Beautify an IKEA Malm Dresser With Decoupage Technique




Introduction: Beautify an IKEA Malm Dresser With Decoupage Technique

About: I love making things! I have a lot of ideas but I don't have time to realize all of them. I am normally too curious to see how my ideas will look like so I don't spend too much time on planning in advance. I l…

I own one of these black Ikea Malm Dressers. At the time when I bought it, I thought it's a great idea to buy a black one, but by now I really dislike the color. It appears so heavy and I don't want to put it in my living room where it would look like a black hole sucking out all the positive energy from the atmosphere :).

Apart from that, it looks very ordinary, since every second person I know, owns one of them :).

So I decided to beautify it. I recently read about the decoupage technique for picture frames, so I thought I give it a go for my dresser.

I thought for a long time, how it should look like afterwards. First, I wanted to use fabric, but then I thought it's a waste of fabric and it might not look so nice. I also read, that it's easier with paper than fabric. So paper was it. However, it took me a while to decide what sort of paper. I thought of music sheets, but that might look boring very quickly, so I finally decided for an old book. It will give it an interesting look and - at the same time- make it more "vintage" like because the book pages already started yellowing.

It turned out so cool, I am more than happy to share it here!

Step 1: What You Need:

You don't need much for this beauty treatment:

  • An old dresser
  • An old book (preferably with old font and yellowing pages)
  • A paper cutter
  • White paper glue mixed with 20% water (or - if you are lucky and from the US or Canada - mod podge)
  • A bowl or something to pour the glue into
  • A brush

If you also like to add new handles you need the following extra things:

  • Matching handles for the drawers
  • A drilling machine
  • A little piece of wood to drill into (see later steps)

Step 2: Add Your First Layer of Book Pages

The nice thing about this technique is, that you don't have to do much preparation. After wiping the surfaces with a wet cloth, you are ready to go!

  • Cut the book pages in pieces (I made a few different shapes, so it looks more interesting once it's finished)
  • Prepare piles of your book pieces so they are ready when your fingers are sticky and full of glue :)
  • Spread the glue-water mix onto the drawer surface
  • Add the paper pieces onto it (in my experience it looks nicer, when the pieces are distributed randomly BUT all more or less perpendicular / parallel to each other (no diagonal pieces) because it looks more ordered.
  • Cover the whole surface with paper
  • Add another continous layer of glue

Step 3: Let It Dry & Add More Layers of Glue

Once all of the drawers are covered in paper, let them dry for at least 12 hours. Then you can add more layers of glue. After each layer you should wait at least 2 hours. Then you can add the next one. I added 3-4 more layers.

For the drawers where I had diagonal pieces, I first added another layer of paper and then added the covering glue layers.

The more glue layers you add, the more homogeneous the drawer surfaces will look like. It's worth it!

Step 4: Cut Away Overlapping Pieces and Measure Position for the Handles

  • Once you decided that there are enough glue layers let it dry for another 2 hours.
  • Then, you can cut away the overlapping paper, that is not perfectly aligned to the edges of the drawer. It goes off quite easily once its really dry.
  • Now measure the middle points of the upper two drawers.
  • When that is done, you can use a string attached to something heavy as a perpendicular for the remaining holes in the lower drawers.

Step 5: Drill the Holes for the Handles and Attach Them -> Done!

To drill the holes, it's highly recommended to attach a little wooden board to the backside of the drawer surface, so the drilled hole will not fray.

Once all the holes are drilled, you can attach the handle and enjoy the new, fancy, individualized, beautified dresser!

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    7 years ago on Step 5

    Great Instructable!

    I really like the idea of adding some interest to an otherwise boring piece of mass-produced furniture.

    If I might make one suggestion: Once the glue has thoroughly dried on your last layers of cut-out paper - protect the surface with a series of coats of a protective finish such as polyurethane or lacquer.

    Polyurethanes, or other furniture finishes, are going to prove much more durable and able to resist normal usage than layers of glue, which I don't have much confidence in. I would be especially concerned about a pure glue-based finish's ability to resist moisture.

    There are water-based, wipe-on polyurethanes available, as well as natural-based finishes such as shellac.

    Beautiful work all the same.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you very much for your comment! I did actually add some kind of varnish (matt) after your suggestion and it's great! It still looks the same, but its now protected from humidity and can be wiped off with a wet cloth or something. Thanks!!


    7 years ago

    Cool! Thanks! Would love to see a picture of it :).


    7 years ago

    Love the idea. We have the same dresser and this will be a great way to make it fit in with our nightstands.