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  • Stacey Darling

From A Secondhand Frog To A Rustic Prince

While scrolling OfferUp, I stumbled across this vintage chest of drawers. From the photos, it looked as if it had seen better days but it was listed for $20 and my mind was already racing with creative ideas. I knew I had to rescue this little fella and that's just what I did (Confession: I sent my husband to do the rescuing. I just waited patiently at home with the boys or impatiently if you count how many times I texted him asking if he picked it up yet, how it looked and if they were nice people).

This frog had some great potential!

When my husband arrived with the chest, it was evident that it was going to need a bit more than TLC. The drawer bottoms were in horrible condition with cracks and missing chunks of wood. Thankfully, I had recently saved a video tutorial by my friend Marijana Kuljis, owner of Studio 3 Interiors, on how to easily and affordably change out draw bottoms. The old drawer bottoms slid out easily. My husband measured them and off he went to Home Depot where he picked up the new wood and had it cut to size. I was busy preparing the chest for its transformation by cleaning it up with Krud Kutter. It took a couple of rounds to clean off all the dust and grime that had accumulated over time.

While my husband was out doing manly things and such, I grabbed my bottle of Citristrip and got to work. I stripped the top and the two drawer fronts. I then wiped them down with Mineral Spirits to remove any residue and gave it another wipe down with just water and left it overnight to completely dry. I didn't want to sand away all of the imperfections because I felt they added to the chest's authentic rustic charm and character. I opted to smooth the surface and prepare it for the next step by lightly sanding the newly stripped wood with 120 and then again with 220 grit sandpaper. I vacuumed the dust and then wiped it down with a damp lint-free cloth to remove any dust that might have been missed by the vacuum.

My initial plan was to restain, however, the magnificent wood grain that was staring back at me was screaming for some Wise Owl Furniture Salve (Confession #2: Yes, my projects talk to me and sometimes they scream at me). The wood grain on the chest was just beautiful and the natural wood tone was really pretty. I also felt as if the natural wood would compliment the rustic vibe I had envisioned for the chest. I knew from previous projects that by simply brushing on some furniture salve, letting it soak and wiping off the excess, I would be hydrating the thirsty wood and sealing in its natural beauty. Easy peasy.

For the base of the chest, I chose Martha Stewart's Admiral Blue from her chalk paint line. For those of you that follow me, you know that acrylic-based chalk paints are my jam! I love working with them because I've found they have great coverage, are easy to work with and the colors... Oh how I LOVE all of the colors! (Confession #3: Yes, this is the same girl who used to be afraid of color. Not anymore!) Not to mention, they are easily accessible and affordable! All of which is music to this stay-at-home mamma's ears. I purchase my Martha Stewart chalk paint from Michaels.


After allowing the paint to dry, I used a combination of wet distressing with a lint-free rag and using my scraper from Folkart to distress the new finish a bit. I focused on the edges and areas where it would naturally begin to wear over time. I then sealed the painted base with Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil. I applied it with a chip brush, allowed the oil to soak into the paint and wiped away any excess oil. The hemp oil penetrates and seals the new painted finish, curing in about 30 days.

By this time, the drawers had been repaired and the new bottoms looked amazing. The chest always had a bit of a masculine feel to me, well at least that is how I envisioned it when daydreaming about it's potential. I found these fantastic pulls from which complimented the look and feel of the new finish.

New drawer bottoms! Great job, hubby!
New Pulls from

It still felt like it needed something so I added stencil detail on the sides of the drawers. Because I wanted to keep in line with the masculine feel of the chest, I used a stencil that I felt was gender neutral and used DecoArt Americana Decor Vintage Brass from their metallics line.

Once I finished stenciling, I pulled out the Wise Owl Salve and sealed the drawer sides and new bottoms. The salve would ensure that the stencil detail would be protected while also hydrating and sealing both the old and the new wood on the drawers.

I always get a lot of questions about Wise Owl Salve when I mention it in my posts. I love this product. It has truly changed my game up. I’m always searching for alternative products and techniques that are safe and/or natural as well as high quality because I have three small children that are always wanting to "help". This product is always on my list of must haves.

I use the salve often for a variety of purposes (which I will chat about in an upcoming post). I always order from my favorite Wise Owl rep, Melissa Krycerick, owner of Vintage Keiralie. If you are interested in trying it, she offers $5 flat rate shipping on all orders. You can visit Melissa on Facebook and place your orders directly through her. She is also a fantastic resource if you have questions about their products.

Now without further ado, here is the prince in all of his rustic glory...

Have more questions about the products or techniques I used to transform this piece? Feel free to message me or leave a comment below.

With Love,


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