Easily Upcycle Furniture With This DIY Textured Dresser Makeover

7 Materials
1 Day

Recently I got my hands on a piece of furniture that was headed for the dump. It was in pretty bad shape, dirty, beat up, and certainly not pretty to look at. Not only did I want to make over this piece into something lovely for my home, I also wanted to add some fun texture. The technique I’m going to show you today is a quick and easy way to add texture to a piece of furniture, without having to work too hard. This technique can be applied to basically any piece of wooden furniture, but I’ll show you how I used it on a cute little dresser for my bedroom!

Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  • Dresser
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Gilding wax
  • Sandpaper
Clean and Prep
Clean and Prep

The most important part of prepping your piece for a project is thoroughly cleaning it. Using some very hot water and soap, I scrubbed the drawer, making sure to remove any dust, dirt, or grime. As you can see, it still looks pretty rough, but what’s important is that it’s clean, as we’ll be covering it up anyways.


I also gave it a light sanding to smooth down any rough or raised parts. Finally, I filled in the holes left by the old hardware with wood filler as I was planning on updating the hardware as well.

White Tissue Paper
Add Glue

For my project I’m using white tissue paper, but you can work with whatever color you like. I started by crinkling up the tissue paper into a tight ball and then flattening it back out.

Add Glue

I added a layer of white glue to the surface of the wood. Use a damp brush to help you move the glue around, but do make sure to absolutely get the glue onto every bit of the surface.

Add Tissue Paper
Add Tissue Paper

Once I had completely covered the wood with glue, I lay a piece of the scrunched up tissue paper on top. Using another scrunched up piece of tissue paper and pushed the first piece of tissue paper into the wood completely. 

Press in Place

Continue doing this with more pieces of tissue paper until the furniture is covered entirely. You can see just how much texture the scrunched up tissue paper adds. Next, I left it to dry completely.

Remove Excess Tissue Paper

If there are any bits of paper hanging over the edges, go in with sandpaper and just lightly sand it off. If you don’t have sandpaper an emery board works well, and if you don’t have that you can use a wet paintbrush, drag it along the edges, and the excess paper will come off easily.


Next, I got to painting! I’m using a lovely turquoise that perfectly complements the new hardware I’ve chosen for my piece. Make sure to get a good coverage of paint on the piece and then let it dry completely. 

Gilding Wax
Emphasize the Texture

I used a paint that doesn’t need a topcoat so once the paint had dried, I could immediately get to work with gilding wax. If you used a paint that needs a topcoat, make sure to do that first. Wax always comes last. 

Emphasize the Texture

I picked up a bit of the wax with my fingertip and very carefully brushed it across the drawer. I tried to only get it on the bits of raised texture in order to emphasize it.

Add Hardware

Then I added my hardware and I was ready to put it all back together.

Textured Dresser Upcycle

DIY Textured Dresser Upcycle

Look at that! The gilding wax beautifully highlights the texture I created using tissue paper. I also love the color combination of turquoise and gold! What colors would you use on your textured furniture upcycle? Let me know in the comments below!

Resources for this project:

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Julie McDowell - Design Artist
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  3 questions
  • Lte12707479 Lte12707479 on Jun 16, 2020

    How does the paint hold up? Does it chip easily?

  • Sophie. Kilby Sophie. Kilby on Jun 16, 2020

    Hi, I have so many projects going right now that I need to complete: wood, yarns, fabric and painting. I could use, “ three men and a truck.” 🤪

    I’m a true Gemini and like to keep my hands and head busy! I’m never bored, for sure.

    Julie, what arts and crafts are your favorites?

  • Michelle Michelle on Aug 04, 2020

    Was all the painting on the front of the dresser free-hand, or do they have patterns


Join the conversation

4 of 27 comments
  • Jim Jim on Jul 10, 2020

    Nice job! Inspiring! Your approach and explanations throughout project guides us well. Especially the cleaning prep. Gives me ideas for other project ideas. Thank you for taking time.

    Jim Z

  • Marie Friederich Marie Friederich on Jul 17, 2020

    Yes. I have an old best-up chest I’d like to do with my granddaughter. Thank you for a great and relatively simple technique!