Remember this idea I had to hack an Ikea Hemnes dresser a while back? Well I finally got around to making it happen!
The whole process took a couple of afternoons of work (about 7-8 hours). It was time-consuming but not difficult – just a lot of glue and hammering! As this is a fairly easy DIY project, I wanted to share the full tutorial of how I created a unique piece of furniture on a budget in case you might want to try it yourself. Let me show you how I did it in six easy steps!
Step 1 – Buy an inexpensive piece of furniture. For what I needed, the Hemnes dresser from Ikea was the perfect blank slate, It has good lines, is made of solid wood and offers tons of storage. However you could do this project with any number of pieces. I think it would look great on a console table or buffet as well.
Step 2 – Get your supplies and tools. I ordered one roll of synthetic grasscloth wallpaper ($60) from a local home decor shop and picked up some generic wallpaper glue, a cheap paint brush and a small wallpaper roller. You’ll also need a utility knife and somewhere safe to cut and glue. I used the cardboard Ikea box and my craft cutting board.
Step 3 – Put together the side panels and cover them with wallpaper. I first generously painted the wood with the wallpaper glue and then applied the paper. The role I had wasn’t wide enough to reach around the entire panel, so I covered the flat section and one leg with one piece, and then cut a second to cover the other leg. Be sure to wrap the feet as they will show as well.
I was careful to cut around any holes needed for assembly and to smooth out air bubbles with the roller.
Step 4 – Cover the drawer fronts. For this, I cut the paper just a couple of centimeters larger than the wood piece to allow the paper to wrap around the edges. I simply painted the glue on the drawer front and placed it on the paper face down, being sure to press firmly.
This is where the utility knife comes in handy for trimming away paper at the corners. I needed to use a little extra glue to hold the sides and went back a few times where the corner started to peel off. Wallpaper glue is easy to work with and you can dab it one with your finger in hard to reach places.
Step 5 – Cover the dresser frame. I first wrapped the individual pieces in wallpaper and then attached them together following the instructions. There were a few spots that needed re-glueing after assembly, mostly where the pieces joined or on corners.
There were a couple of areas that I misjudged when cutting the paper and left some visible gaps. So I simply cut a little piece of extra wallpaper and filled them in. This is inside the frame but I wanted to make sure there weren’t any little bits of white showing when completed. Basically you want to cover any surface that will show. Just apply this same thinking if you try this project with another piece of furniture.
Step 6 – Apply the nailhead trim. As I had a lot of surface area to cover, I didn’t want to hammer a million individual nailheads so I found this ‘faux’ trim on Amazon that comes in a strip ($15 plus delivery charge to Switzerland). I went for silver to complement the grey/beige color of the paper and other silver finishes in the room.
The trim attaches with one real nail every six nailheads. To apply, you’ll need a rubber mallet and a little patience. It’s helpful to have a pair of pliers on hand in case of any mistakes that you need to pull out. I added the trim around the edge of the frame and each drawer.
Here’s an in progress shot. About halfway through I ran out of nailheads (of course!) and had to take a little break and order more. I found it easier to attach the trim to the drawer fronts before assembly, so I ended up taking them back off the drawers to finish the nailheads.
And here it is complete! I switched out the Ikea knobs for these hammered silver ones from Zara Home ($6 for two), which gave it a much more finished look.
The wallpaper provides a subtle texture and is easy to wipe clean if needed. I’m thinking about adding a glass top however to keep it protected.
I absolutely love how it turned out! It adds interest to this long empty wall in our bedroom and takes away from the big black beast that is the TV. I’m hoping to paint the walls in our bedroom a soft grey-beige in a shade slightly darker than the dresser to add a bit of contrast, and will add a few more accessories to dress it up.
I definitely think this is a DIY project most anyone could try. And there are so many different styles you could create with different wallpaper and trim color – all it takes is a little imagination!
I have this piece of furniture too and boy does yours look better than mine – it looks fab!!
Thanks so much!
I Love this, but I have a few questions:
1. How many rolls of wallpaper did you have to buy for the whole dresser?
2. How many packs of nailheads did you have to buy for the whole dresser?
3. How did you make such perfect holes for the screws for the drawer knobs?
Thank you! You did such a great job!
Hi Keri! Thanks for your questions!
I used two rolls of wallpaper, but it’s best to check the dimensions of your piece and the length of the roll you’re using. Remember to have some extra for mistakes and all the details.
I used three and a half nailhead packs to cover the front of the dresser outline and the drawers. You would need more if you wanted to do the sides.
For the holes on the drawers, I just poked through the paper with a screwdriver!
Good luck with your project!
I just love the way you transformed this dresser….awesome!
Thanks so much!