Michelle Brunner and Tisha Leung with upgraded dresser
Steps // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser
1 ×

Overview for Building a Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

 
Step One // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Overview for Building a Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

paint and painting tools set on top of green dresser. Stenciling materials are inset in the upper left of the image
Photo by Mark Lund

Tisha knows color—she finds the beautifully finished rooms that we feature in most of our stories. So she didn't sweat pulling a jar of glitzy metallic paint from the box of #DIYDare supplies we left with her and Michelle, the staff furniture guru. Michelle wasn't fazed either, knowing it was the ideal accent for the makeover of a dresser she had in her office.

"We can do a pattern and hack the look of a thousand-dollar inlay dresser," Michelle said. Tisha was sold and suggested stencils to speed the process of creating the furniture's intricate look. "It'll be superfast and consistent," she said. Tisha went stencil shopping online, and Michelle started clearing papers from her bowfront muse.

Like most paint projects, this one included important prep: a primer coat before a base coat. After settling on a pattern, Michelle dabbed on the metallic paint as Tisha positioned the stencils, and together they covered the dresser with glimmering detail.

"An amazing transformation with just a little paint," Tisha pronounced once the stenciling dried. "And I'm thinking the perfect spot for that #DIYDARE trophy," Michelle said.

 
2 ×

Prime the Dresser

 
Step Two // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Prime the Dresser

Michelle Brunner priming the dresser
Photo by Mark Lund

Remove the hardware and clean the dresser with soapy water, then dry it thoroughly. Remove any loose paint with a scraper. Then use a foam roller and brush to apply a primer coat of shellac-based primer to all the sides and the top.

 
3 ×

Paint the Dresser

 
Step Three // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Paint the Dresser

Michelle Brunner and Tisha Leung apply the top coat to the dresser
Photo by Mark Lund

Once the shellac dries, rub the dresser with superfine steel wool (#0000) to smooth it out, then clean the surfaces with a damp rag. Use the foam roller and brush to apply a top coat of latex paint.

 
4 ×

Distress the Finish

 
Step Four // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Distress the Finish

rubbing the dresser with fine steel wool to distress the paint
Photo by Mark Lund

Once the paint dries, rub the dresser with the steel wool to distress the paint. Add a second coat if the base color is still visible.

 
5 ×

Apply the Stencils

 
Step Five // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Apply the Stencils

Michelle Brunner and Tisha Leung applying stencils to the dresser
Photo by Mark Lund

Apply the stencils around the perimeter, then fill in the field. Spray the back of the plastic with adhesive, then press the stencil onto the dresser. Dab the cutout with a pouncing brush dipped in metallic paint. Once the pattern is complete, carefully peel up the stencil and reposition it to continue the border.

 
6 ×

Finish it Off with Hardware

 
Step Six // How to Stencil Faux Inlay on a Plain Dresser

Finish it Off with Hardware

upgrading the dresser knobs
Photo by Mark Lund

Remove the drawers and apply the stencil around the edges first, then go back and fill in the field. Finish off the drawers by upgrading the hardware.

 
 

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