{how-to make a silver leaf dresser: an ikea rast hack}

Do you want to know how to take this:

To this?

Re-inventing the Ikea rast dresser was VERY easy and relatively inexpensive. It is constructed of solid wood making it a great surface to paint, wallpaper, stain, etc.

Because I am frugal and love to DIY, I decided to silver leaf the drawer fronts of the dresser and change the knobs to give the Ikea Rast dresser the glamour treatment. 

This project was easy, as silver leaf is very easy to work with. Silver leaf is very delicate and light but forgiving, the first few tries will be tricky but you'll get the hang of it quite quickly. It is easy to patch up and cover gaps with bits of silver leaf. I find it amazing how it all blends together. What I found was that silver leafing wood with a grain was a bit more challenging to get a seamless finish than on a smooth surface such as my lamp.

Materials needed:

Rast dresser from Ikea {I paid $29 but it is showing up online as $39 - must of been my lucky day}
Black paint {or colour of your choosing} I used Benjamin Moore's Aura paint in black
Silver leaf  {I used a package of 24 sheets and leftover leaf from my lamp project. I would recommend  2 packages of 24 from Michaels}
Gilding adhesive size
Crystal knobs {or knobs of your choice}
Sanding block
Paint brush for the paint and wipe-on poly
Smaller paint brush for the size
Fluffy dry paint brush to smooth and dust off silver leaf


Assemble the dresser using the instructions provided, but don't mount the drawers into the dresser {the dresser comes with small plastic pieces to keep the drawers from coming out all the way, don't put those in until the dresser is finished}

Lightly sand the dresser with a sanding block and clean off the dust. 

Paint the outside of the dresser and drawer fronts. It took only 2 coats of paint using the Aura paint. I didn't prime because the paint I used has a "built-in" primer. If you use other paint you will want to prime as the surface is raw wood.

When paint is dry, you can start the gilding process on the drawer fronts. 

You will want to do this in an area that is easy to clean up as you will get silver dust everywhere.

Paint on a good layer of gilding size, following the directions on the bottle. I let the size dry until it was tacky to the touch and turned clear.

{I didn't take any photos of this process as there was silver leaf dust everywhere didn't want it to get into the camera lens and was in a hurry}

But here are photos of a lamp I gilded, the process is the same.

Now adhere the silver leaf using a brush to pick up the leaf, slightly overlapping each piece. Smooth each piece with a brush, brushing away the loose bits.

Silver leaf is very forgiving. If you missed a spot you can take a little piece of leaf and just smooth it in with your fingers.

After all the drawers fronts are done, paint on varathane to seal the silver finish. I painted 3 coats to give it a durable finish. I also gave the top and sides

{Also didn't take photos - was in hurry to get this finished}

Once dry, add knobs of your choice. I used these crystal knobs from Home Depot. At $6 each, they ended up costing more than the dresser itself but so worth it as they add that extra touch of bling!


Happy gilding!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me:

XOXO Barbara

*Dec 23:linking to: SNS@Funky Junk Interiors


  1. Ooh! I like seeing your in-the-process pics...looks the way my dressers look right now :) I am sorry that my process is taking so long, still no sign of my backordered ring pulls!
    Hope your party is going well today :)
    Nancy xo

  2. That piece looks amazing!
    Really good job!
    LOVE your blog!
    Please visit min too:)


    Lovely greetings...

    PS: Guess who`s your new follower;)

  3. This just looks so cool. I'm a new follower.....found you at Centsational Girls post. I really like your step by step approach. Can't wait to see more. :)

  4. I love this....you did an amazing job!

  5. Okay, this is amazing. I've overlooked that little dresser at IKEA so many times. We've been looking for inexpensive nightstands for our bedroom, and this is the perfect solution.

  6. I found you over at Centsational Girl and couldnt resist having a look at your delightful drawer makeover, it looks like a real designer piece especially with those crystal knobs nice touch.

  7. I like this. Maybe I should give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Barbara, this is fantastic. What a great combination of treatments. It looks great by the red headboard. Love it!

  9. It just looks so Marilyn Monroe Movie Star Vintage. Love it!

  10. Thats looks fab - Just going to follow your blog now :)

  11. Great tutorial Barbabra. And, I agree, the knobs really do make the dresser!

    Thanks for posting my giveaway on your sidebar!

  12. Wow what a genius job!! It looks fantastic. Want to share it on my Facebook page!!

  13. Great job Barbara! You make it sound simple - will have to try it!

  14. Wow, I give it up for you that is so incredible, I'm so impressed!! I better stick this on my facebook page next!

  15. What a great idea! It looks so pretty. I can't wait to try this one!

  16. Such a fantastic transformation; this is definitely a top-rate Ikea hack! You rocked it!! :-) Oh... and I definitely need to try silver or gold leaf with something! Fun!!

  17. Great job transforming the dresser :-) I just used silver leaf for the first time last week making over a tray. I definitely need more practice!

  18. This is brilliant! It looks like a really fabulous piece of furniture now - very impressive. Greetings from Melbourne, Australia.

  19. Whoa nellie...that is pretty swanky!!! Love it. Thanks for sharing. I have seen that dresser "hacked" in so many ways! Your is the best!

  20. Brilliant! I added some gold leaf detail to a black iron chandelier...that dressed it up. You are talented!
    Mary Ann

  21. Very nice! Thanks for the comment on my own RAST hack. It is such an awesome starting piece for projects. I would love for you to use my dresser in your round up! Thank you!

  22. Lovely! What a wonderful idea, it gives the piece great dimension! Thanks for stopping by my blog to check out my Ikea hack and I would love to be included in your round up! Thanks:-)and I am looking forward to following your blog.

  23. That looks awesome!! And I have that same lamp that sits on your dresser!! <3

  24. Fantastic job - I love your dresser! I linked it to my dressers post too, well done!

  25. Whew! Hope you have the photos of some of the gilding process. I love the dresser already, eh.

    Peny@surgical instruments

  26. Hi Barb! Hey I just wanted to let you know that I featured this amazing transformation on my blog today. You can find it here: http://cathhasablog.blogspot.com/2012/03/transforming-your-furniture-with-paint.html

    I really enjoy following your blog! ☺Cath @ Home is Where my Heart is: http://cathhasablog.blogspot.com/

  27. Your Rast turned out great!! I am also into silver pieces of furniture!!
    If you want to see my Romanian Rast hack, here is the link:
    Aslo, you can check out my new blog here:
    Ozana from Houseatheart
    Kisses from Romania!!


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