Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Manga Dresser

And so, the quest begins, to make my 8 year old son Brodie's bedroom much more fun than it currently is, and honestly, that won't be hard since it is dull, dull, dull!  I am trying to do this on as small a budget as possible, hopefully under $100.  Is this stupidly optimistic?  I guess we'll find out!

The first project I embarked upon - a Manga chest of drawers! Isn't it COOL!!?

So, here is what I started with.  A chest of drawers, which was given to us about a year ago by a friend, and was being used by my son in all of its chipped, white glory.

Some paint from freecycle

and a couple of nice, thick, black and white manga comics from Value Village.

I tackled the handles first.  After removing them from the drawers, I sanded and wiped them, then attached them to some cardboard so they would sit nicely without falling over during the painting process.

I cracked open that lovely freecycle paint as fully intended the paintwork on this project to be that nice, dark red.  However, this is what happened when I began to paint...

Yes, it was rather pink!  I don't think my son will appreciate a pink dresser in his bedroom.  Also, it was very translucent - it just wasn't going to work, I think the previous owner has mixed something into it.  So, I wiped it off and started again.  What did I learn?  When I get lovely free paint from freecycle, I may not be getting exactly what it says on the tin!  I cracked open a tin of green paint, from the same freecycler, and once I had established it was just good old regular paint, I made a(nother) start!

Once the handles were set aside to dry, we started getting the rest of the parts ready - we removed the drawers, sanded the fronts and put them aside, then started on the main body - I actually attracted a helper for this part!  No, this isn't Brodie, it's his older brother.  If you look closely in the background, you can see part of another dresser which I previously gave a good old overhaul to!

Once the sanding was finished, we got out some flyers and tape and taped off all the parts that I didn't want to paint - namely, the top and the two side panels, then got going with the green paint again!

It took 3 coats of paint until I was happy with the coverage (no pics of that stage, sorry) - then came the fun part!  Brodie and I went through the comics and randomly chose pages we liked.  For about a nanosecond I considered trying to have a flowing story, but it never would have worked since every other page would be the face-down part pasted to the wood.  So we just went with stuff we liked!  I cracked open the mod podge, and started to paste!

The side panels are sort of self-contained/recessed a bit, I did have to trim some little edges to get a good fit.  With the top, I made sure to get a nice, straight line at the front, then left the overhang at the back, but made sure to fold it over the edge to get a good fold line - hopefully the next picture will explain it better than I can.

This is the back edge of the dresser where the overhang was.  Once the mod podge was dry, I took my sanding block and sanded along the edge, which shears away the excess and gives a lovely, neat line.  The white you can see in this pic is the edge of the original white paint on the back on the dresser and dripping down the back a bit - the edge of the paper is really neat, honestly!

Then it was time for the drawers.  I again left the pages to overlap on all 4 sides and once it was dried, sanded the edges off.

A top coat of mod podge on the drawers and the main unit (comic book pages only, not paint) to seal it all, and finally 3 thin coats of spray varnish (during the varnish stage, I put some tape over the painted edges that met the comic book pages so they would stay matt and not get all varnishy!)  Finally, I reattached the handles, and voila!

Now, I have to be honest - despite much smoothing of the paper during the application stage, there are still some wrinkles here and there.  But I'm not going to let this bother me.  I think the finished product turned out pretty awesome.

Chest of Drawers - free
paint - free
comics - $1.99 each so $3.98 in total
flyers - free

Other items I bought for use in this project, and will use for others too as still have some left (so will add them to the running total):

tape - $1
mod podge - $10
varnish - $6

Total cost of Manga Chest of Drawers - $3.98

Total cost of room to date -  $20.98

Eek - project number one is under my belt, and a fifth of the budget already blown.  Not looking good for my $100 budget - I guess I have to go even cheaper on my plans!

You can see more about Brodie's bedroom makeover below:
The Bedroom of Doom!  Before the transformation began...

Linked with:


  1. This turned out so awesome! I would love you to add this and any of your other projects to my What We Wore and Made party over at

  2. Thanks Marissa! I have joined the party!

  3. very funky and perfect for a boy! i bet your son loves it now! :)

  4. This is a super cool idea! I love the dresser! Might try and make one for me!

  5. Cassie, he does love it! Moonara, thanks, I'd love to see yours once you're done!

  6. BEST thing for a manga fanatic teen EVER! I am making one for my sister!

  7. I am not a Manga fan but I really love this dresser. I can see the possibilities!

  8. This is awesome.. such a creative and fun way to upcycle an old dresser.. I just love it! I did something similar if you want to check it out for my boys in superhero!
    Oh and I am your newest follower since I can't wait to see what you share next.. Thanks for sharing with the Pink Hippo Party!

  9. Thanks Pinkapotamus! Your dresser is fabulous! Do you have a facebook page I can follow you on? I find it much easier to keep up to date that way. x

  10. Well, Nikki, I would say you've gotten off to a fabulous start in transforming Brodie's room on the cheap. He must be super excited to know his whole room is going to look as cool as this. ;)

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday. I hope you'll join the fun each week. Be sure to stop by tonight, and see yourself featured.

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

  11. You did such a fantastic job! Way to go!
    I gave it a feature tonight :)

  12. Thank you Liz! And thanks SO MUCH for featuring my dresser, it's my very first feature, how exciting!!!

    Lesley, huge thanks to you too! I am so pleased you all like it!

  13. That is sooo genius! Going to try this for business-minded son's room with pages from NY Times business section! Thank you for a great idea.

  14. Thanks Marcia - this would look awesome with the Financial Times or something similar, you're right!

  15. This is brilliant - just one qn - how are you protecting the surface? AND WTF is Mod Podge? Is it a brand? fx

  16. Fiona, Mod Podge is a brand name, not sure if it's available in Europe but I would think it'd be at least in the UK? They do a whole range of products, although I have only used their glue - it is better than other glues when pasting paper as you get a lot less bubbles/wrinkles in the finished surface. Over the mod podge I sprayed 3 thin coats of non-yellowing varnish. x

  17. What a fun idea! Love the newspaper look!


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