With our paint, you can often just clean the dirt off a piece and start painting. However, your paint is only as good as the substrate, the layer underneath. If your project has ‘character’ or perhaps some minor ‘flaws,’ you may need to do some prep work to the piece. You have to start with a good base if you expect exceptional results.

This Drexel dresser is a perfect piece to show you when you may need to do prep work. It has multiple issues that I need to address before it is painted.

before piece

What problems does this piece have?

  • Paint Drips

  • Mahogany Wood

  • Deep Scratches

  • Scrapes

  • Previously Used Wood Filler

  • Missing Hardware

wood filler



So, what will I have to do to fix these issues? I will be lightly sanding to remove the paint drips and smooth the finish. Applying the wood filler is next. I am filling in the scrapes and deep scratches.

After the wood filler dries, I’ll sand again and then apply a primer since this is mahogany. What?! Primer? I thought you didn’t need a primer with these types of paints? Some woods or original finishes have a tendency to bleed through paint, especially mineral-based ones. In cases where you have a red finish, especially those from the 20’s-40’s, or a finish that may be slick or greasy feeling, you will want to save yourself the trouble and use a blocking primer. This will help prevent the color, oils, or tannins from showing up as the paint dries.


Sanded Well After Wood Filler

Primed Piece, Ready for Base Coat

Primed Piece, Ready for Base Coat


Next I am mixing a custom color for my base coat. I am using Young Kansas Wheat, Cinco Bayou Moss, and California Gold. I often mix a color up when I have small amounts of paint leftover from larger projects. Any of these colors would have been beautiful on their own as a base coat, but together they make an old-world style neutral that will be perfect peeking out from underneath my primary color.

custom mix Collage

Want to see what happens next? Make sure you watch our Facebook LIVE post on Saturday, November 19 at 4p MST (currently, that’s 2hrs behind east coast time or 1 hr before pacific time). I will be painting this piece at 5ive – A Vintage Market, so if you happen to be in the Prescott, AZ area, you could come see it in person! See more info about that here.