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Dresser Makeover: Buttons & Poet’s Paint

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I don’t think I have ever showed you one side of my bedroom, the wall directly across from the bed.  There was not much there except a big 1980’s cherry entertainment center cabinet. It was the first piece of furniture Ed and I bought on our own when we were married 30 years ago, a piece that was not handed down to us.

We used it in our family room for about 10 years and then when we moved to our current house,  we moved it to our bedroom since we had new furniture for the family room.  It held a small TV and some out-of-season clothes.  It filled the space against the wall nicely, but I was not a fan of the color. Since it had become obsolete, it wasn’t a piece I wanted to paint. I figured since my eyes were closed 80% of the time I was in the room, I could live with it.


Then one day earlier this year when we were moving furniture out of the basement, I realized that two shelving units we had there would no longer be used.  I decided then and there that I was going to bring them up from the basement to replace the outdated entertainment center. Use-what-I-had decorating was my new plan for the wall.

Dresser makeover using Poet's paint waterglass paint

That move alone made a huge difference.  It wasn’t until I added a Tarva dresser from IKEA between the two shelving units that I really liked it. I still have to accessorize the shelves – not sure yet what I want to place in them.  Probably more baskets for hidden storage.

I bought the Tarva dresser when I made it to the Final Four of the BHG March Makeover Madness Challenge.  We were told in advance that it was what we were going to make over. I decided to buy one so I could experiment at home with my idea to make sure it would work once I got to Des Moines for the challenge.  After the challenge, I didn’t have a use for it and placed it in the basement for one of my daughters to eventually use in one of their apartments.

The shelving units were white when we bought them, but with their age they had become slightly off-white.  I didn’t want to paint the them, so I looked for a color to paint the Tarva dresser to match.


I found the perfect color match in a can of Vintage White Poet’s Paint Waterglass Paint that I had recently received and planned to use on a thrift store stool for a product review.

What is Waterglass Paint


Poet’s Paint Waterglass Paint is made by adding a substance known as “sodium silicate”, which is liquid glass, into the paint.  Adding waterglass gives your paint project an excellent durable and hard finish that will last for years.  It may take a wee bit more muscle to distress the finish but you can be assured that your hard work will pay off with an outstanding chalk-like matte finish which will rival the best chalk paints on the market.

Waterglass is often added to cement and other coatings to provide a hard surface and has the ability to passively retard fires when added in large quantities. Although our Waterglass Paint is not considered fire retardant, it does provide an exceptionally durable surface.


One of the biggest misconceptions about painting with chalk-based paints is that they are only used if you want to create an aged distressed finish. The painted finish does not have to be distressed or aged. It can be left alone to look modern and new.

I am frequently asked why I use chalk-based paints instead of a just a can of latex.  One of the reasons… latex alone leaves a stickiness on painted surface even after it is dry. When you place something on it, the item sticks to the surface and you hear a “sticky”sound when you remove the item. This does not happen with chalk paint and wax.  The other reason I love using chalk-based paints on furniture… the finish and patina looks professional,  not like just a piece of painted furniture.


The other part of the dresser makeover was to add some style to the plain wood knobs that came on the dresser. After looking at knobs at Anthropologie, I decided to do a little styling of my own using my button stash.


DIY’ing the existing ones saved me about $50 since I didn’t have to buy anything new.  More of the “use-what-I-have” decorating plan.

How to Make Drawer Pulls Using Buttons

If you don’t have a stash of buttons, you can find buttons at hobby and craft stores, or cut them from clothes before you throw them away.  If you want to find a big collection, check on ebay, auctions, and retirement home thrift stores. They are where I have found most of mine.

I chose abalone buttons to coordinate with a glass lamp in the room that has an opalescent quality to it. I accented them with gold buttons

  • If the button has a shank, cut the shank off using wire cutters.
  • I used glue to attach the gold button to the flat abalone buttons and then to the drawer pulls.
  • Wait until glue dries before placing the knobs back on to the drawers


 How to Paint with Poet’s Paint


Like chalk paint, Poet’s Paint can be applied without a primer.  I used my trusty angled Purdy paint brush to paint the dresser. I did a spot paint treatment over each knot in the wood before painting the entire surface to make sure the knots were sealed well and any tannins in them would not bleed through. Once they were covered, I used 3 light coats over the dresser, letting each coat dry before applying the next coat. It dries very fast.  The paint went on very smooth and I did not need to sand the finish. I started in the morning and was done by early afternoon.

When the paint was dry I used Fiddes and Sons clear wax to protect and bring up a subtle shine so that the dresser would match the shelving units. I waited 48 hours before using it or placing anything on the top so the paint had a chance to cure.

  Furniture Painting Tips:  

The Best Dropcloth 


  • When I get lazy and don’t want to carry a piece of furniture to my garage or basement to paint, I have found the best drop cloth to use is a flattened cardboard box.
  • When you place the item on it you can easily turn it around to reach all sides of the piece you are working on from one position. You can just swirl the cardboard to view the side you need to work on. Since the cardboard slides easily on flooring it makes painting furniture in place or close to were it will go very easy.
  • If you don’t finish painting in one day, you can simply slide the cardboard with the furniture still on it out of the way until you have time to work on it again.
  • Easy clean-up. Simply fold the cardboard up and store it to use for your next project. I keep a few of the opened boxes propped up in my garage so I have them on hand when I want to paint.

The Easy Way to Paint Cabinet and or Furniture Knobs

The easy method to paint furniture knobs

  •  Use Styrofoam from packaging to create a tray of sorts.  Punch the drawer knob screws up from under the Styrofoam and then screw the knob on.  The knobs are secure, but you can move the Styrofoam all around with one hand and paint with your other hand to reach all sides of the knob.
  • If using spray paint, cover the Styrofoam with paper or foil first or use a piece of cardboard instead of Styrofoam.  Spray paint will eat the foam.

One more project done in my bedroom refreshing makeover.  I am a big fan of paint and using what I have to create “new” in my home.  By keeping an open mind, I created something much better for the wall in my bedroom.

If you would like to find out more information about Poet’s Paint, check out their website:  Poet’s Paint Waterglass Paint  It only comes in 4 colors so far, but I was told more will be added soon.


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  1. WOW, my comment is LONG OVERDUE. I totally adore your blog for SO many reasons. This post is amazing. Please accept my thank you for all the time and effort you put into inmyownstyle. It’s my all time #1 go to place for great infro and tutorials that are perfect. Plus, you are simply adorable in every way. I vote for you whenever possible in your endeavors. Wishing you continued success and blessings.
    Warm Regards, Lesa

    1. Hi Lesa – Thank you for leaving me such a nice comment. You made my day. XOXO It makes me happy to know that you like what I write about. Blogging does take a lot of time and effort, but I love it…it was what I was meant to do. I truly enjoy sharing what I know to help and inspire others. Thanks for the votes.

  2. I’m in love with these knobs! I just refinished a dresser and bought very similar knobs at Hobby Lobby – had to wait for them to be on sale! I never even thought I could create the same look with buttons – YEAH!
    You are simply amazing …….how ever do you think up these things!!
    Thank you, thank you!

    1. Hi Debbie – I worked in retail display for many years. We had no budget and had to be resourceful to come up with ways to decorate the store only using items we had in a prop room. We saved everything so we could take it apart and reuse it to make something new.

  3. What terrific idea Diane, I love your inspirations and interesting news about glass paint, must check it out and see if available in Oz :)

  4. Styling, painting an IKEA dresser, using buttons to great effect, brilliant drop-cloth alternative AND the best way to paint drawer knobs. Five posts in one… Now that’s what I call a great article, Diane! Duly pinned

    1. Thanks Suzy –

      I wanted to show all my steps and methods on how I paint to get a project done quickly. I have found the little tips and tricks that I post about – I take for granted, thinking it is how everyone does it. It is these posts that get the most pins and engagement. :-)