under the gun to get pieces ready for my upcoming Witches Antique & Artisan Show in October, I don’t really have time to spend priming.

To make my life easier, I picked Typewriter by Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.

This color black is very soft and quiet, much like the faded black you see on antique typewriters! It covered in two quick coats and I didn’t have to worry about stains wriggling their way through the surface. You won’t see them through black paint!

Top left corner of Empire Dresser painted in Typewriter by Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

This piece also has some of my favorite features – hand cut dovetail joints!

Hand cut dovetailed joints on Empire Dresser by Eight Hundred Furniture

tips for sealing typewriter

Typewriter looks best when sealed with Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil. It makes the black color come to life and gives it a rich and deep quality. The problem with Hemp Oil though, is that it’s a finish suitable for low to medium use surfaces. The top of a dresser is where most people will put their decorative goodies, so the piece needed a bit more protection than Hemp Oil alone.

So I opted to top my Hemp Oil off with some buttery soft Furniture Wax.

Furniture Wax Open

You read that correctly – you CAN layer Miss Mustard Seed’s wax finishes over Hemp Oil. Just make sure you always do Hemp Oil FIRST, then follow up with wax. When in doubt, just follow the alphabet. “H” and “O” come before “W”. Wax is always last.

The result is the best of both worlds – the rich dark black from the Hemp Oil and the added durability of wax.

Empire dresser painted in Typewriter by Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint


I had a BLAST staging this piece, which is unusual for me! Typically I struggle with staging because it doesn’t come naturally to me the way finishing furniture does. I can “see” a piece finished off in a particular color by just looking at it. But when it comes to staging that piece, I struggle a bit trying to accessorizing it so it looks sellable.

On my last picking trip to Morgantown Market, I got all sorts of fabulous finds to stage my pieces. This alabaster lamp caught my eye immediately.

Alabaster lamp, bundle of books, clock faces, vintage photo, brass buffalo

I also scooped up these amber bottles, silver ice bucket, antique photos and wooden balls.

Amber bottles, silver ice bucket, wooden balls, antique photo

My favorite finds though, were these clock faces!

Collage of clock faces, amber bottles, alabaster lamp, wooden balls, silver ice bucket

Aren’t they incredible?! I loved creating a little collage with them (using Marc’s long arms, of course).

witches fly north antique & artisan show – october 4-5 – Lebanon, pennsylvania

All of these vintage and antique finds will be traveling with me to the “Witches Fly North Antique & Artisan Show” on October 4-5 at the Lebanon Expo Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about and haven’t seen my posts on social media or read my blog in a little bit, you can find out more information about it here.

I’ll have a big ‘ol booth filled with painted furniture, antique finds and of course, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint! I’m also bringing General Finishes stains and topcoats as well. In addition to having a booth space, I’m going to be teaching demonstrations on a stage to show you all the goodness that Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint has to offer. The fun is happening Friday, October 4th and Saturday, October 5th at the Lebanon Expo Center. You do need to purchase tickets to get into this event, which you can do so at the gate.

See ya there!

Empire dresser painted in Typewriter by Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

Welcome to my happy place!
I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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