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How to decorate a chest of drawers

How to paint an MDF chest of drawers for a decorative antique look

MDF chest of drawers

How to decorate an MDF chest of drawers, using stencils and creative paintwork to achieve a decorative faux antique look.

What you will need

For making the decorative stencil:
Decorative pattern download here, | Access to Printer, | Cardboard, | Pencil, | Pen, | Craft knife, | Cutting board.

For decorating the chest of drawers:
Interior wood stain gel (dark brown), | Damp cloth, | Gold paint, | Decoratve stencil, | A strip of masking tape, | Paintbrush, | Paint Roller, | Screwdriver

A few pics followed by the 'how-to' write-up

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How to make the decorative stencil

Step 1. Find a design for your stencil
Create or find a design to use for your stencil. You can download our stencil design template by clicking here.

Step 2. Print out the design
Print out the design onto A4 paper.

Step 3. Transfer the design onto cardboard
Get a piece of card to use for your stencil. It needs to be thick enough to hold together well through repetitive use, but thin enough to cut out smoothly.

Trim off access paper around your print, then turn the print over and scribble over the entire back surface with pencil.

Turn your print back over and place it down on your card. Holding the paper in place with one hand, trace over the design with a pen or sharp pencil. The pencil lead on the reverse side will leave a transfer on the card.

If you need to, go over your transferred design with a pen so you can see the lines more clearly.

Step 4. Cut out the design on the card
Using a cutting board and a sharp craft knife cut out your stencil. When finished trim off any access card you don't need, leaving a good few inches around the sides of the design.

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How to decorate the uncoated MDF chest of drawers

Step 1. Disassemble the chest of drawers
Pull out the drawers, unscrew and take off all of the handles and move everything outside or to a well-ventilated area to start the decorating.

Step 2. Apply wood stain
Apply large amounts of wood stain gel to a damp cloth and rub it all over the suface of the drawers. You do not have to apply the gel perfectly evenly, as it is this unevenness that creates the aged look we are after.

Do the same for the handles and the sides and top of the chest.

Allow to dry.

Step 3. Add decoration
Run a strip of masking tape along the top edge of your stencil. Have half attached to the stencil and leave half hanging out to attach to the drawers.

Place your stencil on a drawer and rub your finger along the masking tape to temporarily secure it into position.

Using a large paintbrush, paint the gold onto the drawer by stippling it over the stencil. Again, if it's not evenly spread, then its perfect.

Remove your stencil and repeat that process along the rest of you drawers. The one strip of masking tape should stay sticky for the entire process.

Allow to dry.

Step 4. Paint sides of chest
Using the gold paint and a rolling brush, thin your paint a little, and unevenly apply gold over the entire surface of the sides.

Step 5. Finishing touches
It would be a good idea to varnish your drawers for protection once you have finished you decorating. (We ran out of time this day).

Screw the handles back on, put the drawers back in, and move your new chest of drawers back into your room! We left ours outside for one night before moving it back into the bedroom, as the fumes from our enamel gold paint were quite strong. (Use water based if you can!)

Before and After:

How to paint an MDF chest of drawers for a decorative antique look