When Life Gives You Project Lemons

When Life Gives You Project Lemons


This post is sponsored by HomeRight.

Painted Dresser DIY

I almost laughed when I posted this picture.

It looks so pretty and pristine.  Right?  Every detail where it should be.  Like butter would melt in its mouth.

A painted dresser that I would take out for scones and sweet tea.

But where we started?

The road to get here?  It was bumpy and rough and full of pitfalls.  To quote George Costanza, “The sea was angry that day my friends.”

So here’s the day in the life of a project that was working overtime to turn into a lemon…..

….but I snatched it from the jaws of defeat and turned it into project lemonade.

dresser before

Here’s the before.

Well….this is the before after its been primed.

Here’s the real before before.

It’s an IKEA Rast Dresser.  $34.99 all day all the time.


Enter great project idea number one.

I was going to take these stickers (only $3.99 and 40%off) and cover the entire front of the drawers and create the look of an embossed wood panel.

Brilliant?  Right?

Except this idea occurred to me at minute number 37 of my Hobby Lobby visit and people were staring at me wanting to go to the water park and tapping their toes and sighing.

Lots and lots of sighing.

And I got frazzled and severely underestimated the number of stickers I needed per drawer (somehow I forgot there were three of them).

painted dresser ideas

Enter brilliant idea number 2.

The embossed panel look would just be in the center of each drawer.

Overall embossed drawers are so 2014, I told myself.

So I applied the stickers like this.

Paint Sprayer DIY

Brilliant idea number 3.

Use the paint sprayer HomeRight sent me.

Just between us…I was a little intimidated.  I’ve never used a paint sprayer before.  I wasn’t even sure what to expect when it came out of the box.

But it was SO easy.

It came with a sprayer part that looks like this.

Paint Sprayer

You fill up the jar with paint.

We added SW Mindful Gray (of course).

And you screw it onto the sprayer.

Paint Sprayer Base

Paint Sprayer Hose

This is the base of the sprayer (with a space for an extra jar of paint so you don’t have to stop and refill) that attaches onto a very, very, very long hose which attaches onto the sprayer.

That’s it.


You plug it in and spray and literally 10 minutes later it looks like this.

Dresser Project During

Isn’t the finish so pretty?

If you surface is a little bit rough from the primer (like the top).

You just let it dry, sand it and spray another coat.

DIY Dresser Project during

So here’s my embossed wood.

Pretty…but a little boring.

Enter brilliant idea number 4 (have you lost count about now).  I would add a little white to the tops of the stickers to make them pop.


Except when I added the white, the paint got all over the dresser, not just on the tops of the stickers.

Frantically, I grabbed a paper towel and started trying to scrub off the white paint which started dripping down the front of the dresser.

And in the process of scrubbing (you totally know where this is going)….

….I scrubbed the some of the stickers right off.

Dresser Project

I could have cried.

I picked up those pieces of stickers, torn and wet and covered in white paint and tried to stick them back on.

They fell off.

And brought some more sticker friends with them.

Painted Dresser How To

And all of a sudden mid-restick….I noticed something.

The pattern under the stickers was so pretty.

And fancy.

And curly.

Painted Dresser How To Project

And here’s where I had my most brilliantest idea of the day.

Peel off the stickers to show the beautiful pattern underneath.

Hello lemonade.

Painted Dresser DIY

So I peeled off the rest of the stickers.

And revealed the beautiful pattern and added knobs.

And photographed it with fresh hibiscus flowers from the yard.


It turned out perfect and wonderful and fancy with a little bit of sass….

….just like I planned it all along. 🙂


PS  If you want some other amazing dresser projects….click here to see them all over at the HomeRight website.

This post was written in collaboration with HomeRight.

All opinions on paint sprayers and lemons and projects are completely my own.

For more information, see my disclosure page.

DIY Painted Dresser Project Painted Dresser DIY project how to

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  1. Sometimes the “mistakes” turn into fabulous! Serendipity! Looks lovely. I have a couple of dressers that could use some love but I’m going to get to the sad sack end table first. Maybe even this weekend.

  2. Jen from Ottawa :

    Good work! And good for you for not giving up! Sometimes you have to start over when a project gets away from you – luckily you had something beautiful right there – only one step back. Cute choice of knobs also – so feminine 🙂 – and that’s not very easy with a lot of Ikea furniture. Bravo!

  3. I love your finished “lemonade” project….it turned out so pretty! It makes your heart sing when a you hit a snag in a project only to find that it’s a positive turn of events!

  4. SWEET!
    Love Hallmark Happy Endings!
    <3 <3 <3

  5. LOL That’s where I thought you were headed all along! Stickers make wonderful stencils. 🙂

  6. This little project just makes me want to put !’s all over the place!!!!!!! So cute and perfect Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  7. ❤️I think I have a chest that needs a rescue! We both thank you!!

  8. Awesomely beautiful! And I love the knobs- great choice!

  9. Our daughter is heading back to college this fall and has her first apartment.
    Guess what she needs? Yep. A dresser. $34.99 and Karianne inspiration, done.
    Thank you!

  10. Great recovery! I have had a string of projects like this, except mine have all been cases of wood bleed through. I finically became friends with spray shellac. What a great product that is! The result has been a radically transformed basement and some super cute storage pieces and chairs, but every single one of them has given me a run for my money. But then again, it’s become such a part of me to fix things, that I don’t know what it would be like to buy something off the shelf. Just between you and me, I do have daydreams of Jonathon from Property Brothers showing up at my house and making it all beautiful for me, down to the last detail and I just get to move in and live. ‘Sigh’
    Have a lovely day friend,
    The Other Marian

  11. I love it…in all it’s bling and curly beauty-fullness!! : )

  12. I want my mistakes to be as glorious as this! Sometimes when things do not work out how we wanted, they still work out. This is a good thing for people like me, who do not always understand how our ideas will really be when we try to bring them to life.

  13. KariAnne let me just say in my book you’re brilliant! Beautiful DIY project.

  14. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it turned out! I’ve had a few projects like this too – ones that evolve into something even better than I had imagined, if I can get past all of the preconceived notions of what it was supposed to be in my head and the heart ache that goes with letting go. It’s absolutely perfect KariAnne!!!

  15. I would have never guessed that you used stickers. I’m glad that you were able to save all that hard work.

  16. Donna Marie :

    Some of my best “mistakes” turn out to be my best projects—or to put it your way the best tastin’ lemonade eva!!!

  17. I like it better, too!!! Perfect! 🙂 You are so smart. You do know that Coca-Cola was the result of an experiment gone wrong, as well? 😉 You’re in good company.

  18. Love it! Who wants lemons when you can have lemonade anyway.

  19. See, this is an example of what I mean when I say you are one of those rare souls who keeps it real…you could’ve just posted this sweet, little beauty like her astounding makeover went off without a hitch and no one would’ve been any the wiser, myself included. That you shared your struggles with us, only goes to show what a genuine and honest heart you have and this is one of the biggest reasons why I keep coming back to read you! This is one sweet little dresser, fit for any room in any home…you turned her into quite the stunning lady…and I’ll bet lemonade never tasted sweeter! 🙂

  20. Karianne, I love how the knobs are set within the “stenciling.” What a classy little dresser!

  21. Boy, that sure was a lot of planning!!! 😉 turned out great.

  22. the dresser looks great…sometimes our mistakes turn out better than our well laid out plans. lol

  23. Carolyn Anderson :

    Where did you get those knobs? They’re beautiful!

  24. This is beautiful. Congratulations! Maybe I missed something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how, if you already painted the chest Mindful Gray, then painted over the stickers with the same paint, then removed the stickers, how is the sticker/stencil area now white? Please enlighten me!



    • Judith, I believe the stickers were placed on the dresser after a coat of primer. Then it was sprayed with the grey paint. It is the primer color (white) that you are seeing that creates the lovely design after the stickers were removed.

      KariAnne, just wow! Simply beautiful.

  25. I too love the knobs. Where or where did you find them?

  26. It’s beautiful KariAnne,nothing better than a happy accident! Those knobs are to die for where did you find them?

  27. So just where is this royal beauty going to reside AND what treasures will she hold?

  28. Such a pretty little dresser in her new clothes. Are the knobs from Hobby Lobby too?

  29. Robin Stephens :

    WOW… I had knots in my stomach as I read the “falling-off-not-sticking-back” part. Literally! Whew, I am thankful for that happy, happy, happy ending! I feel great now! Beautiful is truly an understatement.

  30. What a happy accident! It was meant to be!
    I totally LOVE Seinfeld :).

  31. I absolutely love that ! I’m going to try something like that on a piece of furniture that I am going to paint for a spare bedroom I am redecorating ! I need to go to Ikea !

  32. Looks so cute! You were actually stenciling the entire time, you just didn’t know it until the end! right? 😉


  34. Beautiful job, KariAnne! I love your lemonade analogy. 🙂
    Due to many “lemon” projects in my life, I’ve taken to singing Garth Brook’s “The Dance” as I start to tackle a new one…
    “And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
    The way it all would end, the way it all would go
    My work is better left to chance
    I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance…”

    Ahem…my apologies to Garth…and my neighbors.

  35. Absolutely Brilliant! In fact I thought you were going to use the as decals *wink* and then just pop the off. Just call it backwards painting 🙂 I love the chest. Where are you going to put it?? I really love any furniture with storage because a woman always has to put things in places and I am always running out of space. I think someone comes in our house and starts stuffing their junk in my space. I know I couldn’t possibly have that much crap er — important stuff. Love your chest — you are the rock star!

  36. Just beautiful!

  37. This is beautifully brilliant! I LOVE THIS!!!!! This is soooo BADA BLING:D Your a Genius doll!
    But isn’t that how it happens…you start out doing one thing- it then leads to something else- and before you know it, you feel like a genius through the mishaps! That’s why I always say, “fear no mistakes, because there are none!”

  38. Don’t you just love it when the unexpected is better than anything you could’ve planned? Me too!

  39. You are so witty but girl you are so smart and talented!! Great job. Trial and Error.

  40. I love happy accidents and the dresser is a great one!!! I especially love the knobs!!! I have always wondered about paint sprayers. It looks like you found a good one!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  41. Just letting you know I was here and thought this was great

  42. Dale Deacon :

    Well I hope you were sipping on freshly squeezed lemonade, with a slice of lemon and the chime of ice cubes with every southern gal sip, chuckle. Pretty amaking project and loved the sticker pattern. Like many of your readers, we will be looking at stickers in a new light…such sweet possibilities♡ The sprayer looks very user friendly and I like the long hose to move around furniture pieces as you spray. Way to go and thanks for the pure inspiration.

  43. I’ve always wanted a sprayer, and your end result on this chest (no matter how you got there … !!!) just proves to me that I do need one, and HomeRight is the one to get! I second the “motion” on the need for the long cord!
    Thanks yet again for sharing another wonderful project!!!

  44. Love a good lemons to lemonade story – we’ve all had them. The best part is the hidden gem (literally in your case) behind the oops. Your dresser is stunning and those knobs are to die for…okay, not to die for but pretty darn awesome!

  45. Oh man, that did it! I’m running to hobby lobby. I Looooooooove, this look! And the bling knobs oh em gee willakerz!

  46. So pretty…. so curly…. so YOU! Always thought I’d like to have a spray painter but the idea of clean up makes me step back. Washing brushes is trauma enough for this cowgirl… if you know about what I speak. Ha!!
    NICE JOB!!

  47. Wow, what a difference- you did a fabulous job, it’s beautiful!

    I stopped by from One Project at a Time.

  48. Wow! You did an amazing job! I love the embellishments and the hardware you used. Way to go!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  49. As I was reading I wondered how well those stickers stick and if they would fall off with time. Well, they did much sooner than I expected, lol. But it turned out great! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things! Hope to see you again this week 🙂

  50. This is beautiful! I’m in love with this idea. It would be the perfect project for my daughter’s room!