Decoupaged Dresser Makeover With Quilt Squares

6 Materials
10 Hours

This decoupaged dresser makeover idea came to me after I created my decoupaged quilt squares pumpkin with some fabric quilt square lots that I found at a thrift store.

I have tons of quilt squares and I’ve been looking for fun ways to use them. When this idea popped into my head at first I thought it was crazy.

But, honestly, that has never stopped me from doing a project before… so why should this be any different.

Actually, a crazy idea encourages me rather than discourages me. I love bringing crazy ideas to life.

Have you heard of crazy quilts? Well I’m calling this my crazy dresser.

Here's the dresser after I removed some red and white toile wallpaper from the drawers and doors.

I got out my lot of thrifted quilt squares and put them in piles.

In this pic there's one pile of 4 inch squares, two piles of 3 inch squares, and four piles of 2 inch squares.

These quilt squares have so many different patterns and colors.

For the top of the dresser I decided to use the large 4x4 inch squares, and I divided them up by colors. Because the colors in the bedroom are mostly greens, pinks, and cream/yellows, that's what I pulled from the 4 inch pile... with a few blues in case I needed them.

I laid my squares out on the dresser so I could play with the design until I was happy with how it looked. I mixed and matched the patterns and colors just by winging it really.

There's no right or wrong here.

Once I was happy with my dry fit it was time to decoupage those squares onto my dresser.

For this I used DecoArt Decoupage Medium, a 4 inch foam brush, and an aluminum meat pan pie.

I kept my squares in their pattern, just moving them slightly aside as I worked my way across the dresser top.

I applied the decoupage medium on to the dresser, and then lay each square down in place. You could also apply some medium to the underside of the fabric squares, but after trying that with a few squares I found it was too tedious so I stopped.

I had no problem with just putting the medium onto the dresser.

Once I was completely done I used my brayer to smooth down any lumps and bumps that I may have missed.

I also made sure to get the decoupage medium on the pieces that were extending over the edge.

This makes the edges so much easier to trim once the excess fabric is nice and stiff.

Then I left my dresser top to dry. You can see that I cut a few of the pieces hanging over the edge.

I used those pieces for the small filler spots along the back of the dresser.

Now that the top was done it was time to move onto the front of the dresser.

First the two doors, which I'm doing with 3 inch squares.

I removed the dresser doors so it would be easier to apply the squares.

It would be pretty impossible to deal with the hinged edge of the doors with them still attached to the dresser.

Again, just like with the dresser top squares I pulled 3 inch squares in the pinks, greens and cream/yellows.

I glued them down with the decoupage medium the same way I did the dresser top, smoothing with my fingers as I went.

Then after the doors got the brayer treatment I applied a coat of the medium on top.

Once the top coat was dry and the fabric was stiff I trimmed off the excess with an xacto knife with a very sharp blade.

I did the same to the dresser top.

Next it was on to the drawers.

When applying the squares to the drawers I removed the pulls, kept the drawers in place, and just winged the pattern as I went.

This seemed to take a lot less time than figuring out the pattern, like I did with the top and the doors.

When you wing it you can still make small adjustments as you go, but you don't have time to second guess and change your mind as much.

It was easy to find my center on the drawers because of the handle placement, but on the top, doors, and sides I had to measure to figure out my center.

And here's my three drawers done, applying the squares using the same method as the top and the doors.

After doing a top coat I pulled the drawers out to dry.

And here are the drawers all trimmed out.

After I trimmed the excess fabric from the doors I put them back in place.

I let the whole thing dry and cure for 24 hours.

Then I did a light sanding with a fine grit sanding block, but a fine grit sandpaper could be used too. I just find a sanding block easier to use.

The sanding is necessary to get rid of any raised fibers in the fabrics.

I want as smooth a finish as I can get, but it may not be perfectly smooth everywhere because I'm working with fabric pieces and that's ok with me. 

When sanding decoupaged fabric you don't need to apply much pressure at all, a light touch is all you need.

When I was done sanding another coat of the decoupage medium went over the whole thing.

To create the holes for the handles I poked the xacto knife through the fabric so I could put them back in place.

I kept them the raspberry red to go with the trim of the dresser top because I like the way the red goes with the new look.

It's not a true red, but more of a raspberry deep pinky red.

After I put the handles on I decided to do the sides of the dresser with quilt squares as well.

They just looked kinda bare to me and at this point I thought, well, the more the merrier.

For this I really had to wing it because I didn't have enough in any size squares so I used all three sizes, and created a pattern as I went.

And then I followed that same pattern on the other side, with whatever squares I had available to me.

I was starting to get pretty low on the colors that I wanted to use, so there are a lot of darker greens on this side.

Thrifters can't be choosers. I use what I have.

This side won't be seen when the dresser is back in place, but I wanted to do it just in case I move the dresser in the future and it will be seen.

Once my dresser was back in place I did two coats of a stays clear poly just on the top, lightly sanding between coats.

There's nothing worse than doing a project that you love and then have it yellow over time. Unless that's what you're going for.

I love and always use Benjamin Moore's Stays Clear because it does just what it says, it stays clear.

So here's the before again.

And the after.

It took some time and patience, but it really wasn’t that hard to do. I did it over a couple of weekends, and it probably took about 10 hours not including drying time.

Not sure how many squares I used, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 400. I think I might have to count them sometime when I have nothing better to do. 

I used up most of the greens, pinks, yellow and creams, but I have a bunch of squares still left for other projects in other color combos.

My crazy dresser makeover was really a labor of love for me, and it will be around for a long, long time.

If some squares are ever damaged or start to wear, I’ll just cut them out and replace them with some new squares.

I love creating unique one of a kind pieces like this, and then sharing what’s possible when we let what we think is a crazy idea actually become a reality.

If you enjoyed this project you can find more decoupage projects on my blog here.

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Trudy
    on Sep 29, 2020

    Did you have any trouble with fraying along the edges? How did you prevent this from happening? Your work is so neat it looks like the pieces are sewn together.

    • Flipturn
      on Oct 16, 2020

      If the fabric pieces have been cut on the grain, they will be less likely to fray when manipulated, compared with pieces that have been cut against the grain, or on the bias.

Join the conversation

4 of 50 comments
  • Rita Hendricks
    Rita Hendricks
    on Oct 16, 2020

    Hi, I'm not real fond of the "Crazy Quilt" look on the dresser, but it has inspired me to do a fabric Mod Podge with same fabric on my grandson's small 4 drawer street rescue dresser his daddy brought home...

    • Color Me Thrifty
      Color Me Thrifty
      on Oct 16, 2020

      Hi Rita, I get that this isn't for everyone, and we all need to do what we love. Hometalk is all about giving and getting inspiration, and I'm so happy that my dresser has inspired you in some way.

  • Rita Hendricks
    Rita Hendricks
    on Oct 17, 2020

    I'm thinking Camo

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