Plaid Gentleman’s Chest

This is one of my favorite tutorials! In this 4 part video series we will be creating this handsome Plaid Gentleman’s Chest with a paper application on the drawer fronts!

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These 3 drawer chests are some of my favorite to work on. Their classic style and moderate size makes them great for just about any space. An entry way, a sofa table, a media center, or accent piece, I pick them up every time.

This piece was solid mahogany, well made, and hepplewhite pulls to boot! I posted on my social media pages a few options for finishes, to see if my vision matched the masses. Which inspires you most??

Confession time: I already knew which one I liked, a clear vision for this piece. My pages disagreed and option 2 was the overwhelming winner. A compromise we could all agree on, I’d do one of each. A sister piece using the same finishes, but different pattern and color. A yin and yang, masculine and feminine version. Here is the piece that came of my page polling:

So now, onto my vision for the original piece. It was saying vintage, Victorian smoking room to me. A cigar lounge with leather chairs, plaid wallpaper, and hunting scenes in the artwork. I tend to be a theme decorator, look for inspiration, and when I find it, I use that vision in every decision along the way.

I had picked up this paper from Target, a luxury gift wrap from the Hearth & Hand line. When have Chip & Jo ever led me wrong?? When I choose papers for use on furniture, I look for heavy weighted, good quality, satin finish papers. They lay beautifully and the satin finish generally assures me that the inks won’t run when they encounter moisture.

The first step on this was to clean well with Dixie Belle White Lightning cleaner, sand smooth any damaged areas, and apply a coat of Dixie Belle BOSS stain and odor blocking primer. Mahogany is known for being a wood rich in tannins, oils that can bleed through and dis color a paint finish. The BOSS seals and creates a barrier to protect your paint. My top was stripped, sanded, and stained with Dixie Belle VooDoo Gel Stain in Tobacco Road. Catch the video here:

Video 1 of 4

Once sealed we could begin painting! This piece got two coats of sultry black Dixie Belle paint in Caviar. On the sides I blended in a bit of Palmetto to tie in with the greens from my inspiration paper. Catch part 2 here:

Video 2 of 4

The next step really brings our look together, applying the decorative paper to the drawer fronts. I used wallpaper paste as my adhesive, it is well suited for thicker papers and gives me confidence the papers are a permanent part of my piece. I cut the paper to the size of my drawer front, butter the drawer and my paper with the wallpaper paste, then smooth out with a brayer. Catch this step on camera here:

Video 3 of 4

You can find the supplies I used on this Plaid Gentleman’s Chest makeover and more of my favorite project supplies in my Amazon Shop!

Shop painting supplies and more of my favorite things in my Amazon Shop!

Finishing touches can make or break a piece. They really show the quality of the finishes and attention to detail that leaves an impression. My finishing touches included waxing the drawer glides, applying Copper Gilding Wax to the legs, and sealing over top my paper with Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide, their toughest clear coat.

Vintage hardware is like old jewelry, there is nothing like it. I try to retain vintage hardware whenever I can. These pulls were cleaned, got a coat of copper spray paint, then a wash of Caviar paint to settle in the details, followed by a clear coat. Our 4th and final video here:

Video 4 of 4

With these crowning jewels, my piece is complete! I staged it with classic artwork and smoked filled library inspired accessories to really bring this look together. Check out the final look below.

If you enjoyed this tutorial please subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel for more paint techniques using Dixie Belle paint and to keep up with any new projects I will have.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. D S

    The interior decorating firm of MSW in San Francisco did a DIY of an Ikea chest in plaid for their office, the picture was on Pinterest. I found your tutorial and now feel confident that i will be able to complete a similar project after viewing your post. Your attention to detail is superb. Thank you.

    1. Brandy K.

      How awesome! Ill have to go find a pic of their version

  2. Cecilia from Georgia

    Hi Brandy! I love the plaid and the natural wood is a perfect combination. I am trying to finish a console table that I sanded all the finish off and need to seal it with something. I have never used the VooDoo and really don’t want to stain it but leave it natural. If I just put a sealer on it will it look good or do I need to apply a light stain? It’s a veneer that is a neutral color. Thanks so much!!

    1. Brandy K.

      Sealing raw wood will deepen the color of it, unfortunately no product applied will avoid that

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