Brass-backwards: A Tale of Brass Hardware Gone Wrong, But with a Happy Ending


July 15, 2014 by Decorum DIYer

In an attempt to get things moving with Roman’s room, I tackled the campaign dresser that has been waiting in the wings (my basement) for almost two years.  I (and by “I”, I mean my husband) picked it up from Craigslist for $20. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Since I was priming my friend’s furniture pieces, I thought it would be easy enough to slap some primer on my son’s soon-to-be new dresser at the same time.  The rhythm of painting my project in between the drying time for my friend’s project worked out well. However, the brass hardware – not so well. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough they are real brass hardware pieces, they didn’t clean up as nicely as the hardware from my emerald green, campaign night stands.


(Click image to view the corresponding tutorial for cleaning brass hardware ‘the green way’.)

So, I decided to spray-paint the hardware.  I had some hammered brass spray-paint on hand and decided to give it try.  After all, this was only a $20 dresser that I was making nice for my son to abuse for the next ten years.  Perfection was not my goal.


Here you can see that most of the hardware looks worse than I originally found it. I think the tarnish was hiding the damaged brass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   It looks surprisingly great after a few coats of the hammered brass finish.  Not true to traditional, brass, campaign hardware, but I was liking the spin. Then, I started to place the hardware back on the dresser and didn’t like what I was seeing. (Sorry no photo.) I just wasn’t digging the brass-colored hardware on the newly painted campaign dresser, as the dresser was now white with navy (Cyberspace – Roman’s ceiling color) drawers.  Knowing that most of Roman’s metallic finishes in Roman’s room were nickel, I grabbed my hammered silver spray-paint and trusted that everything would be fine.  Besides, I had enough to worry about aside from this.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And you know what? I think it came together perfectly.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Because I was focused on perfection for my friend’s furniture pieces, I used my son’s campaign dresser as an experiment and really didn’t put in as much effort as I normally would.  Anything was better than the before.  I even resisted the urge to apply a third coat of paint (and it shows), but I wasn’t aiming for something to sell or for longevity.  I was trying to just get it done in the 30-day Challenge window and in between my more important roles as mother, wife, and trying-to-be-professional-furniture-painter. Honestly, I’m in love…. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Probably the best part is that I lined the drawers (using a spray adhesive that I have had in my arsenal for about ten years – it still worked!) with road maps.  I am a cartography hound, but even better, the road maps were from my husband’s maternal grandfather’s garage stash that was cleaned out.  When I saw them two years ago in the garage, ready for the recycling bin, I grabbed them thinking they would make a nice drawer liner one day.  Boy, who would have thought?  My heart is happy.   So, there you have it.  The tale of my brass-backwards way to get a snazzy boy’s dresser with stunning hammered nickel, campaign hardware.  A “happy accident” as Bob Ross would say.  {Oh, if you don’t know who Bob Ross is, you need to seriously consider not reading my blog any further. 😉 PBS nerds unite! }



Linking to:  Power of Paint  


Linking to  The DIYer’s Link Party (#9) via Brave New Home.


9 thoughts on “Brass-backwards: A Tale of Brass Hardware Gone Wrong, But with a Happy Ending

  1. This turned out fantastic!! I really like how the room is coming together. And the trim painted white is such a breath of fresh air. I know you were hesitant about painting the wood for awhile. Glad to see the blog updates again!

    • Thank you. I’ve always wanted to paint the trim, but Chris didn’t like the idea. I don’t know if he didn’t like the idea because of the cost and time, but he’s never really been on board. However, since I did all of the work, he can’t complain. He actually agrees that the painted trim is better – especially since we didn’t have particularly nice woodwork for a start. As to the dresser, it is pretty nifty, isn’t it? Thanks for your vote of approval.

  2. Christa says:

    Yes, I love the dresser too. Can’t wait to see the completed room. No rush though, I know how hectic life can get, especially over the summer with all the kids home. I have a bathroom project that is going on 2 years now and it’s still not done. 🙂

  3. James says:

    I think it looks fantastic.

    I usually just paint everytihg black….

    eXpecially LOVE those maps in the drawers. I just may steal that idea….

  4. I love it! I have some furniture that needs painted by a professional. 😉 When I paint furniture, it always looks ~painted~. When you paint furniture, it looks fabulous!

  5. Your dresser does look terrific, but the highlight of reading this post was the Bob Ross reference – haven’t thought about him in years!

  6. phoenixrestoration says:

    Perfect or not – it looks fantastic. Totally agree that the nickel color was the way to go on these. I did the same thing with Quinn’s Broyhill (where I would normally opt for brass). Silver just feels more boyish. Great work!

  7. Jo says:

    Looks perfect to me. Love that hammered spray paint; it’s amazing how it forms up. Maps in the drawer — hmmmm! Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  8. You did an amazing job! Love the nickel finished hardware.

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