How to create a beautiful floral chest of drawers

Want to create a statement piece of furniture? This is how to create a beautiful chest of drawers using a floral furniture transfer.

It’s all about the piece, the prep, and sometimes problems.

Beautiful beginnings

Refinishing furniture can take a long time. If you start with a quality piece then you have a solid foundation on which to create something beautiful.

I bought these drawers on Facebook Marketplace for £15. Similar restored items sell for hundreds of pounds and you can see why.

My goal was to keep the character of the piece while turning it into something special that someone would love.

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How to create a beautiful floral chest of drawers

The original chest of drawers before starting

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All in the prep

Preparation of furniture is the most important step. If the piece is dirty then the paint won’t stick (it will stick to the dirt and then fall off). If there are holes or dents, the paint won’t hide them.

So, whilst I always want to rush on to the fun stuff, prep work must get done.

I chose to remove the ornate backing piece from the top as I think it has a cleaner silhouette without it and it didn’t add much to the character.

Fortunately, it just slotted off and I only had to fill the holes with wood filler.

Here’s a piece where I went very overboard with the wood filler!

Using wood filler on the holes

Sanding and priming

Next, I cleaned and sanded it down. It’s best to clean before sanding as sanding can push dirt and grease further into the wood.

Sanding lightly scuffs up the surface to help give the paint something to grab on to. This sandpaper is lovely stuff as it has foam padding.

Sanding down the whole chest of drawers

The piece was in great condition although there was some staining in one of the drawers. If this hadn’t been there I would have left the wood natural because I think the original features add to the charm. However, no one wants to store their clean clothes on mystery stains.

I used Zinsser Bin primer which is a stain blocker.

Slight damage and stains in the drawers which need a stain blocker

I primed all of the frame because often with darker wood pieces, the colour can bleed through after painting. You don’t want to prep, paint and seal and then have stains show up.

The only solution would be to sand it back to the wood and start again. Bin Zinsser is brilliant for avoiding bleed-through and worth the initial effort.

Drawers after priming with bin zinsser before turning it into a floral chest of drawers

After two coats of primer, I painted the piece and inside the drawers in Raw Silk by Fusion Mineral Paint. Two coats and a few touch-ups used one can and a bit. I buy Fusion Mineral Paint from my local vintage furniture shop.

The original handles are beautiful. They were nailed on and had a maker’s mark cast on the back showing there’s some real history there. To bring them back to life a little, I used Rub N Buff in Gold Leaf.

The handles before and after using rub n buff

Applying the transfer to make the floral chest of drawers

This transfer is Peony Fields by Hokus Pokus. It comes in three sections so to make sure it was centered I did the middle first.

If you want a perfectly applied transfer then you’ll need a completely flat piece of furniture. Mine has ridges so I didn’t try to make it perfect as the transfer already had a slightly distressed style (see the white patch on the pink flower).

Applying the transfer to the floral chest of drawers

It’s an easy but time-consuming process. All you do is rub over the transfer with a flat object and pull pack the plastic to check that it has applied to the piece.

If there is transfer left on the plastic just place it back and rub over it some more. Believe it or not, this whole transfer took about six hours to apply!

You can also get flowers by using stencils, here’s how to get a cherry blossom look!

This close up is of the transfer part-way through being applied. The top left of the purple wing is a lighter colour which shows that it has transferred.

Close up of the transfer where it has been applied

You can see the texture of the drawers which makes the transfer harder to apply as it has grooves and bumps to work around.

It would be faster to apply to the completely smooth surface of something with a factory finish. Maybe not as beautiful in the end though.

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The oops-a-daisy

I learn from every piece I make. Whether it’s a mistake or a way to do something better. I think it’s important to show that mistakes happen and as long as you learn from them, it’s ok.

Can you spot the mistake here?

As the drawers are vintage they don’t have runners. Without handles attached, they would push back quite easily with the pressure of applying the transfer.

So, I attached a handle to be able to move them. Except I attached just one. To the middle. Of a drawer that has two handles. I didn’t even notice my mistake until about an hour later.

Not the end of the world but a waste of time fixing it. So, after completing the transfer I removed the one handle, filled the holes, repainted and sealed it. C’est la vie.

The drawers after one piece of the transfer has been applied

With the handle in the right place. Doesn’t the gold look beautiful amongst the flowers?

The drawers with the handle reattached

I’m glad I kept the original handles. Here’s a chest of drawers where I used modern, gold handles to create a very different style.

The finished piece

And there it is. The finished piece. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Close up of the transfer on the finished floral chest of drawers

It helps to have had a quality piece to start with and a lovely transfer to draw the eye. I think it’s charming and elegant. It’s not for everyone but it would be a boring world to live in if it was.

Finished floral chest of drawers

Have you had any oops-a-daisies like me? Pop a message below, I’d love to hear about it. They’re the best way to learn.

Like to see the process in real life? Watch the quick flip video!

If you liked this floral chest of drawers, you might also enjoy these other beautiful transfer projects.

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