Make a Statement Piece From an Old, Dark Chest of Drawers

Pamela Field
by Pamela Field
5 Materials
20 Hours

This tutorial will show you how this old, dark chest of drawers was updated using a few simple techniques. Using stains, paint, and decoupage, the features were highlighted to create a whole new look. This tutorial will show you step by step instructions how easy it is to do. The design possibilities are endless!

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This old chest of drawers was great quality, but needed some repairs and vision for a new look. I wanted to show off the beautiful trim hidden in the dark stain.

First thing to make this transformation is to prepare the surface for the transformation to come. All those years of furniture polish, dirt, and grime, need to be removed to offer a lasting surface for your paint and stains to adhere properly. Clean, sand and prime.

Do any repairs needed. The trim was damaged and some missing. Made a mold from undamaged trim, and used the mold filled with wood filler to replace the damaged trim.

My favorite part is next. Design!

I had this wrapping paper I'd ordered from Zazzle. I hung it on the chest and closed one eye, and squinted in an effort to envision the finished product. Yes! The colors and damask design could compliment that dark chest of drawers!

The pattern needed to be centered and didn't cover the entire drawers. I didn't want to cover the whole chest with paper, so needed paints with the same colors. Matched the pattern and set design centered on drawers. Chose paints to match the blues of the background, and rusty colors of the damask design.

Sprayed lacquer on both sides of paper for the drawers three times, allowing to dry between coats. This will seal the paper and avoid wrinkles when using water based products. Apply 3 coats of Gel Medium to the drawer fronts for adhesion.

After the gel medium dries, put a sheet of parchment paper then cover with a towel. Using a medium hot iron, begin in the middle of the drawer, working your way to the edge, attaching the paper to the drawer front. After attached, I added another coat of lacquer, watching for wrinkles. Trimed any excess paper on the drawer front.

The seam where the damask pattern was fit to match, seemed to show up more when attached. I'll work on that when working on the background paints later.

I wanted to use stain as much as possible, and highlight the carvings. I stained the sides and in between the drawers antique maple. Painted the carvings this pumpkin color with brown glaze to match the damask and maple trim.

Followed up with dark walnut for more trim detail.

Using Ralph Lauren Metallic Teal and Rust, with pearl and black glaze, the paint was blended to achieve the old, rusty look of the damask print background. Water spritzer was used when needed to blend.

Top drawers were painted with the same technique and paints

Using those same paints and technique, I touched up and blended the right side of the paper on the seam.

General Finishes Walnut Gel Stain was applied to the top of the chest. The drawer sides and interior were stained with antique maple. Dark walnut on top of drawer guides and dovetail joints. Hardware was painted dark walnut.

Three coats of poly topcoat sealed and completed this transformation.

Hope you like it!

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3 of 7 questions
  • Sharen Jett Sharen Jett on Feb 07, 2022

    Absolutely love this! ❤ have a dresser I would like to do

  • Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Yana Yana on Apr 21, 2023

    This is absolutely gorgeous!! Wow!! How did you blend the colors, what’s your technique? I am struggling with blending. Also you mentioned water spritzer, would regular water work? Just curious if water spritzer helps with anything better than regular water? Thank you and 👏 👏👏


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4 of 109 comments
  • Katen Katen on Jan 26, 2024

    First thought was nope but after seeing I am all in. Your color and design selections honor the piece to make this stunning. Great eye. Congratulations on job well done

  • Susan Susan on Jan 26, 2024

    Wow! You've used techniques I've never seen before! And solved some pretty common problems in the process! Thank you!