Decoupage a Wooden Drawer Desk Storage Unit with Floral Paper Napkins

I’ve given myself a whole load of super cute looking storage for my craft space with this wooden 9 drawer unit which I’ve decoupaged with gorgeous napkins and notepaper from Marimekko.

This wooden unit has a bit of a long backstory. I normally launch into a long story at the beginning, but on reflection it is probably better to show you the craft idea first and then you can skip the story at the bottom if it’s not why your here!

My wooden drawer unit has 9 drawers and measures 30,5cm x 12cm x 21.5cm (12” x 4.75” x 8.5”) but you can adapt this idea to decorate any size or style of drawers. You can buy all sorts of plain unfinished wooden drawers all ready for decorating. Something like this, this or this is similar.

As well as a wooden drawer unit you will need:

First give your wooden drawer unit several coats of white paint. I used a spray undercoat paint which worked fine. I took all the drawers out and sprayed them all over as well as making sure the paint went all inside the main frame of the unit as well as the outside.

Once it’s completely covered and dry you are ready to decoupage.

Cut out the shapes you want to use from your paper napkins, I was using these lovely Marimekko poppy napkins. Cut the shapes out and then separate them carefully so you are left with just the top layer. Double check that you’ve only got one layer left, often the top 2 layers are pretty well squished together and you might think you’ve only got one when in fact it’s two.

Apply a layer of Mod Podge over a patch of the wooden drawers and lay a napkin poppy on top. Smooth it down very carefully with your hand inside a plastic bag, or underneath a piece of cling film/saran wrap. This will help with preventing the napkin from ripping. You still need to go gently and this seems a bit odd but it helps! This photo is from when I decoupage a clock a while back as I forgot to take any photos of this step this time!

Continue over the unit, adding poppies randomly all over.

Once the mod podge is dry apply another coat over the top to seal it.

At first I thought I would have the large poppies coming down over the drawer fronts too. My plan was to have all the drawers in place, decoupage over the fronts and then use a craft knife to trim each one once it was all dry. But once I did this I just didn’t like it at all.

With a different napkin design or different placement this might work really well and you might like to give that a go. For me it just didn’t work at all. I ended up with this poppy over 2 drawers with the dark flower centre just where the hole in the drawer goes and it just didn’t look right to me.

I needed a new idea and turned to a pack of Marimekko poppy notecards I was given several years ago. You could use a pretty scrapbook paper in matching tones or style if you prefer.

I cut a piece of notecard to fit the front of each drawer front, glued them on with Mod Podge and then used a craft knife to cut the little dip. I chose the smaller scale notecards mostly, I have used a few of the notecards from the pack though so was a little limited in my options. I could get 2 drawer fronts out of one notecard.

I gave the whole thing a final coat of Mod Podge and gave it several days to dry really thoroughly before spending more time than I should rearranging the drawers to decide on the best placement of all these lovely patterns. Then I filled it up with my craft supplies.

It matches nicely with my upcycled clock although they are at separate sides of the room at the moment, maybe I need to have a rearrange so they can be together!


Here’s a little bit of reality, this is where it now is in my rather messy and cluttered work space. I think I’ll give the other wooden drawer unit underneath a new look sometime soon too.

I’m really pleased to have been able to give this little wooden unit a use in my craft space. My late dad had originally bought this unit and another similar one as flat pack kits several years ago. He had done a lot of model making and wanted to organise his tools and little bits and pieces. Sadly he suffered from dementia in his later years and never quite managed to put the units together. They became a bit of a quest for us, sorting out all the little bits for him regularly so he could have another go. When he passed away back in the spring it became very important to me to actually finish making these bloomin’ drawers!

I am lucky to have a son who has always been amazing at putting things like this together. As a kid he was all over the lego, knex, puzzles etc and as an adult he has retained those skills! He sorted out a box full of bits with no instructions and established that we had enough pieces left to make up one drawer unit. He helped me put it together and honestly, it felt so good to see it ready to be used; quest completed :-)

If my dad had been well enough to make up this unit I can say with 100% certainty that he would not have decorated it like this! But I also feel really sure that he would have been happy to see it in use in my craft space now, even if it is a bit too pretty.

I love these bold poppies from Marimekko, they are very much my style, but you could use a completely different style of napkin and get a completely different look. With so many beautiful paper napkins around these days it’s easy to find something that suits your style and taste.