May 2, 2012

Dresser Revamp (with fabric and liquid starch)

Over the past few weeks, I've been one busy little bee around the house.  I've ripped up the gross wall-to-wall carpeting in the girls' room and the master bedroom, painted the master bedroom and master bath, hung new curtains, helped put up new closet doors and made a headboard (post to come on that!).  

However, the project I'm most thrilled with is this dresser revamp!  A long time ago, I saw a show on HGTV using fabric and liquid starch to "wallpaper" a room.  (article here) While a whole wall of fabric wasn't something I was interested in, I thought the technique might work on furniture too.   Guess what?  It totally worked and turned out so awesome!  I seriously think this is my new favorite technique and I'm going to be going around liquid starch-ing fabric on everything now.

Check it out...



Isn't it awesome?  I think the cute plaid and the little butterflies almost look painted on, but it's really just fabric that was cut to fit and adhered with liquid starch.  It's so cute and so cheerful and so boutique-ish ~ but it was super inexpensive and really easy!


Check out this transformation...



Can you see why I'm so excited and thrilled with this project?  I got the dresser for just $30 at Goodwill.  I could tell it was a really good-quality dresser and it was in great shape, but the brown wasn't what I wanted for the girls' room.  I primed and painted it white, then added the fabric and wow, what a transformation!

It took me a couple days to paint it, but less than an hour to add the fabric, so if you already have a plain dresser, you could totally do this in an afternoon.

Here's what I did...

1.  I painted the dresser with two coats of Zinsser Cover Stain Primer .  I read that this primer works really well without sanding (because I hate sanding!) and it really did a great job.  It covers great and dries really quickly.  However, I'd forgotten how badly oil-based paint smells.  This stuff really stinks, so definitely do it in a well-ventilated area.  
 

2.  Next, I painted the dresser with two coats of regular, white, semi-gloss paint.  



The girls were BEGGING to help, so I let them paint the insides of the drawers.  Unfortunately, they quickly lost interest and I ended up painting the rest of the insides of the nine drawers myself.

 


3.  Now for the fun part.  We chose a pretty fabric that went really well with their new pink and green bedroom and I picked up some liquid starch.  ( Not every store carried it, but I finally found it at Walmart for under $3).  It's also online here on Amazon  but it's a little more expensive.


4.  Measure the size of your drawer fronts then cut the fabric just slightly smaller than the measurements.  (You'll want it about 1/8" -1/4" shorter all the way around).



5.  Next, pour some liquid starch into a bowl and dip the fabric in.  You'll want it completely saturated, but not dripping, so put it in, swish it around, then wring it out.



6.  Then simply smooth your wet fabric onto the drawer fronts.  Put it on, get it in place, then smooth it out to get rid of any wrinkles or air bubbles.  Because your fabric is slightly shorter than the drawer fronts, you can wipe off any extra liquid starch that is pressed out when you're smoothing out the bubbles.


7.  Put your drawers aside to dry.  It was a nice sunny day when I did this project, so I set them outside and it was dry in less than an hour.  The fabric will feel much harder and stiff once it's dry.


8.  While I was waiting for the fabric to dry, I spray-painted the hardware a dark pink.  (Originally I was going to do them white, but I decided I wanted more of a contrast)


9.  When the fabric was dry and stiff, I used an exacto knife to make a small cut where the hardware holes were and attached the handles.



10.  That's it!  Pretty amazing isn't it?



A few notes:

  • I did have a little bit of puckering of the fabric on the first two drawers I did (similar to what you would get when using ModPodge).  However, once I took my time to really smooth out the fabric and go from side to side, all the way across, I had virtually no wrinkles on the later drawers.
  • So far it seems to be holding up great.  The fabric will only come off if you purposely get your fingernail under the edge or corner and pull it up.  However, if you want it to be extra durable (and not removable at all), I'd think you could put a clear sealer on top.
  • According to what I read about putting the fabric on walls, when you're ready for change you can easily remove it by carefully pulling it up the material and then wiping down the surface with regular water to remove the starch residue.
  • I'm seriously going to be trying this technique on other things too.  I love that you have so many options with all the different fabric patterns and you don't have to worry about seams like you would using smaller sheets patterned paper.  Most fabrics would be wide enough that you wouldn't have a seam at all.

Sharing our liquid starch transformation at:

41 comments:

  1. This came out amazing! I love the fabric and the fact that you had your girls help out with the project. I always have an assistant with me too. I'd love it if you'd share this at my link party going on now at www.thenymelrosefamily.blogspot.com/2012/05/whimsy-wednesdays-9.html.

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  2. Turned out very cute! Great job! I love those old HGTV craft series.

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  3. This is gorgeous! I can't believe it is the same dresser!

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  4. LOVE this!!! I am totally going to be on the lookout for an old dresser! Thanks so much for sharing such a fabulous idea!

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  5. So impressive! So that would mean you could redo your dresser pretty easily in a year or two, if you wanted. That is SO cool!

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  6. GREAT JOB and tutorial! GREAT idea!

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  7. This looks great! I have a dresser in waiting to be refine and I can't decide between paint, fabric or paper on the front. Leaning toward fabric after this ;)

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  8. Oh my gosh, that is AWESOME!!! I love it! I have got to find something to do this to now...

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  9. Oh My goodness is this sooo stinkin cute!! My husband and I just picked up a free dresser and I definetly want to try this! :) I would just LOVE it if you would share this at my link party going on. Maybe if you like what you see you can become a follower too! Following you via GFC and Facebook!

    http://www.pincushioncreations.com/2012/05/homemade-by-you-10.html

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  10. I REALLY love this! You did a fabulous job!

    I have my grandma's old china hutch that I've decided to redo. I thought about modge-podging (that's a word, right?) some scrapbook paper to the back wall behind the glass, but I like this idea much better! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  11. This is a great idea! I never would have thought to use fabric. We are going to redo our dresser in our room and this is the perfect tutorial! I'm pinning this! I would love for you to link this up to my What I Learned Wednesday link party. Hope to see you there! http://weliketolearnaswego.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-i-learned-wednesday-8.html

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  12. Very cute. This looks amazing. I am visiting you via the party at Somewhat Simple. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas.

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  13. So pretty! It looks amazing!

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  14. This is a wonderful idea! I've also seen it done on walls, but never furniture. I'm sure your girls love this new dresser.

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  15. This came out so pretty! My daughters would LOVE this. I would love if you could link this up to my weekly I Love Fridays party. I think my readers would really appreciate this project! Have a great weekend!

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  16. Cute! Coming over from TT&J..I totally need to do this to a dresser I just painted for my daughter's room! Love it! And cute blog!

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  17. This is beautiful. I love the colors! Thanks so much for sharing at Fabulous Friday!

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  18. I love your "new" dresser and what a super tutorial. I have some dressers that need making over. I am pinning this!

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  19. Just wanted you to know that we featured your amazing dresser on our "Shout Out Saturday Night" on facebook! We are so in love with this project... thanks for sharing it!
    www.facebook.com/sisterssuitcaseblog

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  20. I've used this technique before on a hutch and it is better than modpodge. I was wondering though, why did you cut the fabric smaller than it needed to be? When I did this, I cut mine out at exact measurements but I had problems with the fabric shrinking. I had to really stretch it out and use push pins to keep them taut while it dried. Oh and removing the fabric is a breeze. You just pull the fabric off, no problem. Your dresser looks fabulous by the way! I have a post on my blog of the fabric shelves: www.abernathycrafts.com

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  21. Such a sweet makeover! I think I'll have to do this for my girls in their new room when we move this summer {I'll be pinning it}...thanks for sharing! Found you through TT&J.

    I'd love for you to link this up to my party: http://lovingthiscrazylife-melissa.blogspot.com/search/label/POC%20LINKY%20PARTY

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

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  22. I am loving this site. I will have to do this with my daughters dresser.

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  23. This is darling - love the fabric you chose! It looks fantastic!

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  24. my daughter and i LOVE this! her room is pink and green butterflies.. how perfect:) it's so funny to see this b/c i've been wondering if i could use fabric instead of paper. i have a shirt with a great print that i want to put on a table! i'm going to try it now.. thanks!

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  25. This dresser is absoulately darling! I love the fabric that you chose and the pink hardware really pops. I am totally jealous that the dresser was only $30 what a find! I love liquid starch. I did my whole craft room wall with it. It is fantastic!!!
    http://www.sassystyleredesign.com/2011/04/craft-room-on-crack.html

    Thanks for the eye candy! Pinning!
    Have a happy Tuesday!

    ♥Tausha
    sassystyleredesign.com

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  26. Thanks for linking up to What I Learned Wednesday! I'm featuring you tomorrow!

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  27. OMGosh this is my favorite dresser of all times!! Coming over from "Tip Junkie Tues." and I will be coming back often.

    Shannon @ Getting Into Truffle

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  28. Wow. What a project. Looks lovely, Good to see you got the kids involved.

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  29. hello i want to ask, will starching the fabric protect it from dust? if not, please give me idea how to 'seal' fabric, my picture frame project using fabric is on hold because of this dilemma..

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  30. That's really cute! I love how the design is just "busy enough" for children's eyes.

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  31. What kind of fabric is the best for this project?

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    1. I think most cottons and cotton blends would work well. However, it's tough to say for sure. You'd want to make sure the fabric will absorb the starch and you also want to make sure it wouldn't discolor or otherwise change the look of the fabric. I've done it using two different cottons and it worked great. I'd suggest testing a small piece of a fabric you like just to make sure it absorbs the starch, doesn't change the color negatively and doesn't shrink up or anything.

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  32. Do you think this would work for lining the drawers in fabric

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    1. I think it'll work fine, Becca. The only thing that might happen is that the edges might start coming up a bit if you do a lot of taking things in and out of the drawer. However, the fabric has held up really well on the dresser I did so you should be fine.

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  33. When yours was in the process of drying, did you notice any yellowing in the fabric? Mines not completely dried yet and it has a lot of yellowing where the fabric is white. It's making me nervous!

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    1. Sorry, Mellissa, I just saw this now. I didn't notice any yellowing on mine, but the colors were darker until it dried. How did yours turn out? Did the yellowness disappear as it dried?

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  34. I just finished this project. I will say I cut small the first time like you suggested..that did not work out. I ended up cutting about 1/2 an inch too big on each side of my fabric cut outs and it worked out perfectly! I am very happy with how it turned out. Thanks for the idea!!

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  35. hi there!! I'm wondering how this is still holding up?! I'm going to do a dresser with book pages and liquid starch, and I'm wondering if I need to seal it, or if the starch is durable enough to leave as is. thanks so much. YOUR'S TURNED OUT DARLING!!!

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    1. Hi Barb! It's coming up on three years now and it still looks great. A couple little spots in the corners of drawers have lifted up a tiny bit (where my daughter picked at them), but otherwise, it still looks great. Plus, if it started to lift up more, I'm sure I could just add a little bit of water and starch and stick it down again. Let me know if you do it with book pages, I bet that'll look cool!

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