My Father built this Chest of Drawers for me when I graduated High School in 1963. It has been loved, used and abused for many years.
I took it apart and cleaned it, inside and out, with Vinegar and water. Then I used liquid TSP to remove grease and to help the paint adhere. I let it dry for 2 days.
Step 1: Primed With Kilz and Zinser
I sanded with medium then fine blocks, then I primed everything with Kilz and Zinser. I had both so I used both. I prime or finish all raw wood, especially in a dresser. I want to put in a sweater and know it is safe. I prime inside and out...top and bottom. I made some repairs and filled in some gouges with wood filler. I do this after I prime so I can see them better. Then I prime again over. Overkill? Probably. But it's worth it to me in the results.
Step 2: Paint Drawer Pulls
I cleaned and scrubbed...and scrubbed the original copper drawer pulls. I wanted to keep as much of my Dad as possible, so I kept the pulls and spray painted them with a hammered antique spray paint. It was a major brand, but I wasn't real happy with the process, so I won't mention any name. I had to spray them 4 times to get the look that I wanted. I put the screws into the pull and stuff them into packing styrofoam to stand up while I spray.
Step 3: Paint and Distress
I make my own paint. I usually buy the "mistints" in colors that I know I can improve and use. I used a White Behr primer and paint from Walmart then added a brown to make an Antique white. I painted everything the antique white. The inside of the drawers is 2 layers of Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint. I love it. I love the pop of color. On the main body of the chest, I distressed it with 2 coats of Dark Min Wax. The Dark was was applied all over and then buffed. Then applied heavier in certain spots to get a distressed look, left on a little longer, then buffed. I use and old t-shirt to buff. I like the contrast of the main chest and the drawers.
Step 4: Sketch the Design on the Drawers
I double checked the position of each drawer in the chest and labeled them on the back of the drawer. I then stacked them, as best I could...and began sketching my design onto them with a graphite pencil. Very messy, but the outcome was worth it. When I was happy with the sketch, I got out my Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint and went to town...making sure that no dark paint oozed between the drawers onto the top or the bottom.
Step 5: Finished Chest of Drawers
When I assembled the chest in my bedroom, I made some slight paint touch ups to make sure everything aligned as well as could be. I then used 2 coats of Clear Min Wax to seal the drawers. The clear wax was rubbed on the whole drawer, inside and out...then buffed.