Interested in updating a tired piece of furniture? Barb Blair, founder of Knack Studios, visits to share how she creates refreshed works of art from outdated furniture. 

Finished Foxes Dresser A dresser that’s fancier with foxes after Barb Blair’s makeover with some Prepasted Removable Smooth Wallpaper. Featured design: Foxen by holli_zollinger

One of my very favorite materials to work with when coming up with design plans for my furniture, is wallpaper! I absolutely love the way wallpaper completely transforms furniture and the art quality that is achieved.

I have had my eye on this holli_zollinger design, Foxen, for quite some time, and I could not wait to use it for this project. Here is how I went about transforming this drab oak to fantastic foxy.

Foxes materials


  • Prepasted Smooth Removable Wallpaper
  • Shop towels
  • Craft knife
  • Frog Tape
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Foam roller
  • Paint tray
  • Small tray for Mod Podge
  • Foam brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Sanding sponge
  • Scissors
  • Squeegee
  • Hardware
  • Ruler

The how-to:


1. Look your piece over and make any repairs needed. This is the time you will want to wood fill any hardware holes that will no longer be needed, and any other gouges or scratches that will take away from your finish. Also, check all of your drawer joints and runners to make sure no repairs are needed. If your drawer joints are loose, go ahead and glue them with wood glue, and clamp overnight.


2. Once your repairs are complete, sand the entire piece of furniture down to make sure the surface is smooth and free of dirt and grime. You do NOT need to sand all the way down to bare wood, but rather a light sanding to rough up the surface and prepare it for the paint.

3. Once you have finished sanding, vacuum the entire piece and wipe down with a slightly damp cloth to remove all sanding dust. You want your piece to be completely free of all sanding dust before painting.

Taped off

Fox taped off drawer

4. When all of the sanding dust has been removed, tape off all of your lines. One detail that I feel is super important, is that there are nice clean lines of definition. Take the time to tape off your drawer edges and cabinet sides, so that in the end you have a professional looking finish.

5. Once you have completed your taping off, pour your paint in a paint tray and get your paint brush and roller ready!

Foxes paint brush

Foxes painting with roller

6. Use your paint brush to cut in any areas that the roller will not be able to reach, and the foam roller for all flat surfaces. Foam rollers are my absolute favorite tool, and you cannot beat the smooth finish they give you on furniture.

7. Apply two coats of paint to the entire piece with proper drying time in between coats.

Applying wallpaper to piece

8. Once the painting is complete, it is time to apply the paper! Make sure you have all of your tools on hand so that you can make the paper application step a breeze!

9. Lay all of your drawers out in front of you, the way that they fit into the furniture piece, and plan out the way you want the paper to look. This is where you will be figuring out your pattern and making sure your application looks continuous and smooth.

10. I find that it is easiest to lay the paper on top of the drawers at this point {with drawers all together how they will be in the piece} and then slice in between each drawer with a craft knife. This way you know you have the right piece for each drawer, and can trim them accordingly once you start applying them to the actual drawer front.

Foxes mod podge application

11. Apply the paper one drawer at a time. Use a foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the fronts of each drawer. The key here is to make sure that the Mod Podge is applied very smoothly and evenly. If you have too much Mod Podge, or if it is heavier in areas, it will cause bubbles and ridges.

Foxes squeegee

12. Take the piece of wallpaper that you have cut, and apply it to the drawer front. Work from one side to the other, smoothing as you go until the piece is completely flat and smooth. Use your squeegee to work over the entire surface and really make sure all bubbles have been smoothed out. Repeat this step until paper has been applied to all drawer fronts.

13. Your paper should be pretty close to an exact fit, but if you do have any overhang, you can use your craft knife to trim the excess. Be very careful to keep your lines straight and don’t work too fast!

Foxes distressing

14. After all of your paper has been applied, and all is smooth and dry {usually a few hours} you can distress your piece. Use a sanding sponge, and sand all of the painted wood surfaces down. Distress as you see fit. Be careful not to sand on top of your wallpaper as it will ruin the paper. Sand only the wooden areas.

15. Vacuum up all sanding dust, and make sure piece is clean and ready for polyurethane.

16. Apply three coats of polyurethane, making sure each coat has plenty of drying time in between each coat. Usually a couple hours.

17. Line drawers with paper and apply new hardware!



Foxes side view

Foxes beauty detail

I do cover this technique, as well as several others in my book Furniture Makeovers. So, if you enjoy this project and would like to do more like it….. be sure to check my book out!

About Our Guest Author

Bio-headshotreducedsizeBarb Blair is a mother, wife, artist, published author, and founder of Knack Studios.

What started as a kitchen cabinet makeover, slowly and organically grew into the full blown furniture design business that Knack is today. Barb has created a name for herself through her furniture makeovers with designs that are original, fresh, playful, and full of character.

Barb Blair’s furniture pieces, and a curated selection of gift and home items, can be purchased at the Knack retail shop located in Greenville, SC . Online purchases may be made as well through the Knack online shop.

Barb Blair’s brand new book “Furniture Makeovers” published through Chronicle Books is available for purchase at Knack as well as anywhere books are sold nationwide. Furniture Makeovers is a step by step guide to creating your very own furniture masterpieces and is packed full of tips, tricks, and inspiration.