DIY Ombré Drawers

DIY ombre drawers

I’ve had this cheap chest of drawers for a while now and, after 3 moves and considering how rubbish it was in the first place, it’s in a state. It’s really cheap foil-covered MDF and it came with some chrome effect plastic handles that broke a few months in. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of it for a while, but I needed the drawer space, so I thought I’d have a go at painting it instead of buying a new one. Even if I didn’t do a great job, it couldn’t possibly look worse, so it was worth a try. This is what it looked like :

DIY ombre drawers

As it’s not made of wood, the foil on top of the MDF boards needs a few coats of primer to make sure the paint sticks to it. I had some melamine primer left over from when I painted my kitchen cupboards, so I used that. It needed 3 coats, and it could’ve possibly done with a 4th, but I’m too impatient. If you’re painting laminate furniture like this piece, please note that MDF primer won’t work with this, as the MDF is covered in a plastic “wood effect” foil which is the layer the paint needs to adhere to.

DIY ombre drawers

To paint it, you can use a small roller or a paintbrush. I went for the paintbrush this time as I thought it’d make it look a bit more like painted wood, but if you want a smoother finish, a roller is probably better.

For the gradient (or ombré) effect, I just got some paint testers and used a different one for each drawer and for the frame. Two coats in, and they didn’t look anywhere finished. Maybe I should’ve used more primer…

DIY ombre drawers

Mine ended up needing 3 coats, but this will depend on the type of paint you use, the state of the chest of drawers and, er, how impatient you are. I used regular water-based acrylic matt paint. If you want it to be a bit more hard-wearing, you could use oil-based satin or gloss paint, but just thinking about the hassle of getting it everywhere and spending hours trying clean it off put me off. Here’s Elliott inspecting the job:

DIY ombre drawers

I let them dry properly and didn’t use it for a couple of days, to let the paint “cure” (mind you, the cat will ruin all this as soon as he gets his claws on it). Then I added some cheap Ikea clear plastic handles. This is what it looks like:

DIY ombre drawers


8 thoughts on “DIY Ombré Drawers

  1. NICE! I have a really ugly dresser I have been wanting to paint, I have lots of ideas, but think I will do this in shades of yellow. You really did a great job.

    • Thank you! I reckon it’d look dead nice in yellow. Plus, it’ll be easy to find paint testers in nice yellow shades. Let me know how you get on! 🙂

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