French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
DIY,  DIY Painting Projects,  Home Renovations & Makeovers

French Country Bedroom Makeover: Episode 7 – Adding rub on transfers

Welcome back for Episode 7 of the French country bedroom makeover series - adding rub on transfers to the dresser! This dresser makeover DIY before and after has been shocking, and I did it! Take a look at the dresser makeover and I'll go into some details on adding the rub on transfers to the dresser makeover DIY project.

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Before
After

I started this French country bedroom makeover project wanting to brighten my bedroom, and painting the dark wood with the manor house white did just that! I knew I was going to add some type of French rub on transfers to the dresser.

I, like many, have become obsessed with these lovely furniture rub on transfers. I got some and used them for crafts back in March and I loved them so much I started checking out more and more….and you know how that goes. Now I have a Pinterest board dedicated to “Rub on transfer DIY projects”. 

After I got through the nightstands and the bed, I had more confidence and felt like I hit my stride with my technique using the all-in-one paint. I was able to knock out the first coat of paint in 2 hours.

Here is a look at how this dresser makeover DIY before and after project looked after I painted it white and then added some French rub on transfers to the dresser and mirror. 

After I got stage 1 of the dresser makeover DIY done, then I went on and gilded the hardware as I did for the nightstands in Episode 4, giving the hardware a good gilding.

My original plan was to add some rub on transfers down the middle of the dresser. I had seen so many lovely ideas on Pinterest. I really love seeing the dresser makeover DIY before and after pictures, especially when its so dramatic. Like this one, going from dark wood to WHITE is always pretty shocking! 

It was already dramatic, but then, adding the rub on transfers just made it really stunning.  I bought a few from Amazon and had them ready for action. I was going to use them, even if I didn’t know where yet! 

French Country Bedroom makeover hardware gilding wax before and after
Episode 2 - Decoupage on the drawer sides
French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
French Country Bedroom Furniture Makeover Episode 3 Decoupaging the nightstand drawers inside

Next time I will definitely start my dresser makeover DIY project with a chalk paint primer, especially when painting over dark wood. Depending on the level of coverage and look you want, you will need 3 coats of paint, unless you want a bit less coverage. I knew I was adding artwork and rub on transfers so I didn’t add 3 full coats of paint to this dresser makeover DIY project.

For this project,  I used this All-in-one-paint by Heirloom Traditions. I loved the Manor House color so much I also bought 2 other colors to try. I got the French Toile (blue) and Tea Rose (pink). This paint does work well, but it is not necessarily as “all-in-one” as you think. I honestly recommend using a chalk paint primer (when painting light colors like white over dark brown). 

I have a navy blue color I’ll be trying so I’ll let you know if that one works in 2 coats. The all-in-one paint is a little spendy, that’s why I don’t think it’s worth wasting if you need a primer coat of paint, in that case, use chalk paint first, it adheres well and this paint will stick to it well. 

Since I decided to experiment with the dresser makeover DIY, I did not use a primer on the dresser. I only used the ‘all-in-one-paint’, the ‘Manor House’ creamy off-white color. I let the 2nd coat dry overnight. I then went to add the artwork to the dresser doors. I contemplated using a different rub on transfer on the doors, but my artwork I had ended up fitting so perfectly it just felt meant to be. 

French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
After 2 coats...it is starting to come to life! And it is most definitely MUCH brighter!
French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
Here is how the mirror is looking

Tip - Be careful unrolling rub on transfers, once they touch something - they stick!

Start with carefully unrolling the rub on transfers. Very carefully! One of mine stuck to another and then it got ruined…there is no fixing it if it sticks to something it shouldn’t. With these, you get one shot, so do not let that plastic piece come off before you are ready!

French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
Don't be afraid to cut some pieces to use where you need them

As I was doing this dresser makeover DIY project, I laid all the rub on transfers out on the floor and put some stuff on top of it to “flatten” them out from being rolled up. 

French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
I didn't get the tool until I started the Armoire. This tool really helped!

Next, I grab some painter’s tape and put the pieces on the dresser to see where I am going to want to put them. This is important to do. You need to plan your design and keep in mind where the drawers meet, etc. Take my advice here, I did not plan my armoire as well as I liked and then I had to try to “fix it”. 

For the dresser makeover DIY project I had not yet purchased the little tool that gets into the grooves and corners. Now I know how good that tool is. I ended up using the tool to go back over some areas that didn’t get fully rubbed in. You can see the dresser drawers have a lot of molding layers so you have to get into all of those grooves…that gets your arms to work!

Lesson learned…once the rub on transfers are on there…they are staying on there! That’s good and bad. Good that is stays, bad if you mess up and its impossible to remove without destroying your glorious work! 

French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
I had to bring my French script chair into the bedroom to sit and admire my artwork dresser!
French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips HARDWARE

This French country bedroom makeover project was my first time using the all-in-one paint and I did realize that it stains and its hard to get off your skin, so I recommend gloves when using this paint as well. Also, use the mini roller when doing a dresser makeover DIY project. It helps distribute paint and gets rid of brush strokes. 

Once you have your layout and design in place for your dresser makeover DIY project, I recommend starting with one small section at a time. I cut some pieces into smaller sections when I could to make it easier to apply.

If you have a perfectly flat surface, then you are in good shape and won’t have to go through these trials and tribulations I am about to talk about. You have to rub down pretty good to get any rub on to stick well, but a perfectly flat surface is going to be the easiest – so if you ‘ve never done this before, I suggest practicing first. 

Tip: Wash your tools and fast! I'm awful about this, but do it!

I like to get wood slice coasters, and wood slices for art crafts and use those for practice. This year I made some beautiful wood slice coasters and décor using a ‘Eucalyptus Dreams’ rub on transfer. I LOVED IT! This was great for practice, and it made something really lovely too! Take a look at my post on 7 Easy Neutral Spring Décor Ideas that are Charming and Elegant.

Wood slice coasters crafts serving board Rub on transfers Eucalyptus dreams Spring DIY easy décor ideas
This is how I practiced using the Rub on transfers
French country bedroom furniture makeover dark walnut wrought iron home improvement wax before and after Provincial white gilding wax
The wrought iron bed makeover was an amazing arm workout! My arms and shoulders were on fire! This is yet another way I stay in shape, LOL!

The dresser makeover DIY project came with many trials due to having a surface that is not flat when adding rub on transfers to the dresser. I'll do my best to share as many tips as I can to help you do this with more ease than I had on my first round.

  1. Unroll the rub on transfers carefully
  2. Lay them out so they can flatten
  3. Make a plan for your design before you start adding it anywhere
  4. Use painters tape to attach to dresser to get an idea as to how it will look (best to check before you commit)
  5. Cut pieces into smaller sections when possible to make it easier to apply in difficult areas
  6. Use the specialty tool, it is hard plastic (not a wood stick), and has curved edges to get into corners, edges, and grooves. It helped me a lot.
  7. Use an thin cutting blade to lightly cut between drawer and door openings, then rub down edges.
me French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
The wrought iron bed makeover was a mission, my arms were burning, but the progress is so charming!

TIP: Get Disposable Gloves - saves your nails and skin

dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips

TIP: Use the tool to get into the grooves on the drawers

Tip: Seal with a topcoat or clear wax

Tip: Paint iron in a dry-brush fashion - very little paint

Tip: Add some highlights on details with gilding wax

I hope you enjoyed Episode 7 of the French Country Bedroom Makeover Series, the dresser makeover DIY before and after project, adding rub on transfers to the dresser and mirror.

French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips HARDWARE
This dresser makeover turned out so lovely! I find myself just staring at it!
Check out the other Episodes in this Series

Check out ALL Episodes in this French Country Bedroom Makeover Series: 

  1. The Nightstand Experiment
  2. Decoupaging the drawer sides
  3.  Decoupaging inside drawers
  4. Hardware makeover – Getting a good Gilding!
  5. Painting the  Wrought Iron  Headboard & Footboard
  6. Dresser & Mirror with wrought iron
  7. Dresser – adding rub on furniture transfers
  8. Dresser – adding decoupage rice paper Artwork
  9. French Country linen bedding and décor (COMING SOON)
  10. Dress Form makeover (COMING SOON)
  11. Armoire: my success and failure (COMING SOON)
French country bedroom furniture makeover dark antique walnut wrought iron accents home décor improvement chalk paint all in one wax glaze antique restoration before and after Provincial white cream gilding wax gold techniques tips
As you can see I make my bed different every day, and I am constantly moving and changing things around! These mirrors on either side are now on either side of the dresser!

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My new French bedding Loves

When I think French bedding I think about soft linens, white and neutral linen colors, ruffles, soft, comforting, inviting…

This set of white linen sheets I bought are quite lovely! Yes, they need ironed, unless you have some miracle I haven’t found with linen. But even without ironing them, they have the natural “wrinkled linen” look and it is still lovely. They are very soft! Feels like your favorite pair of linen pants! I know pictures can’t show you how SOFT something is, but I can tell you…this is a big soft squishy wonderland you just want to sink into! 

Here are the French bedding finds I have on my bed right now. I just ordered the floral sheets, so once I get them I’ll give you an update with those pics! I love the ruffle sheets, they have a really nice piped edge on the fitted sheet too! Very nice!

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