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How To Decoupage Dresser Drawers - With Napkins!

Welcome back!  Last week you saw a garage sale dresser transformed with paint and decoupaged napkins.  If you missed it, click here

Today I have a little tutorial showing how it was done.  Let's get started, shall we?

The drawers were sanded down to bare wood and the edges were painted black to match the rest of the dresser.  The napkins were found at the Dollar Store.
Notice they are 2-ply napkins?  You only need one, so separate those layers!
Iron the one-layer.  It helps when you are ready to lay it down on the wet decoupage medium.  
Since the napkins were not wide enough to cover the entire drawer, I was going to have to piece them together.  These napkins also had a very definite pattern that was going to need matching, so it was time for some measuring.  I found the middle of the drawer and matched it to the middle of the napkin.  Then I marked the edges of the napkin on the edge of the drawer with chalk.  See the white (chalk) dot?
There are actually two of them as guides for laying down the napkin.  

At this point, you need to match two more napkins on either end.  If your napkins have a random pattern, you don't have to worry, but in this case, matching was a must. Once I knew how they were going to be placed, the drawer was brushed with decoupage medium.  I used Mod Podge (satin finish) and brushed it on with a chip brush.  It happened to be what was sitting on my shelf.
The first napkin was placed in the center of the drawer:
The other two were matched and put down....that's when I ran into trouble, but didn't know it.  See the line where I matched (and overlapped) the napkins?
Let me go back to the original pics of the napkins.  There is an edge that is a bit lighter.  
It's hard to see, but once it's decoupaged, it stand out like a sore thumb.  
Time for the true confession... I sanded everything off of two drawers because I couldn't live with the the big - obvious lines!  My husband thought it was fine, but my eye went right to them every time I looked at it.
The solution?  Trim those edges off and when you you match them, try not to overlap them too much.  It looks much better.  Trust me!

Now, back to the tutorial.  
The napkins were placed on the drawer over the decoupage medium and I needed to smooth them out.  There was no way to do that without ripping the napkin, but I found a solution:
I waited a few minutes and then ripped-off a piece of plastic wrap to lay over the drawer. Using my finger, very gently, I smoothed-out most of the wrinkles.  You're not going to get them all out, so don't even try.
See those wrinkles?
Just smooth them out through the plastic wrap, lift it up, move to another area - works like a charm.

Next, use a sanding block to trim the edges of the drawer.  The paper comes right off.

The white powder is just dust - it brushed right off.

I let the drawer dry for a bit and then applied the second coat of decoupage.  That's when I had my second panic attack....everything started bubbling!

Never fear...plastic wrap to the rescue:


The final step was a spray sealer - Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Spray Sealer.  My husband did it, since he's better at it than me! Two coats and set them aside to dry.

The knobs were attached and the drawers were done!
You can barely see the line where the napkins were matched.

One thing I want to note - this process was done over bare wood.  I wanted the wood to show-through for an 'aged' look.  If you don't want that look, I would recommend painting the drawer fronts white.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you in on a little secret....
I found another dresser and you know what I'm I'm going to do with it, right?  
You can see that dresser HERE.
Decoupage is a lot of fun.  I've done it before, but never on furniture and after this, I can say that I'll try it again.  I think it's a great way to give yourself a unique piece of furniture!

Please share your experience with decoupage (and any tricks you know) in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting the Cottage...I hope you'll pin, share, & follow.  Have a great week!

I hope you'll pin, share, comment, and follow.  If you click on those 3 little lines at the top right of the blog, you'll see where to find me!
Featured at:
Sunday's Best

Handmade Monday

Silver Pennies Sunday


  1. I absolutely love this! This is so fantastic and makes a beautiful piece with such character! Thank you so much for the tutorial. Also, thank you for the tips on what NOT to do! That is so important to know and I am so happy you included it! I pinned this and will try this on a piece at some point!:) Great Great job! thank you!

    1. I'm so glad you like it, Kathleen...and I' more than happy to share the "what not to do's". I usually learn those the hard way and there's no point in letting someone else do the same thing! Thank you for pinning it and I can't wait to see what you do.
      Have a great week!

  2. What a neat idea! :)

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  3. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I'm going to attempt to refinish furniture, so I'm going to pin this post for future reference. Thanks for sharing on Sunday's Best.

    1. Thank you, Rhonda, I appreciate the pin! Looking forward to seeing what you do...

  4. Thank you for the saran wrap tip and great tutorial. I've never had great luck with gluing paper, but your project has inspired me to give it another try. Thanks for sharing! Cynthia

    1. I'm happy to inspire, Cynthia - let me know how your project turns out!

  5. Ann, thanks for sharing your technique at Vintage Charm. I've never seen the saran wrap used and I think it must make the difference! Love it!

    1. It is my pleasure, Cecilia! I figured if it didn't stick to food, it might not stick to Mod Podge...I was right! Although, I still lifted it carefully. 😉
      Thank you for having me at Vintage Charm!

  6. Thank you, I loved learning more about decoupage and your project turned out so well. I am interested to see how it goes over the white paint. I think I would like that method.

    Blogger's Pit Stop

    1. I'm happy to share my experience, Kathleen. I do have another dresser that is sanded and ready for paint and decoupage. Now I just have to decide on colors (but the drawers will get a coat of white paint first)! It may not be done until after the holidays, but, stay tuned....I will share it.
      Thank you for stopping by....

  7. Thanks so much for the step by step and for sharing your "issues" with this. I was admiring the finished chest of drawers last week. I'd love to give it a try as I think it's absolutely beautiful. This is going to be one of the features at Handmade Monday later on today :-)

    1. It is my pleasure, Julie. I always said I was going to share 'the good, the bad, & the ugly' on this blog - that's how we learn, right? Thank you so much for the feature, I truly appreciate it!
      Have a great week.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party! I'll be featuring this tomorrow morning when the new party starts :)

    1. It's my pleasure to share, Tarah. Thank you so much for the feature!

  9. I've tried to decoupage napkins and have failed miserably. In fact that was the title of my post. So I have a lot of respect for you to be able to pull it off! Your dresser looks great and is certainly a one of a kind piece that everyone will talk about. Bravo!!

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that it didn't work for you, Mary...maybe you should give it another try?
      Thank you for stopping by and I'm so glad you like the dresser!

  10. Looks amazing Ann. Thanks for linking up at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week.

    1. Thank you, Kerryanne. I'm always happy to link up at The Shabby Art Boutique!

  11. I did not know the tip with the plastic wrap! I loved your dresser, it is now a piece of statement! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party :)

    1. Neither did I, was desperation! LOL I'm so glad you like the dresser and stopped by. Come back again soon!

  12. Oh, I must do this... I have a dresser that needs help. I used those cheap plastic gloves to work with tissue paper and glue, but the plastic wrap is probably easier.
    Thanks for the great post! (Confession and all!)

    1. Thanks, Nancy. This is one of my favorites...full-disclosure and all! LOL

  13. Good Morning Ann, Oh I am so excited by your tutorial.... I look forward to working on my own piece.
    Best Wishes


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