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IKEA Hemnes Hack- Upcycled Drawers with Wallpaper

Inside: A step-by-step tutorial on how to wallpaper drawer fronts on a chest of drawers/dressers. An example of an IKEA Hemnes hack.

I have a bit of an obsession with wallpaper. I love the many wonderful designs and patterns available. Currently, there is a definite trend to use wallpaper in interiors. Many of these wallpapers are dramatic and colourful.

I particularly love the wonderful tropical wallpapers that are popular at the moment. I have used some to wallpaper furniture, such as an IKEA mirror. My friend Wendy shares my passion for wallpaper. We often share rolls of paper that we have used for wallpapering furniture.

This IKEA Hemnes hack was one of Wendy’s wallpaper furniture upcycles. I love the tropical patterned wallpaper she chose to upcycle the chest of drawers with. I hope to get my hands on some of the leftover wallpaper scraps to craft.

(There is a printable how-to card for this craft at the end of the post.)

IKEA Hemnes Chest of Drawers Before

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The IKEA Hemnes Hack

What You Need

  • IKEA Hemnes 3-drawer chest – This was an old chest of drawers a neighbour was throwing out that we picked up from our local Whatsapp group. Freecycle is a good place to look for furniture to upcycle. IKEA is such a popular brand it often pops up on my local Freecycle group.
  • Chalk paint – we used Annie Sloan Oxford Navy paint.
  • Chalk paint, clear furniture wax
  • Paint and wax brushes for chalk paint.
annie sloan oxfod navy
Large wooden knobs

The wallpaper

The wallpaper used for this IKEA Hemnes hack was called AMAZON by GranDeco (blue/black) colourway. It was a very affordable wallpaper; you only need about a 1/4 of a roll maximum.

Top tip: Sites like Etsy and eBay sell part rolls of wallpaper, which are great for projects like this. Especially if you want to use a more expensive brand of wallpaper, buying a part roll makes the project more affordable.

How To Upcycle Drawers with Wallpaper and Paint

Step 1: First, remove the old knobs from the IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers. Then wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. Next, remove the drawers and put them to one side (no need to paint them).

Painting with chalk paint

Then paint the chest of drawers carcass with chalk paint. With chalk paint, there is no need to sand or prime beforehand. As well as the lovely matt finish you get with chalk paint, the fact that you don’t have to prep the furniture first is one of the main reasons I use the paint.

There are many different brands of chalk paint to choose from. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint, which I have used successfully previously. I painted it on my curious cabinet upcycle, craft cupboard transformation and Pineapple console table. These items were upcycled many years ago and are still going strong.

Painting the Chest of drawers before wallpaper
painting IKEA Hemnes

I found that one coat of paint was enough. If you use paint in a light colour on dark furniture, you might need a second coat of chalk paint.

At the same time, paint the wooden knobs to match.

Painting the knobs blue

When the paint has dried, brush on furniture wax, then buff the chest of drawers with a lint-free cloth. Also, wax the painted wooden knobs.

How To Wallpaper The Drawer Fronts

Step 2: Mix up the wallpaper paste according to the instructions on the packet. Then brush some paste onto the drawer fronts and leave it to dry. This will provide a key and help the wallpaper stick firmly to the IKEA Hemnes drawers.

Step 3: Next, think about the wallpaper pattern and how you would like it to appear on the drawer front. Unfortunately, the Hemnes drawer fronts were wider than the width of the wallpaper roll.

We decided to use one width of the wallpaper in the centre of each drawer. And then to pattern match the two outside wallpaper strips on the drawer front.

tropical Amazon wallpaper used for upcycled chest of drawers
Pattern matching the wallpaper for IKEA Hemnes hack

Step 4: With the IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers, there is a small gap between the edges of the drawer front and the carcass. This means that when wallpapering the drawer fronts, the wallpaper can wrap over the edge of the drawers without impeding the opening and closing.

When measuring the wallpaper pieces for the drawer fronts, allow enough wallpaper to wrapping around to the back of the front drawer. I allow for at least 2cm (1″) overlap.

Top tip: It’s better to be over-generous with the wallpaper measurement, as this can be trimmed later.

Step 5: Check the instructions with the wallpaper, whether the wallpaper or the furniture needs to be pasted with glue. With this particular wallpaper, we pasted the drawer fronts with a fresh coat of wallpaper paste using a brush.

Then we placed the central wallpaper piece on the centre of the drawers. Carefully positioning the wallpaper pattern how we wanted it. It is easy to slide the wallpaper around when the paste is wet.

Once you are happy with the positioning, wrap the paper around the edges. Make sure there is paste on the back of the drawer front for this wrap over the paper to stick to. If you have too much paper overlap, cut the excess paper with wallpaper with scissors.

Placing center piece of wallpaper
cutting away excess wallpaper
wrapping paper around IKEA Hemnes drawer front

Step 6: Next, one by one, stick the wallpaper down either side of the central piece to ensure the whole drawer front is covered. You can gently slide the side wallpaper pieces with your hands to match the pattern.

With the corners, cut a diagonal slit in the overlapping wallpaper up to the drawer corner. This will make it easier when folding the corners around the back of the drawer front.

Wipe the wallpaper with a damp cloth to remove any excess wallpaper paste and to push out bubbles.

Matching the paper on the upcycled chest of drawers
trimming corner

Step 7: Not only did we match the wallpaper pattern on the front of each drawer, but we also made sure the wallpaper matched across all three IKEA Hemnes drawer fronts.

IKEA Hemnes Hack an upcycled chest of drawers

Step 8: Finally, finish off the chest of drawers by screwing in the painted wooden knobs.

Upcycled chest of drawers with wallpaper
IKEA Hemnes hack
Tropical IKEA Hemnes Hack

There is more than enough wallpaper leftover from these upcycled wallpaper drawers to make some matching wallpaper lampshades or even a decoupaged wallpapered table.

IKEA Hemnes Hack

Tropical IKEA Hemnes Hack

How to upcycle and transform an IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers with wallpaper and paint. An affordable furniture flip to transform a drab piece of furniture into a fabulous statement piece.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 20


  • Amazon wallpaper
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Oxford Navy
  • Chalk paint furniture wax
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Large wooden drawer knob
  • IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers


  • Scissors and a tape measure
  • Paint and wax brushes


  1. Wash down the chest of drawers with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust.
  2. Remove the knobs from the front of the IKEA Hemnes chest. And also remove the drawers and put them to one side.
  3. Paint the carcass with chalk paint. One coat of paint should be enough.
  4. Also, paint the large wooden knobs with the same paint.
  5. When the paint has dried brush on the furniture wax and buff with a lint-free cloth.
  6. Mix up the wallpaper paste and cover the front of the drawers with a layer paste and leave it to dry. This is to provide a key.
  7. Next, measure the front of the drawers and allow for a generous overhang.
  8. Cut the wallpaper pieces to fit the drawer fronts. Make sure that you match up the pattern as you go along.
  9. Paste the drawer front with wallpaper paste and then lay the centre piece of wallpaper in the center. Wrapt the wallpaper around cutting away any excess paper with scissors. wrapping paper around IKEA Hemnes drawer front
  10. Next, add the side pieces of wallpaper to the draw fronts. Match up the pattern as you go. Cut a slit in the excess paper at the corner overlaps before folding around the edges.
  11. Wipe the wallpaper with a damp cloth to remove any excess paste and smooth out bubbles.
  12. Finish off by screwing in the painted wooden knobs.
upcycled chest of drawers with wallpaper

Find more upcycled crafts here, and other IKEA hacks here.

Jennifer Williams

Saturday 30th of October 2021


Claire Armstrong

Saturday 30th of October 2021

Thank you so much.


Sunday 24th of October 2021


Claire Armstrong

Monday 25th of October 2021

Aww, thank you so much.


Sunday 24th of October 2021

The came out GORGEOUS!! I absolutely love it!

Claire Armstrong

Monday 25th of October 2021

Aww, thank you so much, we both love it too. It makes us smile.

Vicki L Rider

Sunday 24th of October 2021

Really nice job. Makes you want to run out and find some old chest of drawers. Really cool.

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 24th of October 2021

Aww, thank you so much, it is an affordable way to give life to new furniture.

Veronica Connell

Sunday 24th of October 2021

I love your use of the wallpaper. I know it’s generally durable but I was wondering why a topcoat wasn’t applied to the surface after the wallpaper was dry? Also if you were to apply one which would you choose and why?

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 24th of October 2021

Thank you 😊 With the drawers I didn’t feel it needed the protective varnish. However, when wallpapering tables I do do a protective layer of crystal clear varnish. Make sure it’s crystal clear as just clear varnish can dry with a yellow tint.

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