Vintage Waterfall Dresser Makeover With Decoupage Fabric

Today I'm sharing a unique vintage waterfall dresser makeover with burlap drawer fronts and a tutorial on how to decoupage furniture with fabric. I can't resist these art deco-style dressers when I see them at thrift stores and garage sales. Especially when they have a $5 price tag like this one.

A vintage waterfall dresser makeover with decoupage French burlap print drawer fronts.

Decoupage Waterfall Dresser Makeover

Normally I pass on previously painted furniture but I couldn't resist the price, plus I had some french burlap fabric that I was itching to put to good use.

This is what the dresser looked like before the makeover. Judging by the stickers and crayon marks, it was in a child's room. Besides the chipping paint and faux bois paint finish, the dresser was in decent shape.

A vintage waterfall dresser makeover before makeover.

My concern about it being previously painted is that the paint could contain lead. The chipping paint would require some sanding and so I used a home-testing lead kit before starting the makeover. Thankfully the results were negative.

What You'll Need To Make It

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For this decoupage waterfall dresser makeover, I used products from Dixie Belle Paint pictured below.

Supplies for a unique vintage waterfall dresser makeover.

Supply List

Drop Cloth Dixie Belle Paint
Barn Red Dixie Belle Paint
Van Dyke Brown Glaze
Dixie Belle Paint Best Dang Wax
French Furniture Stencil (alternatives)
Printed Burlap Fabric or Table Runners
Mod Podge
Retractable Craft Knife

Here's How I Made It

Before starting the makeover, the dresser needed a good scrub and prepped for paint. I share all the steps in my how-to prep furniture for paint tutorial.

Painting The Dresser

I always like to do the top drawer on dressers a little differently, either with unique hardware or different paint color. To pull the black from the french burlap fabric, I painted the top drawer a Midnight Sky color.

I also removed the wooden handles and painted the bottom five black too. The handle from the top of the drawer will not go to waste as I'll keep it in my hardware stash for a future makeover.

Painting the vintage waterfall dresser a warm white paint color.

With the French burlap taking center stage, the frame of the dresser is painted a neutral warm white color called Drop Cloth. The remaining dresser drawers are also been painted this color but only required one coat of paint, considering they'll be covered with fabric. This will eliminate the ugly brown from showing through the burlap.

A unique vintage waterfall dresser makeover with French burlap fabric..

Another thing I often do is add an element of surprise by painting the sides of the dresser drawers a bright color. These ones are painted with Dixie Belle Paint in the color Barn Red. The inside of the drawers was looking worse for wear so I painted them too.

A unique waterfall dresser makeover with decoupage burlap fabric on the drawer fronts.

Stenciling Top Of Dresser

In sticking with the Parisian theme, I also stenciled the top of the dresser with a French Postmark stencil. With stenciling, less paint is more so you don't get paint bleeding underneath the stencil.

Stenciling Tips

  1. Position the stencil on the painted furniture and hold it in place with painter's tape along the top.
  2. Dip a stencil brush into the paint and then dab it onto a paper towel to remove the excess paint.
  3. The key is to have very little paint left on the brush.
  4. Start stenciling either with a dabbing or swirling motion in the middle of the largest part of the stencil and work toward the edges.

A waterfall dresser makeover with a Parisian postale graphic stencilled on the top.

Aging The Paint

To give the fresh paint an aged and time-worn patina, I used brown Van Dyke Dixie Belle glaze. It's imperative that you work in sections while the glaze is wet. Brush it on lightly and immediately wipe it off with a lint-free rag.

To tone down the red paint on the sides of the drawers, I also aged them with glaze.

Protecting The Paint Finish

Once the glaze was completely dry, I used Dixie Belle clear Best Dang Wax to protect all the paint finishes. Applied in circular motions with a small wax brush and buffed with a lint-free rag to a matte sheen.

Now that the dresser is painted, time to decoupage that pretty French burlap onto the dresser drawer fronts. My burlap fabric came on a roll but you could also use burlap table runners.

How To Decoupage Fabric Onto Furniture

  1. Lay the dresser on its back with the drawers set in place.
  2. Lay the fabric over all the drawers and line up the print how you would like it. You may want to tape the fabric on the top to hold it in place.
  3. Working one drawer at a time, apply a generous amount of Mod Podge with a foam brush over the top drawer.
  4. Lay the fabric across the drawer, adjusting as needed.
  5. Wear clean latex gloves or place your hand inside a sandwich bag and firmly rub your hands over the fabric to smooth it out and get good contact.
  6. If need be, with a small art brush apply more Mod Podge to the fabric around the edges.
  7. Repeat for the remaining drawers.
  8. Cut the excess fabric around the perimeter of the dresser and in between each drawer with scissors but not flush with the edges just yet.
  9. Let it dry completely.
  10. With a sharp retractable knife carefully cut the extra fabric around each drawer.
  11. Lightly sand any stray fibers with sandpaper for a nice crisp edge.
  12. This next step is optional but you can apply a coat of Mod Podge over the fabric to keep the edges from fraying and protect the fabric. It will dry clear.

A tutorial on how to decoupage dresser drawer fronts with fabric.

I find it kind of fun to decoupage furniture and used a single napkin to decoupage on a serpentine dresser makeover. I used a paper shopping back to decoupage this small corner table makeover and lined the back of an antique bookcase makeover with fabric.

Finishing Touches

Now that the dresser is painted and the drawer fronts are covered in pretty burlap fabric, it's time to add the finishing touches to the waterfall dresser makeover. First I added some pretty mercury glass teardrop pulls I found at Hobby Lobby. I wrote about this Canadian gal's maiden voyage to Hobby Lobby. 😂

New pretty mercury glass teardrop pulls on just the top drawer of a vintage waterfall dresser makeover.

Next, I lined the drawers with lovely striped wallpaper that I picked up at Habitat ReStore a few years ago.

Lining the drawers of a decoupage waterfall dresser makeover with classic striped wallpaper.

As I mentioned earlier, I have so much doing makeovers on these waterfall dressers. Like this pink ombre dresser makeover or this geometric stenciled dresser makeover. On this girl's pink dresser makeover I did a dress form stencil and decoupage fabric combination.

I have another waterfall dresser in my shed waiting for a makeover. I'm going to have so much fun with this one and can't wait to share it with you.

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by this decoupage waterfall dresser makeover.

A unique burlap fabric decoupage waterfall dresser makeover.

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A unique vintage waterfall dresser makeover with French burlap plus a tutorial on how to decoupage furniture with fabric. #furnituremakeover #vintagedresser #furniturerefinishing #uniquefurniture #decoupagefurniture

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch, Anita! I love the instant wow factor fabric adds to an otherwise plain piece of furniture.

  2. Nice job! I love the wooden phone. Where did you find it?

    1. Hi Michelle, I got the phone from a local online auction site. It's pretty sweet, isn't it!


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