Purple Ombre Dresser





Introduction: Purple Ombre Dresser

Making a unique and beautiful obmre dresser is probably easier then you think. Ombre means shaded or graduated in tone of color.

Step 1: Find an Ugly Duckling Dresser

Find a piece of furniture that is currently not something you want in your home, but has the potential to be your pride and joy.

Step 2: Supplies You Will Need

-sandpaper and/or orbital sander


-mask and eye protection

-wood filler

-paint and paint brush

-air tight containers and tablespoon


-tact cloth

-new hardware and drill (if needed)

-top coat (polycrylic or furniture wax)

Step 3: Sanding

Use the screwdriver to remove all the old hardware. If you are going to keep it make sure you store it in a safe place so you don't lose the screws. Now comes the worst part of the whole project in my opinion. Sand the dresser using an orbital sander or hand sand. It takes a lot more time and muscles if you hand sand, but remember you want to remove the sheen so the paint will stick. Make sure to sand all the drawer fronts and sides of the dresser.

Step 4: Fill in the Holes, Sand and Wipe Clean

If you are going to use new hardware that is not the same size as the old hardware now is the time to fill in all the holes with wood filler. Also look around the dresser for areas that have scratches or cracks that need filled before you paint. (On a side note sometimes its easier to see the small cracks after the first coat so you might find you need to putty again after the first coat.) Once the filler you used has fully cured sand it down with a fine grit sandpaper. Wipe down the dresser with a tact cloth to remove all debris.

Step 5: Mix Paint

I bought three different sample sizes of paint. Two in the purple color I was painting the main part of the dresser and one in white (just the un-tinted sample.) Take one of the purple containers and the white containers and measure the paint into containers to get the gradient of the ombre. I had 4 drawers so I put 5 tablespoons of paint into each container.

Drawer 1: 1 tablespoon purple and 4 tablespoon white

Drawer 2: 2 tablespoon purple and 3 tablespoon white

Drawer 3: 3 tablespoon purple and 2 tablespoon white

Drawer 4: 4 tablespoons purple and 1 tablespoon white

I made sure to use a sharpie to write the number of the drawer on each container because they were very close and I did not want to mix then up.

Step 6: Paint

Paint the dresser! I like to use an angled brush and make sure to paint with the wood grain. I also made sure the keep the drawers in order so they did not get confused. Because I did not have a lot of each paint color for the drawer I did not want to wash the brush and all the paint in it between each coat on the drawers. I used the trick of wrapping the brush tightly in a plastic bag making sure to . You want to make sure to wrap it tight and swish the bag against the brush so there is no air touching it. A few house later (or even a day or two later if you wrap it well) the brush will still be wet and ready to use. I put three coats of paint on this dresser and drawers.

Step 7: Trick to a Smooth Finish

To get a smooth finish I use 400 grit sandpaper and lightly sand between each coat. If you use a flat to satin finish you can also sand after your last coat. I feel like this step makes all the difference in the finial product. I have found that if you use a semi-gloss or gloss you do not want to sand after the last coat because it ruin the sheen. After you sand wipe down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

I found unfinished wood pulls and painted them the same color as the main part of the dresser. Nothing is worse then spending hours refinishing a dresser and then installing uneven or crooked hardware so make sure to measure twice drill once when installing your hardware (if using new).

To protect the paint you can finish by coating the dresser with Polyacrylic (spray or paint on). It will change the sheen of the dresser but will not yellow over time like Varnish. I also use a furniture wax to protect my painted furniture (instead of polyacrylic) if I know the piece will not be overly abused. It does not change the sheen but will also not protect the piece as well.

Step 9: Enjoy

Enjoy your beautiful new pieces of furniture!

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21 Discussions

I'm going to do this...found this piece for $10, so 'what could go wrong'? I'll post when I am done, thanks for the idea. "Ombre" eh?


Beautiful job and well worth the effort! Also thank you so much for including the mixing formula to achieve the ombre effect.

My tip: Re storing a paint brush in between uses; whether it be latex (acrylic) or oil base paints if you wrap them tightly in tinfoil first and secure them in a plastic bag as you described then toss them in the freezer, they will keep up to several months. (This also works for roller sleeves.) Just ensure you label the baggie. ☺ Before removing the tin foil and using; thaw at room temperature first.

Very nice (espacially nice since purple is my favorite colour). Great job.

I've done something like this but I merely added one spoonful of the lighter shade to the pail after each panel I painted (one coat only.) Nice job.

Beautiful piece!! I have a friend who has started refinishing furniture, I will have to share this with her.

Forgot how good painted furniture can look. You share with us many good tips. Are you a professional crafstman / is there one in your family? I like that many steps are without photos, you explained it all so well!
this was inspiring . Thank you!

1 reply

Thank you! My Dad and husband are very handy and help me with some of my pieces, but this one was simple enough for me to be myself. I refinish furniture as a hobby and a little me-time away from my four kids during nap time.

Very Nice!

Great color and sheen. Well done :~)

Those wouldn't happen to be dovetail drawers by any chance would they?

3 replies

WOW, yard sale find or family heirloom?

Top quality piece if it has dovetail drawers.

Craigslist find, I just loved the curved front. My mother-in-law did say she had one just like it as a girl.

You mentioned to wipe with a damp cloth after sanding ... I use these - Tack Cloth - picks up residue and dust and doesn't smear. Return them to the bag and reuse for the next project ... http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-Tack-Cloths-3-Pack-88-WFTC3/100295475

Tack Cloth.jpg
1 reply

I do have some tack cloth that I use sometimes before painting and between coats but I like to use a damp cloths after my last coat.

Wonderful instructable!

This is something that's easily do-able and looks so good. You laid out the instructions well and the finished result is great! I'll definitely be using this the next time I tart up a chest of drawers!

Thanks for posting this - an easy thing to do that looks great and one I wouldn't have thought of myself.

G'day. What a beautiful job you made of a very unpromising piece of furniture.The sanding required was awesome. Congratulations!

Great Instructable. I need to to paint a dresser next week for my sons room, and am so doing this. will vote once entered in the contest.


3 years ago

You should enter the paint contest

1 reply

Thanks, I did enter it into the paint contest but an waiting to be approved. I would love your vote once I am!

Very professional looking and very nice. now I'm tempted to find unwanted furniture off of craigslist and give it new life.

I would have never thought of doing that. I love instructables like this , easy, approachable, creative. Looks great!