Desk Drawers Are A New Home for 2 Bettys

4 Materials
14 Hours

A few years ago I told my youngest grandchild if she ever gets rid of her student desk please give the drawers to me, as long as they aren't broken. Well, it happened last week. YAYYYYY!

My grandchild had used her desk as her art center. She has decided she's ready for something a bit more "her style" now. Once I got the drawers home they sat for a few days while I wondered what color I wanted to paint them and where in the house I wanted to place them. Then I decided I can think about these things while cleaning the drawers up. I love the natural patina on the drawer pulls, so those were left as is.

This drawer was the worst of the four inside and I didn't think it would ever come clean enough to not show through the paint. That is when I came up with the idea that I could paper the inside with the old, leftover prepasted wallpaper that my Mom had put away some 35+ years ago. Even though the inside of the drawers DID clean up very nicely, I decided to go ahead and use the wallpaper anyway.

I removed the hardware and set it aside, took the drawers out into the back area of my back yard and began spray painting them with Rustoleum 2 in 1 primer and paint. I decided on using White Blossom Satin because if I decide later to change the color, it will be easier to cover white than it would be to cover a darker color. The above picture is what the drawers looked like orginally after cleaning (being used as a "table"), and also with one coat of the primer/paint.

I decided to leave the centers of the insde of the drawers unpainted since I was going to cover the "bottoms" with wallpaper.

I had to use a total of 3 coats of the primer/paint combo on each drawer in order to get the inside and outside of each one finished to my liking. I let the back of the drawers stay natural because they are, after all, going to be against the wall. Then I let them dry overnight before proceeding with the wallpaper on the inside of them.

My Mom had 4 different patterns of prepasted wallpaper put aside, and I decided on using the bamboo paper that she had put on all 4 walls of my bedroom about 38 years ago to make it feel like a jungle  There were two different patterns to it; one has the stems only, and the other has stems AND leaves. I wanted to use 3 drawers stacked of stems only and the 4th drawer stacked on those with the stems AND leaves to make it look like a growing stand of bamboo encased in 'frames." So first I measured the inside of the drawers and then transferred the measurements to the wrong side of the paper. After measuring and marking, I cut it to size.

Once the paper has been cut to size the next thing to do is to quickly wet it down, gently shake it off, and place it into the drawer. I then used my hands to smooth it down, starting from the center and working out to the edges. Then I took a clean dry towel and wiped it all down being careful not to move it around, but to keep it stationary. I made sure to pay special attention to the edges, making sure they are well adhered.

These are the 4 desk drawers, all cleaned, painted, and wallpapered. Ready to go upstairs and be stacked, alternating the drawer fronts to either the left side or right. Once stacked I will know if they will need those 8 corner braces and 8 mending plates that I bought for this project just in case they didn't stack solid on top of each other.

Well the bottom 2 drawers stacked together very nicely, very solidly; no problem there. Let's see how the other two do on top of these.

Seems to be holding just fine; even when I stomped on the floor next to it to vibrate th floor it never moved (hope the stomping didn't further any cracks in the walls HAHAHAHA). So here is the final picture. My new DIY stacked set of shelves at the head of my stairway. A new home for 2 of my Bettys, 2 of dozens of favorite books, a small pic of my daughter and the baby pictures of each of my 2 grandchildren. I am very happy with the outcome, and the best part is that if I ever find a good desk without drawers, perhaps these will fit it. One never knows.

Suggested materials:

  • Used desk drawers   (my grandchild)
  • 4 cans Rustoleum 2 in 1 Primer & Paint   (WalMart)
  • Old leftover prepasted wallpaper, tap water   (from home)
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