My upcycled shabby chic Welsh Dresser (drinks cabinet really)



After getting a new kitchen fitted, I left a space for a small Welsh Dresser to house drinks and glasses. I managed to pick up this old dresser for £30 in a charity shop. I wasn’t sure how it was going to scrub up having such a dark stain or varnish already on it, I’ve found that upcycling old furniture can be unpredictable; sometimes the old furniture  is unwilling to give up all of its old charm. I wanted a nice shabby chic dresser so, I went for the option of chalk paint. I picked chalk paint by Autentico Versante Matt Chalk Paint Antique White – Matte Finish – 500ml
An alternative to Annie Sloan paint but that’s mostly because there is a little shop close by on Low Fell that stocks the Autentico range of paints, so I just have to pop up the street!

The dresser was still in quite good condition but I had to start by giving the dresser a good wash with soapy water. Then I was ready to chalk paint. To try and get a professional finish with the chalk paint I took of as many of the knobs and hinges as I could; some of the screws wouldn’t come out so I had to paint round some of them. I wanted to have natural wood as the top so I sanded down the top of the cabinet. It was more work than I thought and I had to use a coarse sandpaper (grade 60) using a 1/3 sander like this one Black + Decker KA310 240V 240W 1/3rd Sheet Compact Sander
Then hand sanded around the edges (ouch my arms). I’ve sealed the wood with some clear kitchen worktop oil I had leftover from my wooden kitchen worktop.

I used a bog standard paint brush. The first coat of chalk paint didn’t go on well, there was lots of brush strokes in the paint but it started to look a lot better after the second… but still didn’t cover up the dark wood. I ended up painting on 3 coats of chalk paint, in long strokes in the direction of the wood (after googling how to chalk paint!) and a final coat of watered down chalk paint. The watered down paint went on much smoother and I wish I had thought of that earlier. Watering down the paint meant that it didn’t go on so think and the brush strokes look much smoother.


I left about an hour between each coat of chalk paint, the last coat went on after the dresser had been left overnight. I sealed the chalk paint with wax, Rust-Oleum RO0070015 Furniture Finishing Wax – Clear I used a brush to put it on (a cheap one again, not a fancy wax brush), then buffed with a clean cloth. I’ve sealed the top of the cabinet with worktop oil that I have leftover from the kitchen benches.

I decided not to distress the dresser (I was distressed after 4 coats of paint), I did however paint lightly over the decorative parts of the dresser so that the paint didn’t go into the grooves, letting some of the original dark colour to show through. I’m pretty pleased with my repurposing of this lovely old Welsh dresser and for £30 it’s a charity shop bargain.

Welsh dresser before and after chalk paint

Chalk paint used to upcycle this dresser

Furniture wax I used to seal the paint Rust-Oleum RO0070015 Furniture Finishing Wax – Clear

4 thoughts on “My upcycled shabby chic Welsh Dresser (drinks cabinet really)

  1. Hi! I only sanded the top that wasn’t getting painted. I chalk painted the rest without sanding it down, the paint I used said that there was no need to sand or prime and it turned out lovely.


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