Painted Subway-Car Dresser Tutorial

Feeling nostalgic for all things Boston (my hometown), I hatched a fun plan for a makeover of a waterfall-style dresser to look like a Boston Subway Car.

Dresser Plan Workbook

The dresser I sourced had some issues with the finish making it a good candidate for painting.

Waterfall Dresser Before

Waterfall furniture was mass-produced from the 1920′s-1940′s with new plywood construction techniques that made it affordable to introduce curvilinear elements into furniture construction.

Waterfall Dresser Before Side

I usually avoid painting waterfall style furniture at all costs! That was until I came across a vintage postcard of a Boston Street Car when a more playful plan for the dresser came to life.

Trolley Postcard

Seeing this postcard evoked so many happy memories for me!  Growing up in Boston, the MBTA Green Line was a lifeline to many activities in the city.  My favorite green line station is KENMORE or Kenmore Square– home of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox.  Images of the big green wall, the iconic CITGO sign and the hustle and bustle of this vibrant section of the city immediately came to mind!

Dresser Plan WorkbookP2

Once I had the subway-car inspired design plan mapped out in my Workbook, I used Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan to paint the design onto the surface.  I started with an under-painting of Graphite and Paris Grey.

Underpainting

I also planned on using Annie’s Sloan’s Old White but needed to get into some mixing for that signature subway-car green.

Antibes + Florence          Custom Green Mix
An equal mix of Annie Sloan’s Antibes Green and Florence did the trick.

Taping Off

I taped-off areas of the dresser as I went to keep the lines more clean.  At this point I decided to forgo adding the mirror and back support.  The mirror was in pretty bad shape and the support just didn’t look right without it.

IMG_5300

For the lettering, I made my own stencils– printing them on card stock and cutting them with an X-Acto knife.

Stencil Print Out             Kenmore Stencil

I did some dry brushing of Old White and Graphite on the windows and headlight to add shading and dimension.  A script liner brush was used to free-hand the curved lines.

Window

To add character and grittiness to the piece, a wet distress technique was used to reveal some of the Graphite under the custom green mix.   A wash of Graphite was also used to add to the effect.

Graphite Wash

Once the trolley was all detailed, it was finished with Annie Sloan’s Clear & Dark Soft Wax.

Subway Car Dresser After

Just in time for its maiden voyage…

Subway Dresser Sideview After

NEXT STOP KENMOOORE!

This dresser is for sale at Sea Rose Cottage – proceeds to benefit the One Fund Boston.  Please contact us for more information.

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