Two Story Cottage

Wallpaper Dresser Tutorial Complete With Don’ts

Dear Friends,
As promised, a tutorial on Lacey’s wallpapered dresser.  Or you could call it a manifesto on what NOT to do.  If I did it again, it would be easy because I would skip the whole part where I had to re-do half of it.


1. Measure: I used a yardstick to measure the drawers and then marked the back of the wallpaper accordingly.  I drew straight lines all the way across when cutting on the horizontal.

2. Cut: I used scissors to cut on the lines that I made.  A cutting board would be more accurate.

3. Paste: I used spray adhesive to adhere the wallpaper to the dresser.  I sprayed the dresser   thoroughly and did my best to center the paper.  I learned (the hard way) that using permanent spray adhesive with an “open” time for easy removal was best.  The brand was Elmer’s purchased from Hobby Lobby.

4. Trim: I used the yardstick and an exacto knife to make sure that the edges of the papered drawers were even.  Press firmly with the knife to score the paper but not so hard that you scratch the furniture.

5. Polyurethane: I did a couple of light coats of spray poly to make sure the wallpaper sealed nicely.  It is not glossy but you could achieve a glossier look with a glossy poly or more coats.  Mine was more for protection than anything.

*In the picture I am using a box-cutter because I couldn’t find my exacto knife.  Oh well.
This was a one afternoon project until I made it a several afternoon project with a single mistake.
Instead of polyurethaning, I thought that I would “finish” off the look by using mod-podge on top of the wallpaper.  Big mistake.  Huge.  (Pretty Woman, anyone?).  I am not sure why but the wallpaper bubbled all over the place. I used it on two drawers before noticing but it was bad enough that I had to strip the paper.  Which left a big, sticky mess because it had been dry for over 24 hours.
It took me several days to figure out just how to clean up the drawers.  I kept trying to scrape off the paper but it was taking forever.  I ended up using Goo Gone spray gel for a quick and painless removal.  It didn’t take off any paint and left no sticky residue.  I did have to wash the drawers with dish soap to remove the greasy sheen.

The good part of this whole deal?  I learned that I could remove the wallpaper and start over without ruining the furniture.  It makes the whole thing less scary in the future.  I’m feeling more gutsy when it comes to furniture make-overs now.

My only question is whether or not it would work to use the wallpaper as is.  In other words, no spray adhesive but using traditional paste to hang it.  I’m not sure if that would work as well?

In the end, the dresser looks exactly how I want it to.  Following the correct steps, it could be done in a half a day.  For more pictures, see the original post here.

I’m itching to wallpaper something else now.  Seriously.

I’m joining Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick @ her monthly Before & After Party.  I’m also linking up with Donna at Funky Junk Interiors

P.S.  I just poked the screw for the knobs through the back side of the dresser.  It didn’t tear the paper at all!


  1. This is absolutely beautiful, Erin! I LOVE it! You have inspired me to keep our two very tall, very oak, 1970’s dressers in our master bedroom! Thank you!!!

    I realize there was a ton of unexpected work involved. Just consider yourself the trail blazer for the rest of us!



  2. It turned out AWESOME!! Love the Pretty Woman reference. Every time I hear someone say “big mistake” I have an overwhelming desire to say “huge.”

  3. It is absolutely beautiful!!!!

  4. I am sure you were about ready to pull your hair out from the frustration.
    It was worth the effort though. It is stunning.
    Besides, I don’t believe in half day projects. That only works in theory.

  5. The dresser turned out beautiful…well worth the effort!

  6. Haaaaaaaaaaaang on a second! Huge “uh ohs” are flashing in my brain because I am about to do this kind of project and bought Mod Podge to use as a glue for sticking the wallpaper to the dresser. I was going to buy the glossy Mod Podge finish to put on top of everything once it’s done. Is it still okay to use the regular MP for glue?

    • I actually think the Mod Podge as glue is the way to go! I have a small piece of furniture that I’m going to use wallpaper on and I’m going to try that route. I would “test” the Mod Podge “finish” in a corner or something before doing the whole thing. I think my problem may have been that I didn’t use Mod Podge in the first place. I have had good luck in general with Mod Podge before this.

      Once I do my other project, I’ll add a link to this post with a synopsis of how it turned out!

      And you never know it could have been the fact that my Mod Podge was ancient.

      Good luck!!!!!!!! Reply back & let us know how it goes.

  7. We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with helpful information
    to work on. You have performed an impressive job and our whole community shall be thankful to you.

  8. I have been trying a few of these projects for a while and the best adhesive I have come across for the best finish is a pva based adhesive especially for borders and overlaps. (not sure if it is available in the states) I have tried ordinary wallpaper adhesive but much like you I walked away for a half hour and returned to massive bubbles! I also have a plea for help, how did you manage to hide the joins when working with drawers that are wider than the width of a roll of paper!

  9. Love this! Any information on the brand and name of wallpaper?

  10. THANK you Erin!! I just pulled off my paper too. I was using modpodge BUT MISTAKE and thankfully, I had only completed half so removed it when was still wet and bubbling) I wondered about spray adhesive and so thank you for suggesting the right kind. Also I still do wonder about wallpaper paste?
    Thanks again!!


  11. Try tacking the wallpaper w/a staple gun or double-sided tape. Then cover edges w/wood trim (nailed) or ribbon (glued). Saves a lot of heartache and looks great!

  12. Stephen Robinson says

    You have done a beautiful job with the dresser! We have a 100 year old piece of furniture (a dresser) that someone added wallpaper to many years ago (top surface). Does anyone have a good method for removing this wallpaper? We want to preserve the wood as much as possible as we plan to refinish it back to, (or close to), its original look.

    Thanks Stephen

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    thats why i have read it entirely

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  16. dunia isi beritanya sangat membalut sekali. terimakasih banya

  17. I would love to do this for a 100 year old dresser. Should I sand it down first or take off the paint with paint remover? It has six drawers. I would love to get an answer. Let us know please.

  18. lookie here

  19. Curious if you could cut out the flowers and use the same steps and glue to wood without ruining the finish…

  20. Not bad. Works great in a tritadaonil margarita (Sour, triple sec, limejuice, well shaken, salt rim), adds a nice spice kick to the margarita. I think there are better tequilas for the money for shots though.

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  29. Oui il est trop beau ce pull, dommage qu’il soit aussi grand, ça va me faire une robe moi ! Tu es toute belle sur ces photos !

  30. That’s a smart answer to a difficult question.

  31. selam, blogunun muhtemelen en yeni takipçilerinden biriyim, ama severek takip ettiğim sayılı oje-makyaj bloglarından biri oldu bile. bu tip tatsız olaylar insanın moralini alt üst edebiliyor biliyorum ancak gerçekten bu kadar sempatik birinin yazmayı bırakmasını istemem. umarım lehine sonuçlanır dava (:

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