Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Coolest Thing I Ever Upcycled is also My Proudest Creation...

...which is great because those are TWO of the five official blogging topics for the $5,000 GE Appliance Giveaway!  So in the interest of winning us a cool $5,000 smacker-ooos which would be so very, very appreciated in this the-dishwasher-sometimes-gets-stuck-in-heat-up-mode and the washer-sometimes-doesn't-empty-the-water household, I'm reposting this amazing, awesome-sauce reverse stencil dresser project that I completed this Summer for my son's big-boy bedroom.  Seriously, this project is without a shadow of a doubt the coolest DIY project I have ever accomplished...if you search for 'reverse stencil dresser' on Pinterest you get hundreds of hits of this dresser.  It is my greatest brush with fame thusfar in my life.

So, without further ado...the full Reverse Stencil Dresser post:


I did it!!

Remember that craaaaaZZy pants idea I had about reverse stenciling a ship onto a Craigslist-dresser-find?  Well...I did I have now gone from this:

to THIS!! can stop reading here and just admire the pretty reverse stenciling (pardon my complete lack of modesty...I'm ridiculously proud of this dresser)  OR you can read on for the step-by-step process...


Step one - take out the drawers and tape out the inside of the dresser

Step 2 - remove hardware and tape out the edges of the drawers themselves

Step 3 - Insert drawers back into dresser without drawer pulls and pray you will be able to get them back out again (if you weren't painting the area between drawers, than you could easily just take the drawers out, stack them together, apply the stencil and paint them...but since I wanted the 'gap' area included in the painting, I had to paint everything while fully assembled)

Step 4 - apply decal according to directions (in this case it was to tape half of the decal down, separate the two layers, remove the backing and then press the decal into place.)

(smoothing out the decal)

(apply the bottom of the decal in the same way as the top)
Step 5 - use a knife to cut where the drawers edges are

Step 6 - remove top layer of decal, leaving decal in place

Step 7 - repeat process for second side of decal - note: since this decal was applied on a non-even surface, it was especially difficult to line up the decal and there may or may not have been some tears and cussing during this stage)

Step 8  -  lightly sand dresser, try to avoid sanding over the decal

Step 9 - apply coat of primer to dresser, I used Kilz with the hope that it would truly keep the dresser from bleeding through the paint in the future

(after one coat of primer)
Step 10 - Apply two coats of white paint allowing to dry between coats

(after one coat of white paint)
Step 11 - IMMEDIATELY after last coat of paint, while paint is still tacky, start removing the decal

Step 12 - step back to enjoy handiwork :)

Step 13 - because of ridged, non-flat surface inbetween drawers, I ended up with some bleeding.  To remedy this, I got a stain pen from Minwax and used it like a magic marker to clean up the bleeding a bit - below you can see where the bleeding occurred; I unfortunately do not have any pictures of the 'fix'

Step 14 - AFTER stain marker has fully dried, apply Polycrylic topcoat.  Polycrylic is the way to go for a top coat that will go over both paint and stained surfaces, polyurethane will yellow any white paint you go over it with

Step 15 - remove painters tape and re-install hardware - project FINISHED!!

Custom decal was purchased from Dali Decals based on a design created using images purchased from (ship artwork by Seamartini and Cloud images by Sunrise).  All images by Miriam Bradford.


  1. That is pretty cool. I've never seen a reverse stencil like that.

  2. Your project ROCKS! I just wanted to let you know I featured it today on "You Sew Rock Me Fridays" on my blog Sew Rockin'. You can view the post here: 

  3. I really enjoy reading the post, thanks for sharing I really like it, I already bookmarked it, thank you guys.

  4. Miriam this is just amazing!! You are so creative I never would have come up with an idea like this! Bravo!

    Psst Be sure to Come and enter my Valentine Giveaway!


    Art by Karena

  5. I really enjoy reading the post, thanks for sharing I really like it, I already bookmarked it, thank you guys.

  6. Great design. This is very interesting. I wanna try this at my cabinet closet. accounts receivable

  7. Wow that's a brilliant work of art. So much effort on your part because the wall decals looks so complicated.