Steamer Trunk Inspired Curbside Chest of Drawers Makeover

Yvette Gray
by Yvette Gray
This chest of drawers was rescued from the curbside and I decided to turn it into a Steampunk/Steamer Trunk inspired chest. I created the faux leather drawers with brown paper bags and the rivets were created with inexpensive wooden hole plugs from Home Depot. Total cost to makeover this chest was $2
After: Steamer Chest inspired Chest of Drawers.
Before: This chest had a spray painted top and tons of scratches. It wasn't too bad to look at but it felt very dated and tired looking.
Side view. Lots and lots of scratches on this guy.
Crumpled and torn up pieces of brown paper bags were used to create the faux leather look of the drawer fronts.
The drawers covered with the brown bags showing the three top drawers before staining. The bottom drawer has been stained.
I used these to create my "rivets". These were about $2 at Home Depot. I painted them silver to look like metal.
Here are the wooden plugs after being painted.
An old metal measuring tape was added between the panels of the top drawer to give it more depth and character.
Finally, I painted on the year "1892" to give it a Victorian era vintage feel.
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 6 questions
  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Jan 27, 2018

    can you please tell us how you did this step by step?

  • Jennifer Lee Jennifer Lee on Jun 17, 2019

    how did you affix the paper to the dresser? what type of stain did you use? what kind of sealer? is this durable?

  • Jeanne Creel Jeanne Creel on Jun 20, 2019

    Love it, would like to try it. Wondering if it is done same as I have seen tutorials of brown paper floors. Isn't it a mixture of Elmer's glue the brown paper bags are soaked in?

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2 of 83 comments
  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Nov 21, 2019

    I absolutely love this and when I get brave enough I will try it.

  • Cinlu Cinlu on May 08, 2020

    I had to reread the paper technique 3 times, because it seemed too simple! Hope my faux leather looks as good as yours! It is exactly the finish I was looking for a way to create.