Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upholstered Drawers

I have had so many questions and requests about this so finally I am going to let you all know how I made this dresser:

I made these quite a while ago, before baby 2 was born and absolutely love them. They are so bright and colorful I use them in heaps of my display shots for the artwork in my WallFry store and customers have been asking me where I got the dresser:

So, this will be a restrospective tutorial and forgive me if I don't pull the things apart to show you the nuts and bolts, but hopefully you will get a good idea.

What you will need:
Dresser - (any set of drawers where the face of each drawer sits outside the drawer cavity)
Wadding - (I used thin pieces of Dacron)
Staple gun and staples - (I used an electronic staple gun because it was sooo much easier)
Fabric - (of your choice, match your bedding or color scheme, your options are endless)
Tape - (I used black duct tape which matches the drawers and has stayed secure)

I started off with a set of Ikea Malm Drawers:
Then some wadding:

  • Cut your wadding to the same size as the face of each drawer (it does not need to go around corners, this will be too bulky). You should have 3 rectangular pieces the same size. I only used quite a thin layer.
  • Cut your selected fabric larger than the drawer faces (leave enough space to come around the edges on every side, about 5cm). You don't need to cut any allowance for corners as you just fold these over like sheets on a bed when you attach them. If you cut them, they may fray.
  • Don't stick or glue your wadding to the drawers in any way. It isn't necessary and may make the wadding bumpy.
  • Lay out your rectangle of material on the table, then center a rectangle of wadding on top. Then place the drawer face down on top of the wadding.
  • Using your trusty staple gun, bring the edges of the fabric up onto the backside of the drawer and staple in place.

  • Fold the fabric over in a hem before stapling to prevent fraying. I used an electronic staple gun, but you can use a manual one too.
The backside of the drawers should look like this:

You can see that my staple work is not that crash hot. This is ok, as long as the fabric is fixed securely, because you will cover it later with secure tape. You can see how I have done my corners too (like sheets on a mattress) they have held really well for the last 2 years.
  • Tape over the staples. This makes it look nicer but is also a good safety measure if any staples happen to come loose. Make sure you use a tape that will hold. I had previously used masking tape on another set of drawers and this has peeled off over time. The duct tape I have used on this set seems to have worked a dream.
When the tape is in place it looks like this:

It is really quick and easy too. I did this when I was 8 months pregnant (hey you get creative and industrious at the end of a pregnancy, I think it's called nesting) and got it done in one night.

I love them, they are so bright and colorful and still the highlight of the room.

***TAKE A MOMENT FOR SAFETY - Take care when crafting and using things like staples around children. It is imperative that they are fixed securely and that your children are not allowed to play with the drawers unattended. Keep checking that your staples are safely secured over time, even as your children get older. Thanks!

I welcome your questions! If there is anything I haven't covered (no pun intended) then leave a comment. I read them all and will reply to any questions.


  1. I so love this, it not even funny.....gosh I wish I could come up with ideas like this

  2. That is the beauty of being able to share ideas online!

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial! We have the same dresser in my 2 year old’s room and I was thinking of getting rid of it but now I'm so going to do this instead!

  4. If have any questions that or there is something that I haven't covered here when you go to do it feel free to ask - I would love to help.

  5. tres tres joli! merci pour ces explications! et encore bravo!

  6. The Upholstered Drawers look fantastic, and easy. Very innovative.

  7. IKEA will use it soon. Its brilliant !

  8. Maybe it won't be so easy to flat pack?

  9. Why? They are very thin, lightweight, easy to produce and install. So I don't see a problem 8-)

  10. Sweet! I've got an ugly dresser in my son's room that this would be adorable on!

  11. thank u for sharing this idea!
    i'm off to share it with my friends :)

  12. what type of fabric did you use???

  13. It was a mixed selection of various cottons, but I really think you could use most types of fabrics.

    I don't thin it would work with anything that was too thick, too thin or had too much stretch.

    Have fun!

  14. amazing simply amazing! I found you via a quick google search for ikea hacking and I am so happy I did! I am going to follow your blog now too... hooray! Haze x

  15. Hi crew. Just wondering how much material you used for each drawer- in yards or metres is fine. Thanks!

  16. I really don't know how much materail (probably about half a metre for each drawer but I am not 100%). Just measure your drawers and leave about enought for an extra 10 inches each way to give you room to wrap around and for any error.

    Good luck!

  17. Hi, just wondering if you needed to use a heavy duty electric staple gun? or just an electric staple gun. Thanks

  18. Hi Sarah
    I started off with an ordinary staple gun (not electric) and it was fine as long as you put a bit of effort into it (so that the staples are flush). The electric staple gun I used was not particularly heavy-duty so it 'should' be fine although would depend on the wood your drawers are made from.

    Have fun!

  19. I actually have the malm drawers :) so I'm thinking just a regular electric staple gun would do. I didn't want to necessarily buy a heavy duty staple gun in case it blows the drawers to bits! ha ha. I appreciate response.


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