My draper chest ikea hack

Hello, pretty nighstand.

I have been looking for nightstands for months. I couldn’t find anything I liked within my price range (of course there were amazing things way out of the budget!), so I decided to make them myself. My original plan was to refinish a pair of IKEA Rast dressers to look like campaign chests. I found great hardware, but it was expensive and I also couldn’t figure out how to accomplish the inset pulls. Then Nancy at Marcus Design posted her amazing DIY Dorothy Draper España Bunching Chests and I was SOLD.

It looks pretty simple, right? Paint the dresser glossy black, stencil some simple gold designs, add new hardware. That is the gist of it, but this project took forever! It possibly cured me of my desire to ever DIY anything again, but don’t quote me on that.

Here’s what I did:

1. Assemble the bases, but not the drawers.

2. Apply two thick coats of primer, lightly sanding in between. Let dry overnight.

3.  Spray paint the base and drawer fronts. I stacked the fronts to get to the edges more easily, then laid them out to spray the fronts. Let this dry for 48 hours.

3b.  I decided the wood grain was showing through too much, so I sanded the black and applied another THICK layer of primer. I should have just done thicker layers (applied with a brush rather than a roller) the first time. Let dry for 48 hours.

3c. Re-spray the drawer fronts. Let dry for 48 hours.

4. Stencil and tape. I blew up a big picture of the design and cut little stencils out of cardboard to match the curves of the outer and inner edges. I taped off the straight bits, then used a white manicure pencil to lightly trace the curves.

5. Paint the gold patterns. The paint dried really quickly, so I took the tape off immediately without any bleed-through. Let dry for 24 hours.

6. Touch-up the gold to make the lines crisp and the paint coverage uniform. Let dry for 24 hours.

7. Seal. I used a spray gloss polyurethane. This step isn’t totally necessary, since the glossy paint acts like a sealer, but I wanted to protect the gold parts. Let dry for 4-6 hours.

8. Assemble the drawers and put them in the base.

There was a point during the taping phase where I wasn’t sure all the time I had put into this project would be worth it. I had to wait a long time between paint layers because of heat, humidity, and rain. The taping took an eternity. The wood grain showed through way more than I thought it would. I put my hand in the gold paint and smooshed it on part of the black. Black spray paint went everywhere. I ordered pulls in the wrong finish.

But as soon as I pulled up the tape after the first layers of gold paint, I was thrilled! The painting is imperfect, the pattern is off in places, and the wood grain still shows through. But no one will ever notice those little things because the finished product is amazing. Just what I wanted!


  • IKEA Rast 3 Drawer Chest — 2 (and they deliver!)
  • Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Water-based Primer — 1 Quart, used half
  • Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel Spray Paint in Black — used < four 15 oz. cans
  • Cabot Gloss Polyurethane Spray — used < one 11.5 oz. can
  • Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic in Iridescent Antique Gold — 2 oz., used < half
  • Lee Valley Tools Plain Ring Pulls in Burnished Bronze — 12, 51mm x 43mm

Also used 200 grit sandpaper, 3/8″ or 1/2″ paintbrush, old 2″ paintbrush for priming, white pencil, painter’s tape, cardboard for stencil, scissors, tape measure, screwdrivers, drop cloth.

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