Dresser Before and After

Refinished French Provincial | High Gloss Furniture

High Gloss Furniture With Automotive Paint

I was lured in by the smooth shine of something glossy.

One day I was fine painting with chalk paint and putting satin and matte finishes on things, then Lisa comes back from a Texas flea market with the most beautiful, glossy, blue dresser you’ve ever seen.  I decided that very day that I had to figure this out, and give auto paint a whirl.

(This post is yet another example of getting swept up in the momentum of doing something I haven’t done before.  My brain is commandeered by ideas and I just have to scoot over to the passenger seat and get comfortable.)



What I Used

Duplicolor Paint Shop primer, paint, and clear coat found at my local Pep Boys. (automotive store)

-Acetone for cleanup and to thin the paint for sprayer use.  (I just followed the instructions on back of paint cans.)

Duplicolor Primer Paint Top Coatacetone to thin automotive paint

-Husky paint sprayer. (Note: It’s imperative to always clean these guns properly.  Had to say it.)

-Air compressor set to recommended PSI listed on the back of spray gun.

Painting Furniture With a Spray GunAir compressor used with a paint gun


I did all the usual prep work…

-removed hardware

-scrubbed down and cleaned with TSP

-scuffed and sanded with steel wool and orbital sander

-wiped down with deglosser

-taped off the interior of the drawers, etc. with painters tape and plastic

Prep Work For Dresser RedoPrep Work With Deglosser


I ALWAYS USE A CHEMICAL RESPIRATOR  and you should too.  AND, I had plenty of ventilation in my work area.  AND, I covered anything I didn’t want turning yellow from the overspray.

The instructions on the paint told me to use acetone to thin the paint, and a strainer when adding paint to the canister on the gun. Acetone was also listed as the solvent to clean the gun with.

Before I actually sprayed any part of the dresser, I tested the pattern and fluid flow on some cardboard.  (Seriously, when you have the instructions for the paint, gun, and compressor handy, you learn all sorts of things.)

prime dresser with automotive paint

There’s only a 5-10 minute wait between coats because of the fast drying time.  The first coat should be light and thin,  just like the rule with regular spray paint.  I lightly sanded between coats and used a tack cloth to remove dust.  A few minutes after the second coat, I tested a spot by scratching with my fingernail… wow.  Automotive primer sticks! (If you prep well.)  That stuffs not scuffing off.


The quick drying time allowed me to move right into the next step.  Making sure surfaces were dust free, I sprayed while keeping my gun level in a slow sweep.

*This part is hard to describe because the speed in which you move the gun is affected by the the set paint flow  and spray pattern. Basically, if paint is applied too heavy, you get sagging and runs.  If you don’t apply heavy enough, you get poor coverage or hide.  It’s  a situation with varying factors.  I just had to play around for a minute on that piece of cardboard.

Another factor that comes into play:  particulates!

Because I needed the ventilation, I had both garage doors, a window, and a side door open.  That is an open invite to any and all free floating specks to come and fall gently onto your freshly airbrushed surface.

Painting with automotive paint

I can’t tell you how many coats I did because hey- it’s yellow.  The most see-through color. Ever.  I basically “eyeballed it” and moved back over spots with my gun a number of times until it looked ok.  Then, in the middle of everything, I had to leave to buy another can of yellow because I ran out before I was happy with the coverage.  (One can might have been fine had I not been so spotty with my application.  I jumped around a lot.  Plus, it didn’t help that it was night time, and I felt blind.  I don’t recommend painting anything without the light of day to see by.  But, I was on a schedule.)  Oh, by the way, I only needed one can of primer and clear coat.


Thanks to my less than stellar job at covering evenly with the yellow, and thanks to a few “particulates”, I was forced to do some distressing after the last coat to have the overall look congruent.  (Not my original plan.)  My trusty cabinet blade/scraper did well for that, followed up by acetone on a rag.  (I rubbed the acetone rag over the scraped parts to make the “distressed” detail blend.)

distressing a paint jobacetone on paint


distressed auto paint job on furniture

I also sanded some of the orange peel texture that mysteriously showed up under daylight.

Sanding paint finish

Clear coat.

I waited to distress and clear coat until the next day (as you might have noticed by the sudden sunlight in the photos.)  That had nothing to do with drying time, (once again, this stuff dries fast) it had everything to do with my desire to see it during daylight before I went further.

I followed the same directions as stated with priming and painting, and  spray painted the hardware with regular silver spray paint.

gloss finish on a dresser

I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of paint smell coming from the piece just a few hours later.  (I know dad, just because I can’t smell the chemicals, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.)  😉  I waited  a day or two to bring it in the house.  Now comes the excitement of hiding away –Imeanorganizing!– things in it’s drawers.  Drawers are the best secret keepers.  At least… until someone opens them…


Refinished Dresser gloss furniture

Dresser Before and After


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