So as you know, we recently moved to a new house. In our old house, I had a full double closet with a customized Elfa shelving system. It had shelves and drawers and a hanging bar. It was great. Well, in our new house, my closet is considerably smaller and I needed a dresser. And if you know me, you probably though, oh, I bet she went to Ikea! Well, guess what? I did not! I swore to my husband that I was done with Ikea dressers (this statement is not legally binding). I love build it yourself furniture for so many things but moving dresser drawers just aren’t their strong point (literally). I looked around for something else and finally decided I’d rather go with something vintage and substantial.
Long story short, I found a fairly beat up mid-century modern dresser on Craigslist for $100. I definitely wanted a long, low dresser as opposed to a tall one and this fit the bill. I also liked the shape a lot, but it needed some help. I thought about painting it but the top had some places where the veneer finish had kind of bubbled and gotten rough and you don’t really want to have to sand veneer too much.
So I decided to wrap it in fabric! I’ve never done anything like that and you know I like a challenge! I bought some home dec weight fabric and did a lot of measuring and sketching to figure out how to do this. I’ll show you how I did it, but this process would be different for every piece of furniture depending on its shape. Here’s my sketch which will probably make absolutely no sense to anyone but me. The takeaway is, if you’re doing this project, measure carefully and more than once and have a plan before you start!
But before I got to the fabric, I first took the drawers out, wiped them down and sprayed inside the drawers and the dresser frame with a mix of water and white vinegar. This got rid of a musty old furniture smell. And a LOT of dirt.
I had barely enough fabric so I measured at least 4 times before cutting!
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this next step because the light is out in our laundry room. But I knew that for the edges of the fabric that would be visible from the front of the dresser, I wanted a nice clean folded, hemmed edge. Rather than sit down at my sewing machine and sew several loooong hems, I used iron-on hem tape (affiliate link) to fold over and secure the edge. I just followed the instructions on the package and it worked great and provided a nice neat folded edge!
Then, when it came time to attach the fabric, I started with the top surface. There are a lot of different ways you could do this including some kind of decoupage with glue or medium but I decided that I wanted the fabric to be attached but at least somewhat removable in the future if I change my mind down the line. So I decided to use a staple gun in places the staples couldn’t be seen and hot glue (affilliate links) on edges that would be visible from the front. This worked for my fabric but you might want to test yours out on the back or bottom before committing.
I wrapped the fabric down under that front edge and secured with glue. Then I pulled it taut to the back and stapled. For the sides of the dresser, I knew I would be adding the fabric piece for the side and it could help cover the seam, so I used staples under the lip of the top.
When I got to corners, I very carefully folded the edges and pulled them tight like you could if you were wrapping a present. I secured that with glue because it was on the front.Then along the back edge, I trimmed off the extra fabric below the staples.
When the top was done, I repeated the same steps on the sides of the dresser. This is a view of the front side looking up under the top.Because really only the front edge was visible for the side pieces, I used glue there and staples on the back and bottom edges.
The final part was a small piece on the bottom that went just in front of the legs of the dresser across the front. If that’s confusing, we are looking up from below the dresser in those last two pictures.
Finally I used some scratch cover for dark wood (affiliate link) to make the chewed up legs look a bit better. (I should have done this step earlier, that stuff could have really ruined my fabric if I wasn’t careful!)
I am really happy with the way it turned out. I just might start wrapping everything in fabric now!
If you liked this, you may also like some of my other posts…