A couple months ago I picked up the cutest antique dresser. The shape and size make it the perfect piece for the remodel I am planning for our 1/2 bath. The dresser was sturdy, had character, and was in great condition except for one ugly little detail, it was covered in nail polish. Being the mother of 3 girls, I can totally picture some darling 3-year-old sneaking into her mom’s polish and then going to town on herself and everything around her!
When I say nail polish, I don’t mean just a drop or two. We are talking 5 or 6 different layers of color, including glitter, all over the top and then running down the entire front of this piece. That poor mom probably had a good cry when she found that mess! I totally feel for her. We’ve all been there in some way or another! Mine involved my 2 oldest kids and a cream pie. Oh man, the cream pie.
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My first thought was to hit the nail polish with my orbital sander. After 5 minutes of sanding, the polish was still thick as ever. I figured that there had to be a better way so I hopped on a Facebook group for furniture painters that I am a part of and asked if anyone had ever dealt with something similar. Several ladies said to try acetone polish remover so I pulled some from my stash and gave it a try.
10 minute nail polish trick
At first, I used a cotton pad soaked in acetone to scrub the polish. This worked a bit but not much and definitely not quickly. Since I knew I would be sanding the dresser eventually, I decided to try soaking several cotton pads in the acetone and then laying them on the nail polish. I left them there to sit a while and hopefully soften up the hard nail polish.
After 10 minutes I lifted up the cotton to find polish stuck all over them! I used those same soaked cotton pads to wipe away the softened polish that now came off quite easily. Letting the soaked cotton sit on the polish worked like a charm and I was so relieved! I probably could have done the process one more time with clean cotton and gotten everything off, but since the thick nail polish was gone I simply gave it a quick sand after the wood was dry. Sanding helped remove any leftover residue.
To be honest, I could have slapped on a really heavy grit sand paper and taken the polish off that way but I chose not to because I wanted to leave as much of the dresser top intact as possible. When you sand heavily, you remove a lot of the wood and risk changing the shape. Using the acetone only took 10 minutes and left my top exactly how I wanted.
My antique dresser is now nail polish free!
With the manicure nightmare behind me, it’s time to move on with my project. In the next week or two, it will get refinished and repurposed into the cutest little vanity for the odd shaped 1/2 bath on our main floor. I don’t know if this trick is the best option if you have nail polish on an existing finish that you want to keep original as the acetone will definitely mess up your finish. That being said, if you find polish on a project piece, don’t be scared out of buying it! What a shame if I would have passed up on this fun dresser just because a little girl’s manicure went terribly wrong. 10 minutes and some acetone is all you need to get that project moving along.
Speaking of, I better get going on this one.
Who wants to tell my hubby that I’m installing board and batten and putting up wallpaper? No? Yeah, me neither. Eek.
What mess did your kid make that had you rocking in the corner trying not to cry?
Come on, you know you had at least one.
For more on prepping furniture go HERE.