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Bordered Chest of Drawers How-To

Accent any drawer set with this simple design staple: borders! 

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2006


DIY design tip: use steel wool to rub on your glaze. This helps to enhance the overall patina of the piece.


  • Damp cloth

  • Wood filler

  • Sand paper

  • Primer

  • Light-gray paint

  • T-square

  • Plastic container

  • Blue latex paint

  • Liner brush

  • Paint brushes, including a natural bristle brush

  • Light-gray alkyd paint

  • Alkyd glaze

  • Mineral spirits

  • Cotton rag

  • Steel wool


  1. Clean previously painted pieces with a damp cloth. Fill nail holes with wood filler, and lightly sand the entire surface. Clean again with cloth. Apply 2 coats of primer; let dry. Apply 2 coats of light-gray paint; let dry. For best results, remove drawers and paint them on a separate work surface. Also, paint the surfaces of the bureau frame one at a time, allowing ample drying time between each.

  2. Make marks for a 1/4-inch-wide border that's set in 1/2 inch from each edge. Using a T-square, connect the layout lines with a colored pencil. In a plastic container, thin blue latex paint with water until it flows off the brush easily but is not too watery. Using liner brush, fill in border with paint; let dry.

  3. In a plastic container, combine 4 ounces each of light-gray alkyd paint, alkyd glaze, and mineral spirits; mix well. Apply with a natural-bristle brush. Work in the glaze with a cotton rag.

  4. While glaze is still wet, run steel wool over bureau's surface in the same direction as the brush strokes. Let dry overnight.

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