Friday, September 9, 2011

Because I have the perfect stripper's body...

If you've read here long, you have read my true confessions of domestic inability.  What you haven't read though, is about something that I can do.

Because really, there is something.

I'm a  stripper.
Just call me Gypsy Rose Lee...

It's true. I've been stripping since the first year of my marriage, and I not only enjoy it, I'm pretty good at it. In fact, I like to imagine myself to be a master stripper. If you need wallpaper stripped off a wall or paint stripped off a piece of furniture, I'm your gal.

Believe it or not, it was just such a stripping adventure that has kept me occupied during these last few painful weeks.  That might seem odd to some of you, but I'm here to explain that it is actually during my weakest moments that I have the perfect stripper's body.

That's because stripping furniture correctly takes patience. It's not a hard process, but it is best done slowly and patiently, with long wait times between steps. What you're about to see took me two long weeks. It's a journey of many baby steps and intermittent rest stops.

Here's the deal. Recently, our wonderful neighbors offered (as in free...) this old dresser to my daughter for her post -college apartment.

The Lord loveth those cheerful givers.

It had all of the drawers; I had just removed one when this was taken. 

At first, we thought to paint it black, but then she saw this one from Pottery Barn.  We wondered if we could copy it.

So I checked the original wood.
Let's face it. Furniture is like people.
Some things just don't need a  strippin'.

Looking pretty good.

Rather than yak up my supplies, I just took a picture of the stuff I personally like to use. Actually, I prefer the Citristrip wash as well, but I ran out midstream and couldn't find it locally. 

Don't be a skimpy stripper.  Lay it on thick. 
I'm very good at that part, as you might suspect.

I'm not naturally good at the next part. That's the waiting.
You have to resist the urge to nudge it along just because it looks like this.

I don't care how crinkly and tempting it looks. 
It's not ready.

Don't ask me how I know...

Give it the full 30 minutes to work.  Give it more if it doesn't strip easily. See why I'm tailor made for stripping right now?  I needed those wait times, and I took them.

Ta Da!

It only looks that good for about five minutes. Then, it starts to gum up a little.

That's why you need the wash. 

And then, you wait again.
This time for at least 24 hours. 

And then, I sanded.  

OK, technically the husband sanded. 
That's an area that was a bit too much for me right now. 
I did sand some drawers, though.
I'll have to yak about my love affair with the hand sander another day.

Then, it was vacuumed and wiped and  tacked off, 
and the conditioner was applied to each surface. 

And then? 

More waiting
This time for the conditioner to completely soak into the surface.

At some point,  we sprayed the hardware with oil rubbed bronze. I spray in a box so I can do it inside.  I did all the painting and staining inside the house. It's way too humid here to do it outside. I'd still be waiting for it to dry. 

Finally, I stained it with red mahogany. I like to brush it on and wipe it with a rag. It's a great use for those 576 t-shirts that come with a college diploma.  

And then, you wait again. 
Let that stain soak in for at least 24 hours before lightly sanding again. 

Then, I rubbed it down with tung oil, 
and that's how it stands in its current condition. 
If she decides she wants a little more sheen or varnish, we'll wait about two more weeks to do it.

She says that she doesn't though.
She says she likes it fine just the way it is. 

How did we do?

Side by side

Maybe not perfect, but not too shabby either. It's even better when you consider the price of  this comparably sized one in the PB catalog was $1,499.00.

Ours was around $20.00 mainly to replenish supplies.
That's $1,479.00 in savings.
I think we'll spend it on shoes.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing over my painful vacation.
I'm hoping to share this at Inspiration Friday  if it's not too late and Metamorphosis Monday.
I'll also be sharing at Debbiedoo's Copy Cat Challenge
unless I am successful copycatting a wall instead.
Just a party girl, aren't I?


Christine said...

Title pulled me in...
post had me captivated!

Barbara F. said...

Debbie, I am so impressed. I would love to find a small dresser that I can turn into an island for my kitchen. I see them around here and there in Blogland and Pinterest. But the stripping and painting portion gives me pause. You made it look simple! xo,

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Debbie, this was such a funny beginning to a post -- loved it! You did a wonderful job; I love Pottery Barn, but they are sooooo expensive. I've never stripped or stained anything, and I agree with Barbara, you do make it look easy. Wish I could do that with my kitchen cabinets. They've been bugging me for such a long time. You did a great job on this for your daughter (The Practical One, I assume?) Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.


Karen said...

what a great job! Just now wanting to get into some furniture refinishing! You did so good explaining it, but too funny. Have a great weekend.

Canadagirl said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh its BEA U TI FUL !!! You are amazing my friend. I need to start thinking about stripping, lol. You have inspired me. [o=

I do pray you feel better. (((HUGS)))

Blessings and ((HUGS))

Lynn said...

That turned out great Debbie! Love the way the old paint came off like that! Good job you stripper you:@) said...

I am simply going to 'collect' all of my gifted blogging friends... you can come and strip, Janette can come and paint diamonds on my wall, and I will sit and be your cheerleaders, as I serve you iced raspberry lemonade!

It's beautiful. I HATE to strip, so I think we are in the process of organizing a real team!! :)


Ann said...

Wow! My mom could strip too .... I never really got the moves right and forget patience. I don't have any. GORGEOUS Debbie!
You are infinitely talented.

My girls would also be thrilled to have a piece of furniture like that!


Anita Diaz said...

YAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! I'm so excited to see someone else stripping and NOT painting, lol!! That's the same stripper I use, and I love it because it's not so toxic. What a great transformation, and it looks just like the PB one. I just love it so much. I know I must sound ridiculously excited about a dresser, but with all the painting going around I'm just happy to see wood again!! Gorgeous!!

Anita Diaz said...

...and I agree with spending the savings on shoes, lol!

Always Nesting said...

Okay, you are amazing! I love it and love the step by step because then it doesn't look so intimidating to a novice (no, make that a no-vice) stripper like me.

Denise said...

In my humble opinion, I think your dresser looks even better than the one from PB. And, let's face it...a WHOLE lot cheaper. That makes it even better. And definitely go with the shoes. You might even be able to afford a pair or two of the ones my daughter sells!! LOL

BTW, who knew you were such a talented stripper. I wonder where that comes from in the gene pool. Do you think the Duchess could be a stripper too? Do you think Daddy knew? Just giggling...

I CANNOT wait to see it in person!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

You are too much LOL!

That looks so amazing! Usually I'm all about painted furniture but this looks so pretty. Good job!

Dear Sweet Home said...

You did a great job! What sweet neighbors.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Wow! You ARE quite the stripper, my dear. And your daughter should be very proud of this little number, as I'm sure you are. Magnificent copycatting.

Maryann said...

This is amazing, the dresser looks great. Have not done any stripping in a long time...waiting is always the hardest

Amy Kinser said...

You are an awesome stripper, I must say!! Great job, my friend.

Gaby said...

You got me up to wall stripping. I was guessing, thinking, trying NOT to think :)
Beautiful furniture!

southerninspiration said...

Wow....great job!

Tanna said...

Debbie, you did an absolutely wonderful job! That chest of drawers looks better than PB's!! Way to go!

Kathleen said...

Wow, is all I can say! You worked magic on that there chest of drawers. Well done, it looks great!

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

What? DD didn't even stuff a tip inside your rubber glove?!

I was a stripper myself for only one summer in the early '90s. Free hoosier cabinet from Grandma's basement. Turned out awesome... just like your DD's new post-college apartment furniture. Twenty bucks just ain't too awful shabby!

xinex said...

wow! I am in awe at this. It looks store bought. You did so good. You sure are an expert stripper, Debbie, I am convinced of that now. Thanks for sharing this....Christine

Miss Char said...

It looks fantastic Debbie and I bet your dress is all wood, since PB uses A LOT of partial board your dresser will hold up much better. I did have pause for a moment when you said you sanded it and I looked at those big hairy arms...glad you cleared it up that Mr. Hubby was the one handling the sander in the picture. Ya did good!

Unknown said...

Debbie -- you crack me up, lol!! This is a great post and that dresser looks fabulous. Isn't it amazing what people will pay for some things?! Historically I am not a good stripper -- I totally lack the patience. I have a couple tables I want to do -- maybe in the spring ;)


Angel said...

You did great as usual! I think you need to visit me and help me with a few projects...:)

Anonymous said...

You ARE a wonder! I think that in projects like these, I always mess it up because I don't WAIT! You do have a "stripper's body" - very clever play on words that captures readers immediately!

Now - the big gaffaw for me was spending your $1400 plus savings on shoes!

Love you Deb!

Linda W said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I also prefer it to the PB version. Great work, Ms. Stripper!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

This time I thought you had gone to far and shared to much ! OH, furniture stripping LOL! What a fabulous job, it is gorgeous!

Carol said...

Well I couldn't wait to see your stripping talent...LOL I was waiting for a future explanation on a pole also...LOL

I have been a stripper for years also....and what satisfaction when the job is done...well worth the wait. Last year I did a dresser for my daughter's was given for free also.

This is just great!! Great job with the knobs also...aren't you sooooooooooo proud of yourself?

Using your words..."anyone can decorate that has a huge budget" have shown again it can be done a next to nothing..

Great, great job!

FrouFrouBritches said...

OH MY GRACIOUS! That looks AMAZING!!!!! You did such a great job. I've only stripped one time and it was like torture to me. I am sooo impatient!!! Now I think I might want to try it again, or at least not rule it out completely next time I find something at a flea market or come upon free furniture. Gosh, I am so impressed with you right now!

Ms.Daisy said...

You never cease to amaze me with your talents but this time you floored me! I love your tutorial on how you did it and the materials you used to get the job done. The dresser looks fabulous, and yes, better than the store bought one anyday.


Chatty Crone said...

THAT WAS AMAZING! Where in the world do you learn to do things like that? How did you know that is was dark underneath? I didn't think those were your hairy arms sanding the furniture! They turned out beautiful! Hope you feel okay.


Ivy and Elephants said...

What a fabulous job! I think it's every bit as nice as the other and the savings can't be beat.
I applaud your patience, I have absolutely none!
Love it!

At The Picket Fence said...

Way to go Gypsy Rose Lee!! You do indeed know your strippin' and I'm super impressed. :-) It looks absolutely gorgeous and you completely brought it back to life. Thanks so much for linking it up this week to Inspiration Friday!
P.S.LOL about the college t-shirts coming with the diploma!

Kim@stuffcould.... said...

Ta Da looks like hard work!!! It is beautiful even if it was easy!

Kelli said...

OH my!! I am in love and drooling over your transformation! You have given me the inspiration I need... swift kick in the rear to get to strippin'!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Oh I'm wantin' you to feel better so you don't have to spend so much down time :))
It is just beautiful and I can't wait to see the shoes.

Unknown said...

Are you kidding me??? You make that look way, WAY too easy.
It's utterly gorgeous.
And you are worried about blank walls????

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Love it! I'd like to think I have a stripper's body, too, but I've never found it yet. :-) Beautiful results you got!

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Oh My Gosh! Debbie, it looks beautiful. if the neighbor sees it, she's going to want it back! You're right. You have a stripper's body, and you're good at it. You're also right about patience. In addition to not having a stripper's body, I have no patience. laurie

Rosie Goins said...

Wow. What a great job you did on this piece. I am a PB junkie so I definitely love it.

Natasha in Oz said...

Wow, you are amazing! That is quite a transformation. Your finished piece is just gorgeous.

Happy shoe shopping ;)

Best wishes,

Debbiedoos said...

Holy Moly my done good!~ I see you will be joining my challenge...YAY! Can't wait, I will have the link up probably Tuesday sometime. Lots of anxious girls out there. It will be so much fun. I am happy you joined in and shared this amazing project. I have never stripped a day in my life, and I think I will keep it that way:)

no spring chicken said...

I am SO impressed! I have to admit that I have always been appalled by stripping. Definitely had no desire to be a stripper, nor to even consider it O.K. to strip... but after seeing your act, I'm going to have to change my stance on the subject. Maybe someday I'll be entertaining others with as much experience as you obviously have achieved in the art!

Blessings, Debbie

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Debbie...

My friend, your daughter's dresser turned out soooo very beautiful! I love it! looks just like the PB dresser...only prettier! I like the hardware on your dresser much better. Ohhh my goodness...what a process though...stripping! Hehe! Girl, I just laughed when I read the opening of your post...too cute! But...I will certainly give it to are a fabulous stripper!!! Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous piece with us and for doing such a great tutorial! BRAVO!!!

Warmest wishes,

Shanee said...

Just found your blog and I love it! I want to be a stripper too:) Awesome job.

Sharon said...


I stand in I usually do when it comes to you!! This was an AMAZING transformation! Absolutely incredible.

I don't do anything crafty - and so I'm always very impressed with your abilities - but this one was very impressive!

Could you come and do your miracle work on my wardrobe??


Sue said...

Okay Missy I have got about ten pieces in the barn that need a new makeover, so I will be waiting for your arrival. LOl. You and your dh did a fantastic job, and it makes it even better comparing the price in the catalog, just to sweet.
I am cheating , but was so blessed by Sunday's post.

Custom Comforts said...

What a great makeover!!! Looks great ~ and I love the idea of spending the savings on shoes.

abeachcottage said...

Impressive work! Looks as great as the PB pic but way way much better priced :) Well done.

Millie said...

You did a wonderful job on that furniture...and what a tremendous saving of cash!

Something Nice and Pretty said...

That is gorgeous! The waiting in between has to be so important because that turned out just like the PB picture! Great job!

Anonymous said...

You are one amazing stripper!...your copy cattin' around is fantastic too!

Shannon said...

I love it even MORE then the PB version. So glad you have the patience required to be a good stripper. In fact, I think the world needs more strippers! Wonderful job. Props to the hubby for the sanding too. You wouln't want him to feel left out, you were just sharing =)

Honey at 2805 said...

I'll be telling my friends that I know a stripper! What a terrific job you did and yours is so much better than the PB version!

Hope you will bring one of your creative posts or porjects to Potpourri Friday! It's a fun party and you would be an asset!

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Hi Debbie,

I'm leaving another comment here because your comments were turned off for 9/11. Your "Where Were You" post was so good. You were in the best place to be when that happened. Like you, I was so tempted to hop in the car and go get my son from school. I heard that afternoon that some of the parents did that very thing. You mentioned your Beth Moore Bibly Study; have you ever participated in the "Disciple" series of Bible studies? My husband and I did those, and we really liked them. I got so much out of them.

Thanks for your visit and comment today. I love October, too. In fact, I think September through December is a really nice time of year. Have a great day!


Mary said...

I do NOT have the patience gene, it skipped a generation.

What an AMAZING job~ you are an EXCELLENT stripper...your commentary is even better though! Enjoy all those shoes :-)

Kathleen said...

Gorgeous! Way better than PB! It amazes me to see the furn at the PB outlet, still many hundreds of dollars, edges smashed. It's fiberboard! At least with real wood you can sand it and fix it!
You did a great job!

Karen said...

Wow, Debbie, you did such an awesome job! They look almost IDENTICAL!!!

Heymudda said...

I'm a new follower and I'd like to join your stripper club! Amazing tute - YOU ROCK!

Unknown said...

Debbie -- I wanted to comment (again) and say that YOU inspired me!! I found the perfect little piece of furniture that needed stripping and I TOTALLY thought of this post and said to mysef -- I CAN DO IT!! Thanks for the inspiration -- blog posts to come :)


replica watches uk said...

I have so many chairs in my garage. And your information is helps to make my garage empty and helps to make stylish chairs. Great idea for giving a new look to furnitures.


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