Project Restyle: Photo Decoupage

How to Decoupage Furniture (via photo furnitureWe haven’t shared a Project Restyle in quite some time. The basic idea is you take something (furniture, clothing, etc.) and refresh it into something you love even more. This could mean repairing a broken or neglected item, or it might just mean changing something up because you want to. I’d say this project falls into that second idea. Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with making small updates to our home. I’ve just been in the mood to change things up a bit, and I’ve mainly been focused on our bedroom this month. 

Before and after decoupage furnitureHere you can see a before and after of our bedroom drawers. The “before” photo you see is actually from our book Happy Handmade Home. And I haven’t changed up our bedroom too much since around the time we were writing that book. I decided I wanted to cover the front of the drawers with a giant (blue print) photo. This is a similar project to one you can find in our first book, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book

Do you like how I casually mentioned both our books in that last paragraph… subtle, no? 🙂

In case you’re thinking of doing a similar project anytime soon, here’s how I did mine.

Make a pattern from the furnitureSupplies:
-blueprint copy of a photo you love*
-scrap paper
Royal Coat Decoupage Finish (similar to Mod Podge)
-foam brushes
-X-Acto knife

(In case you’re curious, this project cost about $14 to complete as I already had the scrap paper and X-Acto knife needed.)

*Note on what photos work well: If you are covering a piece of furniture that has drawer handles or pulls, you’ll want to be mindful of their placement on your photo. If I had used a photo that had people as the subject, the drawers may have hit right in the subjects’ head or body in a way that ended up looking kind of weird. In my opinion, the best photos to use for this type of project are either something more abstract (like a grouping of succulents or flowers) or a landscape photo.

First, create a pattern for your furniture piece onto scrap paper. Use this pattern to cut your blue print photo. Remove any hardware from the drawers beforehand.

How to decoupage photos to wood furnitureNext, lay your photo onto the surface of the drawer and use a few pieces of painter’s tape to secure the photo in place. Use a foam board or cardboard to divide the paper in the center and fold half of your photo onto the board. Paint a thin layer of the decoupage finish onto the back side of the photo. 

How to decoupage photos to wood furniture Starting from the center, gently lay the photo into place, smoothing as you go. Try to avoid getting air bubbles or wrinkles in the paper as you work and smooth either out towards the side or towards the top or bottom as needed. Repeat on the other side and continue the process on all the drawers.

Tips for decoupageIf you find that your pattern wasn’t perfect, use an X-Acto knife to trim the edges once the finish has completely dried. 

Decoupage finishAdd a coat or two of the decoupage finish to the outside of the photos and allow to fully dry before putting the hardware back on. I noticed that while adding the outside coat of finish, the photo looked bubbled (when wet) but this will go away as it dries, so don’t freak out (I almost did!). 

Decoupage furnitureI’ve simplified our bedroom decor (more on that soon), so the pop from this now graphic set of drawers makes the room feel that much more intentional. I love it! Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman, Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • This is brilliant use for a favourite photo. How do you stop the edges from curling up or getting tatty?

  • Hi Melody! It was printed on blue print paper at a local print shop. 🙂 -Jacki

  • Was the print on actual blue print paper? Regular Paper or some sort of photo paper?

  • How do you think this would work with dresser drawers that have carved-in pulls, not detachable hardware? My inclination would be to paste a whole sheet on, then cut out the hand pulls afterwards. I would love to try it!

  • Do you know if you can get this sort of print done in color or just black and white, not blue? I would love to do this with some purple orchid pictures I took at the MoBot orchid show but the blue wouldn’t match my bedroom decor. Looks awesome!

  • really love this project! I’m about to paint a brown piece of furniture white for my sons room and now I’m thinking this is a much cooler idea because it will give the furniture personality. really considering this! thanks for inspiring me as usual. great print choice too! love how yours turned out! xx. gigi.

  • This looks so cool! And I have to say, I love your little collection of Hudson Bay items 🙂

  • Amazing! This is beautiful… I’ve never done anything like this before! Maybe one day I will try!

  • It looks amazzzingggggg! So delicious! Need to try this recipe.

  • This is so artistic I really love it ! 🙂 A great way to redo your place.

  • I love this idea!! I’m in the midst of a huge overhaul of our house, including painting kitchen cabinets, installing new hardware, painting old furniture, etc. I’m doing image transfer onto a couple of pieces, but I have a chest where THIS project would be absolutely perfect. Can’t wait to try!

  • Great idea when surface is in bad conservation

  • This would look perfect in a girls bedroom who’s not very girly because of the black and white colors. It’s so pretty and sophisticated.

  • So I’m interested in what kind of print would not run if wet glue was applied. Was it ink jet? Laser? What kind? How much did the print cost at the local print shop?

  • Looks great! I’d love a post on tips on how to style the top of a chest of drawers / bureau like that. I live in a studio apartment and I have quite a tall chest of drawers and I’m never sure how to deal with the space on top (but it’s so out in the open of my apartment!)….always end up having too much resting atop there.


  • Such a great idea! It’d be interesting, but maybe a bit tedious, to try this with Instagram print outs.

  • This was such a beautiful mid-century dresser and I cannot believe you would decoupage anything on to it 🙁 So sad.

  • oohh, gosh… it looks just perfect!! so unique and extraordinary!

    as far as you are a blogger and you often deal with photos, perhaps, you will find my photo app really useful and interesting. warmly welcome to try it here: thanks a lot, Elsie and Emma!!

  • oohh, gosh… it looks just perfect!! so unique and extraordinary!

    as far as you are a blogger and you often deal with photos, perhaps, you will find my photo app really useful and interesting. warmly welcome to try it here: thanks a lot, Elsie and Emma!!

  • That’s a great idea! Maybe I’ll try it sometime, perhaps with a photo of a palm tree. Instant vacation mood!
    On a totally different note: I love (haha – got it?) your tattoo, it’s so subtle 🙂

  • If this isn’t creative than I don’t know what is x.

  • I cant believe how lovely this is! I am a huge lover of redesigning and revamping furniture! What a great job!

  • Wow excellent piece of work!This just amazing idea to do in simple way.. Thanks!

  • Very stylish! Just curious, why did you use a different decoupage medium for this project, rather than Modpodge?

  • Love this! The possibilities are endless. I would love to see what a black and white photo would look like!

  • This actually seems way easier than I thought! I love how you went with a black and white design – simple, yet effective!

    Monica – Mocha and Moccasins

  • This is a great idea and way to spruce up old furniture, I think I might give it a go! x

  • This looks great! What are your thoughts on this decoupage product versus modpodge versus something more heavy duty like polyurethane. I guess the polyurethane would yellow and maybe cause color to run? I thought modpodge would not wear well for furniture (it is not waterproof, for example) and did not adhere well to a smooth plastic surface without any prep. Did you sand the surface at all first?

  • You ladies never cease to amaze me. This dresser is beautiful and I love the idea of using your own photos. Awesome!

  • What an awesome idea, Emma! I love the print that you chose for the dresser; it makes for a beautiful contrast! xo

  • No I had to get it printed at a copy and print centre. This type of print is often called a blue print copy, it’s used by building developers for large scale planning. The quality is not at all as good as my Canon printer. But it was the size that I was going for, and the sort of grainy quality gives it an artistic look.


  • What a great project, Emma! And the picture that you picked is just perfect. Were you able to print that size at home or did you have to send it to some sort of copy and print centre?

    xx Kathryn

  • Ooh that’s lovely. I have a chest of drawers I just hate, should definitely do this with them.

  • This is a really creative cost effective idea! The photo you used looks really great – the drawers look very chic and stylish.
    Claire x

  • What a simple, fun and affordable dresser transformation. I will be looking for a nice night stand to transform like this. You ladies sure do think of the best restyle projects. Thanks for sharing!

  • I LOVE how this turned out! I would love to do something like this with my daughters old dresser!

  • Such a simple idea but so striking! I need to get my interior-head on and brighten up my bedroom a bit. xx

  • This looks great! I absolutely adore decoupage! During mine and my husband’s engagement, I created a change jar (for a little extra wedding cash) out of what had been a huge plastic container filled with pretzels, a bunch a pictures of flowers and feathers that I tore out of a wedding magazine, and modge-podge. It turned out great and I still use it for decor because it goes with everything!

  • Seems so easy but I did decoupaged furniture onces (drawers too) and promissed myself “never ever again”.
    Yours look great!

  • Oh my gosh. This is totally awesome! I never would have thought about doing something like this. You guys are the greatest! 😉

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