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How to Refurbish an Old Nightstand Quickly Using the Decoupage Technique

Ivana is a passionate crafter who loves sharing her experience, mistakes and victories.

how-to-refurbish-old-nightstand-quickly-using-decoupage-technique

What You Need to Decoupage a Nightstand

If you have all these materials and about an hour of time freed up, you can decoupage your nightstand. Here's what you'll need:

  • White wood paint: This is actually not obligatory, but it is if you would like to change the base colour of your piece. Mine was brown and I liked it better in white.
  • Good artwork, newspaper or images you wish to use: You can go the traditional route with paper napkins, or you can choose some magazine clippings, printed quotes, images of your family, etc.
  • Wood glue: Make sure it's water based.
  • Small bowl: Plastic or glass will do.
  • Sponge or cloth
  • Brush
  • Water

Now let's get started!

Choose Good Artwork for Your Piece

The final result of your work will depend significantly on the images you choose to use. You can find inspiration everywhere, but the best advice I can offer is to think about who will use your piece and where it will be placed after you are done.

I decided to refurbish this nightstand for my daughter’s room, and this was my starting point. She really likes Avengers serials, so I went online and printed out some nice Avengers comics.

I printed them out on recycled paper—this is not entirely white paper, but a little bit brown, so it gave my artwork an "older" look.

After you print it out, you can cut it so it fits your design. But I just tore it with my hands and made the collage.

My daughter really likes Avengers serials, so I went online and printed out some nice Avengers comics for my decoupage project.

My daughter really likes Avengers serials, so I went online and printed out some nice Avengers comics for my decoupage project.

Add Some Base Paint

My piece was a boring brown colour, so I changed it to white before I started to decoupage. This step is not necessary, however, if you like the base colour of your piece.

I used white Aqualux Shabby Chic wood paint. I already used this paint in the past and was quite happy with the result. It has a matte finish and dries off really quickly. You can apply it with a brush and just wipe some of it off immediately to get that worn-off look. Alternately, you can apply it with a sponge.

This step took about 15 minutes to apply the paint, and then only couple of minutes to dry off. You can immediately start decoupaging after that.

This paint also does not have a strong smell. So I managed to do it all in my bedroom, which was handy.

I used white Aqualux Shabby Chic wood paint for my base paint—it has a matte finish and dries off really quickly.

I used white Aqualux Shabby Chic wood paint for my base paint—it has a matte finish and dries off really quickly.

Decoupage Mixture Recipe

After doing all the preparations, finding the artwork and painting your piece if necessary, it is time to prepare the decoupage mixture.

For this step, gather these three materials:

  • water-based wood glue
  • bowl (plastic or glass)
  • brush

I did not measure this in any way—I used only my intuition while preparing the mixture. You need to put some glue in the bowl and add little bit of cold water. Stir it well so you do not have any glue chunks. You want one nice, smooth mixture similar to milk.

Please watch the video below to get an idea of how dense it should be!

How to Decoupage

  1. After you have prepared your mixture, check out the snapshot of your desired design that you took and take the first piece you would like to apply.
  2. Place the piece on the desired place and apply the mixture across the piece with a brush.
  3. After brushing on the mixture, take a wet sponge and tap it across the piece. You will see the white parts of paper becoming clear and merging with the surface.
  4. Be careful not to wet the sponge too much, because you could make a hole in your artwork!
  5. To get rid of any bubbles, after you apply the glue with a brush, carefully tap with a wet sponge until it becomes clear.
how-to-refurbish-old-nightstand-quickly-using-decoupage-technique

Consider Adding a Glossy Finish

After you have coated your entire piece, leave it to dry off. This glue dries rather quickly, so you should be able to continue working again within 10–15 minutes.

When dry, you can choose to apply some glossy finish. This will protect your piece, especially if you will use it as a table or nightstand. Waterproof finish will prevent water damage from glasses or cups.

Once you are fully done with decoupaging and finishing, re-install the handles and you are ready to enjoy your newly refurbished nightstand!

Here's a look at the finished product—my daughter loved it!

Here's a look at the finished product—my daughter loved it!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Please share your opinions or your own decoupage work! Thank you!

Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on July 20, 2020:

Awesome upcycling project! I have made lots of pieces of furniture like this! I have also made shoes with comic books too! (tutorial on my profile) I love how you used a plain black and white image on the while painted background- it looks so well finished!