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How To Paint Polka Dots On Old Furniture

Polka Dot Chalk Paint Dresser Upcycle

Whilst flicking through last months “Style at Home” magazine at my local coffee shop, I spotted a piece highlighting the trend for polka dots in interiors. Which gave me the idea for my latest upcycle and to work out how to paint polka dots on old furniture.

Apparently, polka dots are always on trend. I think you call that “classic”. I’m a big fan of bold patterns especially spotted ones where there is a big contrast between the dots and the background. The classic polka dot pattern is blue or black on white. With this dresser upcycle I went a little more Boho with a Scandinavian Pink and burgundy combo.

I’d been meaning to do something with this old dresser I had for years. It’s not a particularly great looking bit of furniture but it’s so handy. I’ve had since I was a student when my Aunt gave it to me for my digs. I don’t know how long she had it before then. It’s safe to say it’s ancient but no antique!

The reason it’s lasted this long is that it’s so handy. The piece has been a nightstand, a chest of drawers and even a coffee table of sorts. For the last few years it’s sat in the empty fireplace in the study and it’s where we keep all the board games.

Now that the furniture has had it’s spotted makeover and fancy new Anthropologie handles, I’m not quite sure where to put it yet. I think it needs an upgrade from the fireplace.

old dresser before polka dots

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What I used for the furniture upcycle

  • Tester pots of chalk paint in Pink and Burgundy. As I was only painting the two drawers of the dresser and some lining paper the tester pots were plenty big enough.
  • Clear wax for chalk paint
  • Small paint roller and extra foam rollers. I actually picked my roller up in Aldi, but any will do. However, it is best to have dense foam roller pads that are flat at the end.
  • Lining paper for the drawers
  • New big knobs. I got mine in an Anthropologie sale a while ago and had been waiting for the right project to use them on.
Anthropolgie knobs for polka dot dresser

Dresser Upcycle and How To Paint Polka Dots

1. Firstly, even though I was using chalk paints for this upcycle, I still sanded the dresser as it had a good few marks on it’s top.
Dresser before
sanding the top

2. For this furniture upcycle I only showed how to paint polka dots on the drawers. Therefore with the rest of the wood (top and sides), I simply applied a wood stain.

Applying the wood stain

3. Next, I removed the old knobs from the drawers and painted them in the pink chalk paint, using a small foam roller. I like to use a foam roller to avoid brush marks.

painting the drawers

How to Paint Polka Dots

4. Once the base pink chalk paint is dry then it’s time to paint the polka dots. Luckily chalk paint drys very quickly.

First put a small amount of the burgundy paint in the paint tray. Then dab the flat end of the small foam roll into the paint. Make sure the whole end is covered. Wipe off an excess drippy paint bits around the sides.

Next, firmly press down the painted end of the roller where you want the polka dot. You should be able to stamp 2-3 dots before having to get more paint on the end of the roller.

*Top tip, if for some reason when you stamp your polka dot a bit of the spot is missing just use a small paintbrush to fill in that bit.

how to paint polka dots on furniture

5. Make polka dot liners for the drawers. Paint lining paper in the burgundy chalk paint and then using the same method as above paint polka dots in the pink. Once dired cut the lining paper to fit inside the drawers.

painting lining paper
how to paint polka dot drawer liners

6. To finish, apply chalk paint wax to the upcycled furniture. Then put on the new oversized brass knobs.

How to paint polka dots on wood

I have a confession to make. Initially, I painted one of the drawers pink with orange dots. But I didn’t like it, every time I looked at the drawer all I could think of was Mr. Blobby. (Sorry, that is a reference you will only understand if you happened to watch TV in the UK in the ’90s). As I was never a fan of Mr. Blobby (I didn’t get it!) the orange had to go and in came the burgundy instead.

How to paint polka dots on furniture

You should check out my other fabulous chalk paint furniture upcycles.

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Nina Lewis

Friday 21st of June 2019

I absolutely love this! I wish I had an old dresser to paint like this. Thanks so much for sharing at our Party in Your PJs link party!

Claire Armstrong

Friday 21st of June 2019

Thank you so much and thanks for hosting.

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Wednesday 19th of June 2019

thats a great idea will definitely try it someday

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Thank you, it is very easy.


Wednesday 19th of June 2019

What a difference a little stain and some paint makes! I love the way this turned out! Clever idea using the end of the roller sponge. :) I've wanted to start using chalk paint but wasn't sure who well it would hold up in a house of boys. Does it scratch or chip easily?

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Thank you. Make sure you wax the chalk paint and that will help protect it from knocks. Mind you the chippy look of chalk paint is part of its charm.

Michelle Leslie

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

That's such a fun piece Claire and I'm real glad polka dots are back. I go a little dotty over them too

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Thank you, Michelle. I don't think they ever really go out of fashion.


Tuesday 18th of June 2019

I have always loved polka dots. I try to keep it to a minimum as I could quite easily have them everywhere! I love the idea of a polka dot piece of furniture,

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Thank you, Julie. It was a fun piece to make.