Monday, January 13, 2014

Sundance Paintbox Side Table Tutorial

So in my last post, I showed you my version of the Sundance Paintbox Side Table. Today, I'll be giving you the full tutorial.

To recap--I was inspired by this piece: the Sundance Paintbox Side Table

And I decided to try to recreate it using this: the Ikea Rast Dresser.

The inspiration piece has a wonderful rustic look, like it was crafted from random pieces of reclaimed wood. My idea was to create this impression by treating each piece of wood differently. Using the unassembled dresser from Ikea made this very easy, since I was starting with everything in separate pieces. 

Unassembled "Rast" dresser from Ikea ($34.99)
Tools for distressing wood (I used a meat tenderizing mallet, a hammer, and a phillips screw driver)
Wood stain in a dark brown color (I used Varathane Wood Stain in "Espresso")
Paints in 7 different colors (I used my DIY chalk paint--directions are here)
Extra fine sanding block
Rags for distressing
Belt sander (optional)
Paste wax (I used Minwax)
Dark Wax (I used Breewax in Light Brown)
6 drawer pulls or knobs

Step 1: Distress the wood.
The Rast dresser is made of soft unfinished pine, which makes it very easy to distress. When the dresser is assembled, there are 7 surfaces that are visible: 3 drawer fronts, 2 sides, top, and the kick plate. Lay out these pieces with the visible side up. These are the pieces you will want to distress.

Using whatever tools you like (my favorite was the meet tenderizing mallet), beat the heck out of the wood. Try to use an irregular pattern and group the distressed areas together rather than spreading them out over the entire piece of wood. Because I wanted the finished piece to look like it was made out of reclaimed boards, I wanted each piece of wood to look different. So I tried to use a different pattern and type of distress marks on each one. This is the kick plate after I finished distressing it.

If you are planning to use drawer pulls rather than knobs, this would be a good time to fill the predrilled holes with wood putty and sand smooth. Unfortunately, this did not occur to me until MUCH later in the process.

Step 2: Staining
Using dark brown wood stain, cover all the surfaces of all the pieces (including those you didn't distress). You won't want to see any bare wood inside the drawers when you're finished. Wipe down and let dry. Since I was doing this in my garage and it was pretty cold out, it took about 2 days to fully dry.

Step 3: Paint
This is the fun part! Again, because I wanted each piece of wood to look different, not only did I use a different color, I tried to use a different paint technique as well. I used a damp rag to distress as I went along. By pulling off some of the paint, the dark wood is exposed. I varied the amount of distressing and the number of coats of paint on each piece. I just kept working until I was satisfied with the results. For some of the pieces, I used the belt sander to sand through the paint in some areas when it had dried. I topped off most of the pieces with a gray wash to further soften the color and I used dark wax in a few areas.

Here are all the pieces laid out followed by a description of the colors and techniques I used for each piece. 

On the far left is the right side panel. I used Benjamin Moore Ash Blue mixed with a dark gray. I put on several light coats, pulling off color in some areas with the rag and adding additional coats to other areas. I topped it with a gray wash and some dark wax.

On the far right is the left side panel. The paint color is BM Harrisburg Green with some added dark gray. I did heavy distressing in some areas, used the belt sander in spots, and finished with a gray wash.

Middle top is the dresser top. The color is BM Silver Marlin with added dark gray. I did several coats in the center, leaving the edges bare in spots. Then I used a damp rag to soften the edges.

Second from the top is the top drawer front. The color is BM Guilford Green. Just slopped it on carelessly, using 3 coats.

Third from the top is the bottom drawer front. It had one coat of BM Caribbean Blue Water all over. A second coat in the middle. Heavy use of the belt sander. Gray wash on top. Dark wax in spots.

Fourth from the top is the middle drawer front. I used the leftover paint from the Ballard Design Console make over (a light blueish gray). One very thin coat. A second coat, pulling off paint with a damp rag. Sanded through with the belt sander. A final coat of paint used as a wash. Dark wax in spots.

Last is the kick plate. I used left over paint from the Maine Cottage Dresser Knock Off with some dark gray mixed in. Using a damp rag, I removed paint down to the wood surface, topped it with a gray wash, and finished with some dark wax in spots.

Step 4: Wax
I finished each piece with a coat of paste wax. This is SO much easier to do when you're dealing with pieces of wood rather than a finished piece of furniture. I used a brush to spread the wax all over the painted surface and then buffed it with an extra fine sanding block.

Step 5: Assemble
Prior to assembling, you may want to drill holes for the hardware if you are not going to use the existing holes. This is another thing I did not think to do ahead of time...
In any case, assemble the Rast according the instructions.

Step 6: Add hardware.

As noted above, I failed to consider this ahead of time. Once I saw the piece assembled, I decided I wanted to use pulls rather than knobs, but I was stuck with the predrilled holes that I hadn't dealt with earlier in the process. By a stroke of luck, I found these pulls at Target ($25.99 for 6) that had a back plate that covered the extra holes. They are a "soft iron" color and perfectly rustic-looking without being over the top.

And here's the finished product! I was a really fun project to do. I loved trying out different paint techniques and seeing the results. This is a great project to do if you're not great at painting, because it's virtually impossible to mess up. If you don't like something, just paint over it. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Thanks for stopping by!

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2014


  1. Wonderful explanation! Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much! I so glad you found it helpful. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll visit again!

  2. Love the distressed look of this cottage-chic piece. It gives me a nostalgic and somewhat sentimental feeling when I see this, as it reminds me of summers in the Cape. Although I appreciate the fact that this is a DIY, your an artist and this would be difficult for the average person to duplicate.

    Have you ever tried working with original wine crates? They can be stained to a cottage feel, but add a unique wine-themed accent to the cabinet as well.

    If your looking for original wine boxes or crates for future projects visit Winepine -