Dressers and Vanities

1980 Dresser Drab to Fab

How to apply textured wallpaper onto furniture drawers. 1980’s dressers have everything going for a painted makeover, taking them drab to fab: very little detail & less drawer wear and tear. “New” wood holds less stain surprises than “Old” antique wood too. Blank canvases are harder to design though but give lot’s of options.

Being a little less talented on the style side, I use successful sources for inspiration. Searching images on Google and Pintrest provide lots of ideas. This one came from Brushed by Brandy, she is THE super star of the furniture painting world. I chose it because it had wide un-detailed drawers, just like my dresser.

How I Got The Look

Choosing the color was the hardest part. I didn’t want a silvery or blue kind of gray. The two colors had to have very little contrast. I went with Essential Gray, a true light gray, and a custom blend cottony white, not stark. (I have a hard time getting photo’s to show true colors without a lighted studio).

There was some textured wall paper in my ‘inventory’ to use on the drawers instead of making raised stencils like the inspiration piece. It’s very close to the same effect but lot’s easier and less messy – I’m lazy. Here's how to apply it:

How To Apply Textured Wallpaper to Dresser Drawers

  1. Measure the pattern and compare it to the drawer dimensions. Figure out the cleanest cuts to make. (The pattern width of the paper was 1/2″ less than the drawer on this piece. I placed a swatch on the drawer to see if it would look okay with a 1/4″ space on each side and it did.).
  2. The drawer function had to be considered for the length measurement. These drawers go inside not outside the dresser! If the paper was taken to the very edge, I fear wear and tear would eventually cause the paper to peel, so I cut it well within the edges.
  3. Mark placement of the paper on the drawers and paper so you can tell when it’s perfectly centered by lining up the marks.
  4. Now for gluing – I may not have found the best method but I do know that spray adhesive isn’t strong enough! On this piece, I ended up brushing on a thinned out coat of Elmer’s glue then I used a roller to press it down – watch for air bubbles. Do your best to press the edges.

The texture is glazed and wiped to highlight the design – using the same color as the body. Low contrast is my mission though it’s tempting to want the detail to really show and pop.

The original knobs are the right size but bland so I pimped’em out with mold appliques and then glaze. I never thought to put molds on knobs before and I think it went really well!

Following the inspiration piece, keyhole molds are added to the drawers, a big detail mold on the top drawer plus the stripes, and also a little bow tie on the bottom skirt. I love highlighting molds with some glam – Rub-N-Buff Pewter for these.

Thank you Brushed by Brandy for your letting me follow your design and style. I would never have come up with this on my own! Check the For Sale page to see if this one is available.

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