How to Sand & Stain a Dresser

How to Sand & Stain a Dresser

Sanding and staining are significant phases in accomplishing an expert finish on a wood dresser. Sanding smooths the wood grain during the preparation phase and get rid of dust during the finishing phase. The right application of stain gives rich tones that enhance the dresser’s natural beauty. While neither one of these tasks have need of special expertise, they are time-consuming and need attention to detail for the best result. You need to remove all of the old finish on an existing dresser before starting.

How to Sand & Stain a Dresser

Supplies you’ll need

Unfinished wood
Painter’s tape
Wiping cloth
Rust-Oleum Wood Stains
180-grit sandpaper
Rust-Oleum wood conditioner
Polyurethane finish
Tack cloth
Foam brush
Mineral sprits
Paint roller
Natural-bristle brush


Step-1 Prepare the Surface

Take out dresser drawers and place each one on end, on a drop cloth, with the drawer front facing upward. If the drawers came with installed pulls, take them away with a screwdriver. Now the next step is that you need to sand dresser with 180-grit sandpaper, going with the grain of the wood. Wipe away dirt with tack cloth.

Prepare Surface 

Step-2 Tape off the Sides

Carry on and now tape off the sides of the drawers with painters tape. Be certain the paint is absolutely dry before you do this and press the tape right up to the edge of the drawer front. Just repeat it with each drawer. 

Tape off the Sides

Step-3 Wood Conditioning

You need to cover your work area with a drop cloth or a large paper sheet. Apply Rust- Oleum Varathane Premium Wood Conditioner on the drawer fronts with a wiping cloth. This will prime your wood, so the stain sticks to this equally. Let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe away extra. 

Wood Conditioning 

Step-4 Stain It

Apply Rust-Oleum Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain with a foam brush, following the direction written on the can. Now, you need to work from top to bottom so that you can catch drips.

Allow stain to sit on wood for 10 minutes, then wipe away extra stain with a cloth. Let dry for 2 hours. To get a darker color, apply a second coat. Repeat for the other drawers utilizing other stain colors. To dispose of foam brushes and cloths, place in a water-filled container and follow local guidelines.

Wood Staining 

Step-5 Finish

Utilising a natural-bristle brush, apply Rust-Oleum Varathane Crystal Clear Water Based Polyurethane to all drawer fronts. Clean your brush with mineral spirits when done. The polyurethane will guard your dresser and give the surface a spotless, glossy appearance. 

 Wood Finishing

Step-6 Reassemble All

After 24 hours of drying time, attach hardware and attach drawers carefully into the dresser.

Reassemble All


  • Wear your goggles and a respirator mask before sanding.
  • Sanding sponges make it easy to smooth down wood grain on contoured dresser details.
  • In addition to wiping down the dresser with tack cloth before applying a finish product, vacuum the room very well to give a dust-free zone.
  • You need to wait at least for 2 days before attaching drawer handles and putting the drawers in the dresser.
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