Mid Century Modern Tallboy Dresser Chalk Paint Makeover

See how I transformed this old dresser into a whimsical new piece!

Loving this mint green scalloped dresser! Click through for step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own scalloped tallboy dresser.

I adore mid century modern furniture (hello Ikea Malm and sideboard) so when I spotted this steal of a dresser on Craigslist I jumped at the opportunity. The tallboy dresser was painted rather haphazardly and needed some love but for $60 I just couldn’t pass it up.

Rather than spend a ton of time sanding or stripping the paint, because who really has time for that, I decided to paint it with chalk paint. But this isn’t your typical shabby chic chalk paint makeover. I used it to transform this dresser into an oh-so-Sarah Hearts piece. I mean, I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to paint scallops AND use gold, now would I?

See how this Craigslist find was transformed into a stylish and whimsical mid century modern tallboy dresser.

Time: 5 hours + drying time
Supplies: vintage dresser / DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting and Refreshing / DecoArt clear crème wax  / brush / 60 grit and 120 grit sanding block / pencil / round plastic lid

Use a 60 grit coarse sand paper to remove any paint or other residue from an old furniture piece.

Step 1: Use 60 grit sandpaper (I love these flexible sanding blocks) to smooth out the surface and prep it for the first coat of paint. Since this dresser was previously painted, I only sanded the areas where the paint had chipped and the surface was uneven. Once you’re done sanding, wipe the entire piece down with a clean cloth to remove any dust.

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint makes it so easy to transform a gargle sale find into a stylish piece.

Step 2: Apply an thin, even coat of paint all over the entire piece. Allow it to dry—only takes about 30 minutes!

New to chalk paint? Be sure to sand after each coat with 120 grit sand paper to create a smooth surface.

Step 3: Use 120 grit sandpaper to sand after each coat. This part is a must! Since Chalky finish paint is thicker than most paints it will show brush strokes. Using fine sandpaper after each coat will even out the paint and make the finish nice and smooth. This part is dusty though! Be sure to wipe down everything with a dry cloth after you’re done sanding.

DecoArt Chalky Finish paint sticks to any surface, even laminate, without priming.

Step 4: Add a second coat of paint. If you find the paint to be too thick, I found it helpful to dip my brush in the paint and then in a little bit of water. This will make the paint dry a little slower but it makes the paint go on a bit smoother and reduce the evidence of brushstrokes.

Allow the paint to dry, sand it again using the 120 grit sandpaper, and wipe it down to remove the dust. Then paint a third coat and repeat the same sanding process.

Step 5: Paint the bottom drawer with your accent color. I used DecoArt Chalky Finish in Refreshing. Once the paint is dry, sand, wipe and paint again.

Use a plastic lid from a container as a template to create large scallops on a surface such like a dresser drawer.

Step 6:  Find the center of the dresser and place a paper plate directly in the center, halfway on the the painted line. Lightly trace the perimeter of the plate with a pencil. Working from the center, continue tracing the half circles along the painted edge.

Loving the large scallop details on this mid century dress. (Click through for step-by-step tutorial)

Step 7: Use a small brush to paint inside the scalloped board. Allow the paint to dry, then lightly sand it and wipe it down. Add a second coat, and a third if necessary.

DecoArt clear wax is a liquid furniture wax that applies so easily and dries quickly!

Step 8: Use a cloth to apply the clear wax in a small, circular motion. Once it’s covered, use clean rag to buff the was and great a nice sheen.

Since the dresser I bought didn’t come with any hardware, I bought these pretty mid-century inspired brass drawer pulls. They were the exact size I needed and were much more affordable than the vintage ones I was looking at.

This DIY mid century tallboy dresser makeover is just adorable!

How cute is the scalloped detail on this dresser? Click through for a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own statement piece with chalk paint.

Have you tried chalk paint yet? Leave some of your favorite tips and tricks in the comments! And check out all my mid-century modern projects for a little retro inspiration.

If you’re already fan of chalk paint, there’s a huge contest going on! Makeover a piece with Chalky Finish paint and enter before and after photos to win $2000 plus $500 in products!

This post was sponsored by DecoArt. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that help me create awesome content like this!


  1. Love this! Bravo for both the inspiration and a great step-by-step DIY. I will be eyeing the flea market. :)

  2. I love midcentury modern furniture, and its the only type I usually have a hard time with it being painted. This is so cute, and so well done. I love it!

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