Paisley and Cypress {Sawdust and Embryos}
Make an old tray into a gorgeous decorative mosaic tray using just about ANYTHING as the mosaic! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Tutorial: Painting Furniture {using a projector}

So my friend brought us this serious clunker of a dresser. Solid, chunky and 80’s if I do say so myself. She wanted us to make it purrrty for her impending baby girl to use as a changing table in their nursery!


She had purchased this absolutely adorable bedding for the nursery, and wanted us to coordinate the crib sheet into our design for the changing table. Isn’t this bedding absurdly cute?


The dresser had some funky-weird engraved designs on a couple drawers that needed to be gone… like yesterday.


So after wood-puttying/sanding about 5 times, and lightly sanding the whole dresser and drawers, we primed with Kilz, and painted the whole thing a lovely shade of Krylon Peekaboo Blue. Easy enough, no?


Then, using a photograph of the crib sheet, I cropped it around one of the roses and printed the image blown up to 8.5 x 11, and then traced the flower onto a transparency via Sharpie! Do you see where I’m going with this?
P3102767 - Copy
You guessed it. With my handy overhead projector I blasted the flower image asymmetrically onto the dresser (similar to our very own changing table in our twin girls’ nursery!). When I had it just where I wanted it, I used a pencil to lightly trace! Or if you’re super-human, consider free-handing it and let me know how that works for ya!



Then I got busy painting, using simple Folk Art acrylic paints. Obviously the more complex your design, the more time-consuming and tedious things become. But the outcome is soooooo worth it! No creativity needed! ANYBODY can do this. All you need is a relatively steady hand!


The original hardware wasn’t altogether unfortunate, but it was just a little too… brass. Ain’t nothin’ a little sanding, priming and painting white wouldn’t fix! And whatdoyaknow? It looks amazing! I was worried we might need to hunt down some perfect hardware… but NO! Lucky break for sure.
rochelle's changing table
So there you have it! Check out our other projects that we’ve used the overhead projector for here.

Spring Babes
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08905714763466257920 lyndyjo

    Beautiful, Beth! I love it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07816754017741250677 calcottc

    AMAZING! You are so talented!
    I have a couple questions for you-
    When you prime with Kilz do you brush it on or use the spray paint?
    After you paint your design with the acrylic paint, do you finish with a clear coat?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08796491818030525953 Liz Brown

    I am pinning this … right now. Cool! Never thought of using a projector for this sort of thing. :)

  • http://www.babyoye.com/baby-nursery/baby-furniture-1.html baby furniture

    Impressive art,Your painting looks amazing and thanks for sharing such nice photographs of your paintings in my opinion you should apply non allergic and harmless paint for paintings,thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02443974012330238758 Me

    This is gorgeous! I don’t know how you find the time but kudos to you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00878018108947562111 Cassy

    I totally was inspired by this rose and did a dresser in monochromatic colors! You should check it out…thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00585916759532319963 Bethany

    Cassy, it looks AWESOME! Great job! i loooooove the soft monochromatic colots!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15546577517528035613 Sarah @Savvy Young Something

    Oh my gosh! I love this! So graphic and cool. This further confirms my desperate want for a projector!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12403824585566313150 Maria Deleon

    I am absolutely in love with this dresser! Gorgeous!

  • Amy Kann

    Hi! Loved your changing table and it inspired me to try a project myself,I started painting my image but am just frustrated with the brush marks! GRRR I am useing regular latex low luster and an art brush, I fear I will have to sand it off and use craft paint?
    (re-trace, ugh)
    I really love your furniture make overs! Always pinning! Amy Kann

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00585916759532319963 Bethany

    Amy, sorry about that! I usually have to do 2-3 coats, if it makes you feel any better. And white is the HARDEST! With white, I usually do 2 coats of primer first just to save me from having to do a million coats of white paint. Send us pics when you’re done!

  • Amy

    Beth I can not tell you how much better I am feeling about this project now! Will keep at it with many coats! Thanks so much!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17170692697582889193 Tracy Kalescky

    can you tell me where you got your overhead projector? I used to borrow from the library,but smart boards have taken over.I have a small projector but overhead is the best.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00585916759532319963 Bethany

    Hmmm, I always thought you could rent them from the library, but maybe not? I got mine from my church… they used to use it back in the day for projecting the words to songs. You could call around to some churches, or call a bunch of libraries and see if they’ll even SELL you theirs for cheap, since they’re upgrading and all. Also, occasionally I see them on craigslist… but not often. :(

  • Anonymous

    Wow…..you are blessed with a gift!

  • Anonymous

    Why does the dresser change colors before/during painting? First it’s the blue color, then when you’re painting the flowers etc on it (laying on your side) it seems like it’s gray. Was a second blue coat applied and not dry before you painted the flowers??


    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00585916759532319963 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      Haha! No, the dresser doesn’t change color… the photo where I’m painting the flower was taken at night with a light shining on the dresser, so it just appears differently.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11391150992664566024 Stacye Hixson

    First I want to start by saying that your blog is by far my favorite. I love that you have taken the hum-drum of furniture upcycling or refinishing and rocked it off the planet. I bought an overhead projector about a month ago at my favorite thrift store for $5. When I bought it I really didn’t have any plans for it (maybe project something on the wall and paint it, boring), but for $5 I just could not pass it up. And then I found your blog. Presto! I have so many ideas now I don’t know where to start. So thank you for your blog and keep up the goodd work.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      What a great find! I have people asking me all the time where they fan buy or rent projectors… and they’re hard to find! And for $5? Wha?

      Thanks for all the sweet things you said too. We definitely have a blast with our furniture pieces, and hope that shows!

      PLEASE send us pics when you’ve finished a project! We love seeing what our readers come up with!

  • http://www.yapaa.com/66-kids-furniture-storage baby furniture

    Very Innovative!!! Thanks for Sharing…..

  • Anonymous

    You can put your transparency in a copier just like paper. No need to trace it with a Sharpie. Just get a clear design and copy onto the transparency!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      I actually do that with almost all my projector projects. But with how BUSY this fabric was, I wanted to just outline the parts I want to trace. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09821483601646252432 Kim@todayismysome-day

    I finally found an overhead projector! I had to fork out $50 for it, but I’m thinking it’ll be worth it! Can you tell me what kind of transparency paper is best to use in a printer? I’m planning to order some, but don’t want to order the “wrong” kind, if that’s a possibility :) Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      SWEET! $50 will totally be worth it, if you use it as much as I do! :) The type of transparency depends on they kind of printer you have There’s specific transparencies for inkjets and laser printers, so just make sure you get the right one. I get mine at Staples. Hope this helps!! Congrats on your new purchase!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09821483601646252432 Kim@todayismysome-day

      Thank you :)

  • http://www.forestcontract.com/hotel-furniture.html Buy Hotel Furniture

    Paint can make a that much noteworthy difference that we can’t even imagine. We can see that the above pictures and notice the difference..

  • Anonymous

    What paint color is your wall that color looks good in any room!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      The wall paint is ‘celery’ by Sherwin Williams!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07527212121748517027 Alphia Sauer

    you just made my day with this tutorial

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15960812743458999095 Mellissa Rose

    Clearly I need an overhead projector! Amazing :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13523337561758598581 Heather

    This is AMAZING!! LOVE it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16234219185268175165 Sidu

    hi , lov your blog. Quick question, after painiting the design with the acrylic pin , do we need to use anything to seal the design to prevent chipping n flaking ?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16234219185268175165 Sidu

    hi , lov your blog. Quick question, after painiting the design with the acrylic pin , do we need to use anything to seal the design to prevent chipping n flaking ?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      We usually seal with PolyCrylic… which is just a water-based urethane and can be found in the isle with varnish and such. Hope this helps!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14654212783908719733 Jaidee

    did you use krylon peek a boo in gloss or satin? thanks!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      Jaidee, we used gloss… but in hindsight, Satin would have been easier to paint the flower design over with less coats. Totally a preference thing though!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17132169507140828802 Nearlydawn

    I’ve seen you work a LOT of magic, but I think this one takes the cake!! I can’t even count the # of times I’ve seen one of those dressers and been turned off by the “engraved flower”. I never thought to fill/paint the darned thing. My mind is blown by the difference.

    One question… you guys are always bringing in/shipping out furniture. Care to give us a peak at your method for moving those huge pieces? (other than your hulky man?). Also, what kind of system do you use for keeping up with parts/plans/paint for each project?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      We usually just heave it into our van, and head home with the girlies. If it doesn’t fit in the van (on a RARE occasion) Nick will make a special trip in his pickup… but we prefer not to do that.

      As far as a system for keeping up with a supply list, we don’t really have a method! We did have a spreadsheet at one point, but we got lazy and quit using it. :)

  • http://curvehospitality.com/ hotel furniture

    Elegant info..it will useful for my furniture work..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02334561922385365466 Corinna Bennett

    Your transformation pieces are absolutely stunning. I follow a bunch of blogs, but your projects blow me away! You are so talented. Thank you for sharing and showing the rest of us how we can attempt to achieve this awesomeness in our own homes!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      That is SO SWEET Corinna! Thanks for the encouragement, and for following along!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17147194377908642013 Naomi Ocean

    I just started painting my own furniture in my room. Was really bored and out of canvas with lots of paint and free time. I did it free hand and kinda like it, but need to do it like this. Much cleaner… Mine you can tell someone with zero training did it. It’s all done in acrylic so if I ever get tired of the design warm water and a rag or Mr. Clean- Ta-Da! Restart!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05865636505385830199 Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

    Wow! Freehand? You’re braver than me for sure! I’m glad you went for it!

  • Eric

    Great work! I have a lot of acrylic paints that I’ve used for a variety of things, but for this they seemed a bit thin. I could see the color underneath in streaks when I was done. Do you have to do multiple coats?

    • http://www.sawdustandembryos.com/ Bethany @ Sawdust and Embryos

      Yes I did two coats of each. Acrylic paint works better, but acrylic is what I had. We’d love to see pics of your finished project!

  • Amanda Woolf

    For the blue do you spray paint or roll or brush?. I just can’t get a clean smooth finish.

    • Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

      Amanda, for the base color, we always use spray paint. It sounds trashy, but it gives the most even PERFECT finish. If you have a paint gun, that works too! That way you can use any paint that you have mixed at the store. :) Hope this helps!

    • GlammerHammer

      Amanda, I use Floetrol mixed with my paint, and brush it on with a good paintbrush (I use a Wooster). While the paint is still wet, I load a foam roller brush with just a touch more paint and go over the part I just brushed on. I find this gives me fabulously smooth finish. I never have been able to get nice, even coverage with spray paint without using about a kajillion cans. And, as far as paint sprayers go, I’m pretty sure I have PTSD from the last time I tried to use one. ;0)

      Just an option if you’re challenged with spray paint, like me!

  • Jessica Looney

    Hi!! How many cans of spray paint did the blue take? I have a dresser almost identical that I am thinking about doing in this color. But have never spray painted. I want to try to sell it when im finished so Im wondering if it is practical for this specific project. THANKS!!!

    • http://www.sawdustandembryos.com/ Bethany @ Sawdust and Embryos

      We did this dresser a long time ago, so I don’t remember exactly how many cans we used… but I would guess about 4 or 5?