My dresser started out with a very thick polyurethane coating. The polyurethane was very smooth and shiny.
2. Wipe down the dresser so its nice, clean and dry.
3. Use a good separate primer only if you are going for a lighter color. For example, if you want to paint something dark brown and the existing color is blonde then bypass the primer. But if you want to paint something white and its currently blonde then use a primer. Paint on thin coats of primer until you get even coverage. I also like to sand very lightly with very fine sandpaper after using the primer so my project is nice and smooth. When i'm talking "sand very lightly" I'm talking about 15 minutes of sanding for the whole piece.
4. Special for my dresser. I used grasscloth wallpaper and covered the center of the drawers. I applied the wallpaper by wetting it and pasting it onto the dresser. I found the wallpaper at Homedepot for under $10 a roll. It can be found near the contact paper and liners section at Homedept.
5. Hardest part of the project. Pick a good paint color and paint the whole dresser. Paint two thin coats. Make sure to let them dry in between.
6. Once everything was dry, I used single nail heads and hammered them into the dressers one by one. I did not have to do any measurements. I just made approximate guesses that looked good and started hammering.
Here is a close up picture of the grasscloth wallpaper and nailheads.
Before picture just for comparison