How Vintage Waterfall Dressers Could Be Re-Purposed


IMPORT Collection TIC 60-864 Catalina Trunk, Set of 3 $414 On Amazon

Copy this look above….. 

Makeover a large 6 drawer dresser to look like vintage trunks, with textured wallpaper.  Hammer on leather and upholstery tacks, and change out the hardware for campaign hardware.

Same Lines

Vintage Waterfall Dressers have the curved frame seen in trunks.. 

Trunks Restoration Hardware

Dresser Mixup

Have you ever stumbled across an inexpensive vintage piece of furniture at your local thrift store, or second hand shop, and wondered what you could do to it, besides paint it?  Consider giving it a make-over with contact paper, or textured wallpaper.  Contact paper comes in a variety of patterns and colors, yet they are only thought as shelf liners. These beautiful papers can be so much more.

Contact paper can be purchased for as little as $1 a roll. Bookshelves, dressers and chests with straight edges are the ideal pieces to work with.  French and Queen Anne furniture can be difficult to work with as curved wood can be hard to apply tac-style paper.  Keep your eye out for vintage modern, water fall dressers from the art deco era, or ikea furniture with straight lines.

A friendly warning – this sort of project can be time consuming. If a tear develops, it can be difficult to fix.  Contact paper, over time can be very difficult to remove, so consider a piece of furniture  that is inexpensive, but also has great lines.  An exacto knife, a metal ruler, and cutting mat are great tools to own when taking on this project.


Trunks Restoration

Trunks Restoration Hardware

Trunks | Restoration Hardware

Create Your Own Metal Chest Dresser With Metallic Contact Paper

– First consider spraying your wood dresser with a metallic spray paint that matches up to the metal you are considering.

– Next, use a metal ruler, and cut the shapes from the metal contact paper to the chest accordingly.  Home Depot also sells thin pieces of metal, which you can use with metal cutters.  These thin strips of metal can be hammered on to your chest using upholstery tacks.

– With contact paper, be sure that all air bubbles are removed from the chest.  Consider using a soft cloth to press out the bubbles with your fingers.

Galvanized Trunk with Rivets and Metal Strips - Set of 3

Galvanized Trunk with Rivets and Metal Strips – Set of 3 $150 On Amazon

– Add interest to your chest by adding rusty hardware and leather to offset the metal.  By spraying your chest first with metallic spray, allows you to experiment with textures.  Try any techniques on a piece of wood with the contact paper applied, before using hammers, or any other texture tools on the metal papers.  Adding texture will also age the finish, and will give the final look an antique feel.

– Consider playing around with aged finishes.  While I haven’t tried this myself, the contact paper may lift, depending on how much water is in the mixture.  Adding a bit of brown glaze, which can be wiped off, leaving traces of the dirt look in the corners can add to the overall finish.  Check out “9 DIY Recipes For Rusty Hardware” on  Hersite for ideas.

– Add on additional furniture appliques, such as a pattern of metal flowers on ebay,over-sized upholstery tacks in a grid pattern, in hammered black.  Contrast can add extra detail, and draw the eye away from any imperfections.

Contact Paper

Contact Paper – Seen On

Gold Metallic Brass Contact Paper $15 On Amazon

Con-Tact Brand Shelf Liner, Brushed Copper, $21 On Amazon

Shelf Liner, Faux Stainless, 18″x 6′ $10 on Amazon

traditional Indian Mango wood dresser

Consider using textured wallpaper and gold or silver leaf on Queen Anne, or French furniture

Traditional Indian Mango Wood Chest

Create A Metal Chest or Dresser With Raised Patterned Wallpaper

-Go for a textured look with patterned wallpaper.  Use the glue on the back of the wallpaper to adhere to the chest by washing the back with water.  Be sure that your chest or dresser is sanded enough for the wallpaper to grip to.  Apply the wallpaper, cutting away the extras with an exacto knife.  The hardest part of this application will be removing the air bubbles.  Use side of your hand to push out any extra air.

– Use mod podge glue to seal the corners, and areas that might tend to lift, before and after the wallpaper dries.

– After your chest is sealed well, spray your chest down with metallic paint, and go the extra step by using gold or silver leaf.

-Gold Leafing is one of the most beautiful and realistic finishes to real gold. Metallic Spray paint doesn’t compare to the luster that gold leaf can give to a piece of furniture, picture frame or chair. When I started out gold leafing, I found it quite frustrating, time consuming and costly that I didn’t enjoy it much. After only a couple projects I threw it aside and went back to spray painting again. After much practice, I found that gold leaf makes everything look expensive.  Gold leaf does take some practice, and it is easier when the leaf itself is inexpensive.

Forget about buying your gold leaf at Michael’s crafts.  It can be really expensive, 25 sheets cost me about 15 dollars when I started. Today I buy my gold leaf (500 sheets for $30 dollars) from Picasso Frame for $30 dollars- here

I love working with Mona Lisa Adhesive Spray. Buy it online from Art Supply Superstore here.

My quick tips for gold leafing:

– Start with a coat of Rust-oleum Bright Reflective gold, silver, or copper spray paint. I use it as an undercoat to all my leafing. Spray the Mona Lisa Adhesive, and let it set for a couple minutes, until it is slightly dry, yet tacky, and apply your leaf. Wear a mask while you are working.

Set of 3 Medallion Trunks

Set of 3 Medallion Trunks- here

Great Links

– Easy DIY Furniture Update with Contact Paper – Miss Kitty and The Bears Blog

– Black Faux Leather Contact Paper $15 On Amazon

-ConTact Paper Brushed Copper $9 on ebay

Hammersmith East India Co. 22 Iron Trunk

Hammersmith East India Co. 22″ Iron Trunk $49 On Amazon


Made from mango wood, MDF, copper, and gold-toned metal, this nightstand will light up your bedroom even in the middle of the night. $398 at Anthropologie


Mid Century Industrial Metal Chest of Drawers. Description: Vintage polished steel four drawer chest in the manner of Norman Bel Geddes, c. 1940’s.

Gray metal chest dresser hand hammered 3 drawers spectacular.

60″ Wide gray metal chest dresser hand hammered 3 drawers spectacular $2100 on ebay

Wide gray medium metal chest dresser nightstand hand hammered 3 drawers

Wide gray medium metal chest dresser nightstand hand hammered 3 drawers $1650 on ebay


Industrial Polished Steel Chest of Drawers Designed by Norman Bel Geddes

Industrial Polished Steel Chest of Drawers Designed by Norman Bel Geddes

Trunks Restoration Hardware

dark metal chest hand hammered great details dark shades spectacular

Dark Metal Hammered Chest, $1900 on ebay

Whitman Spitfire Steel Chest


Whitman Spitfire Steel Chest 4 Drawers Stainless Style for a Steal – Fresh Fresh Fresh! Nursery Work Table – Galvanized Metal $1,125