How to Add Wallpaper to Dresser Drawers

Cassie Bustamante

Learn how to update an older or out of the box dresser's drawers with wallpaper. This application will add style and personality to your furniture.

Wallpaper dresser before and after

You can use wallpaper to update an older dresser's drawers or add a personal touch to a store-bought piece of furniture. Choose a wallpaper that speaks to you, and in a weekend's time you will have a beautifully updated dresser. Wallpaper isn't just for walls anymore.

    Prepare Your Drawers for Priming

  1. Remove all knobs or pulls from your drawers before proceeding. If you are working with a drawer that has cracks or holes, it's important to use wood filler to fill the cracks and seal any holes. If the wood is unsealed, it needs sealing. As you can see, the dresser drawer used here had a few cracks in its surface.

  2. Cracks in wood
  3. Using a putty knife, apply your wood filler generously. Allow it to dry completely, following the instructions and dry time on the package.

  4. Wood filler generously applied
  5. After it has dried, sand the wood filler smooth so that it is flush with the rest of the drawer. Continue to sand the drawer to prepare for priming.

  6. Prime the Drawers

  7. Using a brush, apply the first coat of primer following the grain of the wood.

  8. Tip

    Primer is an important step, as it will create a solid white background to which your paper can be applied, and it will also help further seal porous wood and prevent air bubbles in your paper.

  9. As you can see, after only one coat, there were some rough areas and it was still rather translucent.

  10. One coat of primer
  11. Sand the drawers very lightly with 200-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots, and apply a second coat if desired. After the second coat has dried, lightly sand for a smooth finish.

  12. Second coat of primer sanded

    Apply the Wallpaper

  13. Measure your drawers exactly. Cut your paper about 1 to 2 inches extra in length and width to give yourself a little wiggle room. You will be able to trim it after it is on the drawer.

  14. Tip

    • If you are working with a mural or a repeat pattern, line up the paper so that the drawers' final images are cohesive. With this particular dresser featuring a mural paper, the bottom drawer was papered first, working up to the top to keep the mural in line. * A thin coat of decoupage medium will be white upon immediate application but should turn clear in less than 30 seconds.
  15. Using a foam brush, apply a thin coat of decoupage medium to your drawer. If your medium jar does not have a wide mouth that will fit your brush, you may need a plastic cup to pour it into.

  16. Apply the paper, leaving yourself a slight overhang on each edge.

  17. Slight overhang of paper
  18. Use a credit card or the like to smooth out any air bubbles.

  19. Allow the medium to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

  20. Trim the Edges

  21. Place your drawer face down on a cutting mat. Use a box cutter or razor blade to trim the excess paper from your drawer, following along the edge of the drawer.

  22. Trim the excess paper off the drawers

    Seal the Paper

  23. Apply at least two top coats of decoupage medium for a hard, protective finish. It will go on milky but will dry clear.

  24. Decoupage medium applied as top coat
  25. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

  26. Locate and Punch Hardware Holes

  27. If you are working with a dresser that had existing hardware holes, you will want to locate them and clear the paper from them so that you can add hardware. If your dresser did not need any hardware, you can skip this step. Many modern dressers do not have hardware.

  28. Using a wooden skewer, come from the inside of the drawer, poking slightly through to the front of the drawer, just allowing the tip to break through.

  29. Poking through hardware hole with skewer
  30. Just the tip of the skewer should peek through the paper.

  31. Tip of skewer peeking out
  32. After you have made a tiny hole in the paper, come through the front of the drawer and push the skewer all the way through, wiggling it a little as you enter to clear the paper out of the hole.

  33. Skewer entering drawer through front
  34. This process will help push the paper back in to the drawer so that it does not visibly tear.

  35. After you have the holes made, you can apply your desired hardware and call it done.

  36. Finished wallpapered dresser