How To Paint An Old Wardrobe: A Quick And Easy Guide
Sometimes the old and worn out pieces of furniture need a new look. You don’t have to spend much money to change them. Simply follow these tips and learn how to give an antique wardrobe a makeover.
This particular wardrobe has five drawers and one large door. I had never seen this cool kind of pull out hanging rod inside a cabinet before. Isn't it genius for it's time? If you're short on closet space for your kiddo, this is perfect! I'm guessing this might be from the late 40's or early 50's. What do you think? This poor little antique wardrobe had been beat up by some kids for sure.
You will notice that most of the images will have the kid's wardrobe on those handy furniture wheel dollies. When the drawers are out of the armoire, it's not very heavy, but it sure is awkward to move around.
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Here's a closeup of the sliding hanging rod. I suppose you could remove the hanging rod, and add shelves, similar to what I did with the camper closet shelves.
Remove Drawers & Hardware
To begin the the makeover on the sad looking antique armoire, I removed the drawers and their knobs. Did I mention this antique was a curb find? So, yeah, it was free. Would you have dragged it home for FREE?
Sand Furniture to Smooth out Old Paint
Not only was it beat up by some kid, I think it may have been painted by the same person. My goal was to remove all hint of the old color, so that the new owner wouldn't have any idea of the shape it had been in. I may or may not have succeeded.
In addition, I needed to try to smooth out the layers of paint where it was chipping. I used sandpaper, sanding sponges, and an orbital sander. If you want to really give the antique piece of furniture new life, you could strip the paint.
More Chippy Old Paint
The top of the antique wardrobe was a challenge, especially by the header in the back. Do you call this type of furniture wardrobes, armoires or chifforobes?
The bottom of the cabinet needed a few repairs. Maybe it was a hideout for the kids?
How Do You Clean an Old Wooden Wardrobe
Of course the kid's wardrobe was a little "grimy". So, I used HTP surface prep, applying with a chip brush, and removing with an old cloth.
We're getting closer to painting the wardrobe!
Painting Kid's Antique Dresser
Although the paint may look white, it's actually All In One Paint (Peony), a very light pink. I prefer using these small rollers for the flat surfaces. It gives the perfect finish. Using the rollers is helpful to keep the paint ONLY on the drawer fronts.
After doing a light first coat with the roller, you can see it doesn't cover everywhere. But I'm okay with that, because rolling is so much faster.
Due to weather conditions, I had to bring the drawers in to do their final coats of paint. Aren't they pretty? Hardly any hint of blue left. More about that later.
Peek-A-Boo Drawer Sides
I apologize for the poor image quality. Do you remember when I did the peek-a-boo drawers on the gray desk? I did those with paint. For the kid's antique wardrobe drawers, I decided to use tissue paper. The drawer on the left is finished. The ones on the right are getting two coats of Mod Podge.
I let the Mod Podge dry thoroughly between coats.
I bought a variety pack of tissue paper on Amazon. This is Watercolor Petal.
After the Mod Podge was dry, I placed a large sheet of tissue paper on the side of the drawer, and "ironed" it on with my easy press. Next, I used a sanding sponge to break off the edge of the tissue paper.
Cricut Easy Press
The easy press was set at 210° for 30 seconds. You could use your clothes iron for this as well.
Why Did I Use Iron on Method for Mod Podge?
I used the iron on method of Mod Podge to get a smoother finish. Because the tissue paper is on the side, I needed to make sure it was smooth enough to not interfere with the operation of opening and shutting the drawers.
In this image you can see what I was talking about using the large sheet, then sanding off the edges to make it fit. If you were to try to cut it first, it would be nearly impossible to apply it straight.
Because I wanted the color to be muted, I chose to use the back side of the tissue paper. It's duller in color and less shiny. I think it's really cool to have double sided tissue paper in extra large sheets!
Decoupage Antique Wardrobe Knobs
After painting the wooden wardrobe knobs, I cut the same pattern out of the tissue paper for each knob. Simply use a dab of Mod Podge to hold the tissue paper. Allow to dry. "Sand" off extra tissue and apply a couple of topcoats.
Use small paper cups to hold the knobs for painting and decoupaging. The screw is in a small hole in the cup. Hold screw. Set cup down. No MESS!
Finish Painting the Antique Wardrobe
Better weather conditions allowed me to finish painting the antique wardrobe outside. Laying it on a work table made it easier to see all the places I missed on the first coat. Luckily I didn't have to repair the veneers.To do the final coats, I used the roller and my favorite small paint brush. There is a lot of heavy lifting when you're doing a furniture makeover.
Sadly, there are still some dents left from it's previous home. With more layers of paint it was lessened.
To make the interior brighter, it was painted white. Notice the wheel dollies are not in use today. They were needed for another awkward heavy project. Using these furniture sliders allowed me to scoot the antique wardrobe on the driveway, down the sidewalk and into the house.
After years of moving furniture by myself, I've got it down pat. The legs have felt pads on them. So, as I scooted it to the porch, lifted it, replaced furniture movers, and scooted it more--into the kitchen. Then I was able to easily slide it on the hardwood floors with no damage. BUT, don't attempt this with the drawers in it.
Little Girl's Antique Dresser with Hanging Storage
Isn't the pink antique wardrobe so much better than the blue one it was before?
Do you love the decoupage drawers and knobs as much as I do?
The amount of storage this little girl's dresser offers is amazing!
I can see this used for an adult as well, what would you use the large storage for? I think it would be great for quilts, blankets and more!
It’s absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your project and your tips for making it work!♥️😊👏
Thank you Linda for checking out my chifferobe makeover. I truly appreciate your kind words. Hoping it finds a perfect home for the holidays.
Love how this turned out! And perfect for baby! I think it would be nice in a bathroom too - extra towels in the large section and/or rugs, and smaller essentials in the drawers.
Someone on facebook mentioned they would use it in a bathroom. That's such a great idea! I really see it growing up with a baby, and staying with her to her home as a grownup. I'm a dreamer! 🙂
It's beautiful. I love the color.
Thanks Lizzy! I hope it finds a fabulous home where it can be loved for many more years.
love it! you did a fabulous job.
Thank you Nova. I can always count on you to visit and check out my latest project. I appreciate you!
So cute, As I am in need of Cabinet, I wud actually use it for a jewelery Armoire, and perfect size to..I saved a door off a cabinet I had about 4 feet tall with a oval mirror just got make make the back and sides & paint it.añd add hooks & whatnot ..& love the trick with tissue paper...thanks for the share dear. Awesome job..
This old wardrobe turned out perfect, any little girl would love it. II, too, am an avid Heirloom Traditions All-in-One Paint user. It’s the only product I use on the antique and vintage pieces I paint for my antique booths. Peony is the perfect pink and I love that you used tissue paper on drawer sides and knobs💖
Thank you Sheryl for your sweet comment.
I love Paula's paint, it is so versatile, and I love the way it covers and cures.
This is so super cute 😍!! Perfect for a little kid. Just adorable!!
Thank you Victoria. Happy to hear you like this latest project.
I love this, its so sweet and a dream for any little girl. I had one years ago, once my son had 'outgrown' it my husband used the hanging side for his trousers, mainly because he had no room left in our joint robe :)) these things are so worth having.xx
Perfect! Hanging trousers is the best idea! Thanks so much for your sweet comment.