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.)
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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.
- Large wooden knobs for chests of drawers
- Tropical print wallpaper – Amazon Wallpaper in black/blue by GranDeco
- Wallpaper paste
- Wallpaper paste brush
- Scissors for 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 8: Finally, finish off the chest of drawers by screwing in the painted wooden knobs.
- 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
- Wash down the chest of drawers with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust.
- Remove the knobs from the front of the IKEA Hemnes chest. And also remove the drawers and put them to one side.
- Paint the carcass with chalk paint. One coat of paint should be enough.
- Also, paint the large wooden knobs with the same paint.
- When the paint has dried brush on the furniture wax and buff with a lint-free cloth.
- 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.
- Next, measure the front of the drawers and allow for a generous overhang.
- Cut the wallpaper pieces to fit the drawer fronts. Make sure that you match up the pattern as you go along.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wipe the wallpaper with a damp cloth to remove any excess paste and smooth out bubbles.
- Finish off by screwing in the painted wooden knobs.