How to Add Wallpaper to Dresser Drawers

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

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

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.

Cracks in wood

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

Wood filler generously applied

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.

Prime the Drawers

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

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

One coat of primer

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.

Second coat of primer sanded

Apply the Wallpaper

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.

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.

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

Slight overhang of paper

Use a credit card or the like to smooth out any air bubbles.

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

Trim the Edges

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.

Trim the excess paper off the drawers

Seal the Paper

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

Decoupage medium applied as top coat

Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Locate and Punch Hardware Holes

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.

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.

Poking through hardware hole with skewer

Just the tip of the skewer should peek through the paper.

Tip of skewer peeking out

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.

Skewer entering drawer through front

This process will help push the paper back in to the drawer so that it does not visibly tear.

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

Finished wallpapered dresser

About the Author

Cassie Bustamante graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in English and Communication. She's always had a passion for writing and creativity which to led designing, DIY-ing, and documenting at primitiveandproper.com. When she's not designing for her home, she can be found merchandising her vintage shop, Sweet Clover.