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Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques

When I first set out to paint this piece, I had some inspiration from a photo that I took at the dentists office (you’ll see it below) – of a brightly colored bird in blues, purples, oranges and pinks. It was going to be amazing, I thought! And it would perfectly match the colors in the decoupage that I had added to the top 3 drawers. Well things didn’t go quite as planned with this dresser makeover so I had to step away and come back again with fresh eyes to be able to see what it was missing. When you watch the YouTube video you’ll see exactly what I mean. So let’s get started on this dresser makeover with decoupage and distressing techniques.

Supply List: What you’ll need for the Dresser Decoupage and Distressing Techniques

* This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase from one of these links, I could make a commission at no charge to you. Keep in mind, this is everything that I used, but if you don’t need to fix the knobs or do some of the other prep work that I did, you won’t need these items.

Step 1: Cleaning the Dresser before the Makeover

This was a dresser that I already had in my art room and had previously painted for someone, but it was too big. So I kept it and have been using it, but it was missing the color that I love for all of my pieces and I decided now was the time to fix that. Since I was the one who had painted it and I knew what products I had used, I just gave it a good cleaning with White Lightening but if you’re new to painting and you come across a previously painted piece, it’s a good idea to stay away if you don’t know what is under that paint. I stress the cleaning every time I write a blog post because it’s not something you can skip! We can’t get to the Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques until the prep work is done.

Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques

Cleaning with White Lightening cleaner and a clean rag

Step 2: Adding Rice Paper Decoupage to the Dresser Drawers

These are brand new rice paper sheets by and they’re only available for pre-order right now. This pattern is called Colorful Floral with Black and White and it’s so pretty – bright and colorful with the large flower print. These are really easy to work with and perfect for beginners who haven’t done decoupage before.

Brand new rice paper designs!

Since this piece had been previously painted and the rice paper sheets are quite thin, I painted the drawers first with Sawmill Gravy which is close to white.

Painting the drawers so that the previously painted design doesn’t show through the rice paper.

When that was dry, I lined up the rice paper sheets to make sure that I cut them to just the right size and used my finger to crease where I wanted to cut the sheet.

Using my finger to crease where I need to cut to fit in the space.

Before putting on the rice paper, I applied a coat of Satin Clear Coat which will act as an adhesive for the rice paper. Apply a thin coat before positioning the rice paper.

Applying a thin later of Satin Clear Coat to act as an adhesive for the rice paper.

Then it was time to position the rice paper. Don’t worry about this too much – if you get the positioning wrong, you can lift it and fix it. This product is very forgiving! Once you have it in the right position give it another coat of Satin Clear Coat using a foam brush.

Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques

Using a foam brush, I applied another layer of Satin Clear Coat overtop of the rice paper.

To add another piece to the same drawer, just cut and match it up. It’s meant to be a continuous pattern and it lines up beautifully. Just take your time and repeat the same steps – clear coat, rice paper and then another clear coat on top.

Take your time and line up the papers so that the patterns match perfectly. Noone will know these are two sheets!

Step 3: When the Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques Doesn’t Go As Planned

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by a photo that I’d seen because of the colors and I thought they would work perfectly with the colors in the decoupage rice paper BUT I was wrong! This is when the Dresser Makeover with Decoupage and Distressing Techniques didn’t go quite as planned, but it all worked out in the end. Keep reading!