Tuesday, September 2, 2014

before + after: marble top dresser makeover

Kathleen and I found this great 1960s Distinctive by Stanley Furniture dresser on Craigslist a few weeks ago for only $75. It had a few dings and a laminate top that didn't match the finish of the wood, but we loved the style of the dresser and the cool little knobs. Plus, it was so well-made and otherwise in great condition, and the grain on the drawers and sides of the dresser was beautiful. We couldn't really refinish the top so we decided to indulge our marble obsession and cover the laminate with marble contact paper.

supplies used:

marble contact paper
Minwax oil-based wood stain in Honey
foam brushes
Minwax Wipe-On Poly in Clear Satin
cotton rags
Black & Decker Mouse Detail Sander
Diablo 80 and 120 grit sandpaper
Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Clear Gloss
Plaid Brass Liquid Leaf
1/2 inch paintbrush

Since the wood didn't have a lacquered finish, we decided not to strip it and went straight to the sanding. We removed the stain with 80-grit sandpaper and then used the 120-grit to smooth everything out.

After sanding, we applied the stain with foam brushes and wiped it off with paper towels after letting it soak in for a few seconds.

We let the stain dry for a few hours and then applied the wipe-on poly with rags. We applied a second coat after two hours and a third coat after another two hours.

We really loved the original hardware on the dresser and have had great success using liquid leaf on other metal projects so we gave the knobs and washers a good scrubbing, and then they got a quick makeover with 4 coats of brass-colored liquid leaf.

After the dresser and knobs had dried overnight, we applied the contact paper to the top. When we first pulled it out of the box, it honestly didn't look like much, but as soon as we stuck it down, it looked great. The paper came with a handy little tool that made the application very easy. We found it worked best to pull away just a few inches of the backing at a time and use the tool to push out the bubbles towards the unrolled paper. We worked with a few inches of overhang on each side so we didn't have to worry about pulling the paper up and repositioning if we got off track. Then we smoothed it against the edges, trimmed off the excess with a razor blade, and folded it under.

To finish the corners, we cut a diagonal slit between the front and side flap towards the corner, stuck the excess from the front flap to the side edge, and stuck the side flap over it. Then we straightened up the edge with a razor blade. We used the tool to tuck the side flap under the top of the dresser and sliced off the excess with a razor blade.

As far as refinishing furniture goes, this was the easiest project we've ever done. It only took us a weekend to complete and the finished product is exactly what we envisioned. The total cost was about $140 after supplies. The marble contact paper doesn't look real when you put your eyes a few inches from it and inspect the veins, but from a normal standing distance, it actually looks like a piece of marble. We're so pleased with the dresser, and we can't wait to share the total room makeover it's a part of!

tray- West Elm
carafe + glasses- CB2
marble paper- Paper Source
frame- Ikea
candleholders- tutorial here
sheepskin rug- Leatherhead


  1. Your furniture makeovers are so good... this is one of my favorites!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! marble fountain


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