Learn how to use DIY chalk paint with a unique collage technique in this furniture makeover
Have you ever just been driving somewhere and instantly get an idea? This happens to me all the time, however, this was a little different because…
Literally, this old entertainment center was sitting at the end of a driveway in my neighborhood screaming for me to come and use it as a way to organize all of my children’s dress-up clothes! As I drove by it, I instantly thought about making a DIY children’s wardrobe for my daughter.
I came home and insisted that my husband would go and pick it up with his truck. I mean it was FREE and just sitting there…
Not to mention I could honestly picture the cutest little dress-up station for my daughter (and son).
Before taking free items from Facebook groups or at the end of people’s driveways (like we did for this playhouse as well) make sure that it is sturdy and actually worth your time.
We have been soooo lucky that we really only redo old furniture pieces that are worth it.
My husband was a little skeptical about taking this, but it was sturdy even if it was made of particleboard.
Because I know this DIY children’s dress-up wardrobe will only be in our lives for the next couple of years, I wasn’t worried about having a solid wood furniture piece that I wanted to last for years…
And as I told my husband, it is FREE and I have an idea so you better just go get it.
Dress-Up Storage Idea Fails
just were not cutting it for me.
Only when a child asks for one do they really get to play with them and what is the fun in that? It is way more fun to just get dressed yourself to show up to dinner in your favorite princess dress-up outfit!
I have tried a lot of different ways to store dress-up clothes for my kids. Before this furniture makeover, the superhero costumes and princess dresses were all over the place.
Some are in storage bins and some dress-up outfits are hanging in their closets and some are in a trunk in their room. I have even thought about creating a space or mural (like our DIY painted accent walls) with hooks in my daughter’s closet, baby nursery or basement…
But none of my ideas have really made me stop and say they will LOVE this until now!
The Best Way to Store Dress-Up Clothes
I am honestly soooo excited about this DIY armoire and I can’t believe that it really was made very cheaply. We love having a separate space and place to put our make-believe outfits, accessories, and gadgets.
My children love it so much that they even help keep it organized! That is a HUGE win in my book!
This dress-up clothes organization system not only makes this momma happy, but it ended up being like another toy that she could let her imagination take over.
Are you looking for princess dresses? I have tried to shop around and found three different dresses I would consider buying.
Pink Dress-Up Gown-Not officially a Disney dress but gives off the Sleeping Beauty impression in my book.
Elsa Dress-Up Outfit with Accessories-There seems to be a lot included for the price.
Belle Dress-up Gown-I always feel that Target has the best selection of dress-up clothes.
I am lucky that a friend gave us our princess dress-up clothes. However, you can also always check Facebook groups to score these dresses for cheap!
How to Make a DIY Dress-Up Closet for Almost Free?
First, I really have to come up with a DIY wardrobe design for this old entertainment center. As always, I was trying to find things around the house that I already had to help as well as how to do this DIY children’s project as cheaply as possible.
Because why spend more money than you have to?
Kid’s Dress-up Storage Idea and Plan
-Add a spring rod for hanging dress-up outfits (stayed tuned, we ended up doing something a little different)
-Create a fun and patterned backdrop for this DIY Armoire
-Create DIY jewelry & accessory holders
-Paint it a fun color (most likely DIY chalk paint because who wants to prime anything)
-Create some sort of dress-up organization in the bottom cabinets (may involve DIY storage baskets for all the dress-up shoes, crowns, and capes)
Some questions or things I was unsure of at the beginning. Should I add anything to the outside? Extra dress-up clothes hooks? Should I add a small mirror inside the dress-up closet? How would I attach anything to particle board?
I guess I will just have to start creating and see what happens! Because this old piece of furniture was FREE, I felt like I could take some chances turning this into something amazing to store dress-up clothes.
How to Paint Old Furniture Easily
First, wipe off the furniture. I have even used a deglosser to help clean before a furniture makeover. However, for this child’s wardrobe, I only wiped it down with a damp paper towel.
Using my DIY chalk paint recipe to add color to this old cabinet that was litterally found at the end of a driveway was the perfect solution…
Cheap and Easy DIY Furniture Makeover.
Mix or buy your own paint color.
Because this child’s dress-up clothes wardrobe was more for play, I didn’t even want to spend money on any new paint. I ended up mixing old paint that we had to get a color that I thought would work.
Again, why spend money if you don’t have to. I love using the supplies we already have for our DIY home projects. The only thing is that you have to be careful that you have enough of that color. You will not be able to just go to the store and order it as easily.
I have even mixed paints together to paint small rooms (like the bedroom in our basement) just so we didn’t waste paint and money!
Not only did I use old paint, but I used different types of paint. This works because you end up adding the plaster to change the sheen or surface quality to more matte.
Therefore, mixing an old red enamel door paint and a light gray color sample gave me a nice rosy color that was perfect for this dress-up closet.
Make the DIY Chalk Paint
You can see how I have used this DIY chalk paint to redo other furniture pieces in our house.
1) Mix the ⅓ plaster with ⅓ (or a little less) water in a larger container (an old spinach container was the perfect paint holder). Pour water in first and then add plaster slowly. I used the other end of the brush to stir. Work to get all lumps out.
2) Slowly mix in ⅓ paint (or a little more) to the mixture.
3) Once it is completely stirred together, start painting.
Tips for DIY chalk Paint Furniture Makeovers
Mark a cup or another container with a line. This way you do not have to ruin anything like a nice measuring cup. This marked container will act as a guide and you put equal parts in.
Try to get the measuring right the first time. I know this is not an exact science, but a little less than ⅓ water will help your paint be more opaque.
You may need to experiment with your chalk paint recipe ratios depending on the paint you are using.
Paint 2 or 3 coats of DIY chalk paint
We ended up needed 2 coats of the homemade chalk paint to help cover the wood grain of the particleboard.
Design the Back of DIY Children’s Wardrobe
This is were my creativity and willingness to fail came into play. I considered a lot of different ways I could remake the back particleboard to make this a fun dress-up station for my daughter.
Ideas for the Back of DIY Dress-Up Closet
1) Find a fun cloth remnant to hang on the back
2) Use fun marble or other awesome contact paper to modernize. I did see a lot of fun, modern and reasonably priced contact paper online, like these hexagons
(and you know my daughter loves hexagons from this mural in her room)!
And, I almost ordered this one!
Read More: See how we used contact paper to completely redo an UGLY filing cabinet!
3) Create a large painting using acrylic paint.
4) Use a fun collage technique that young children love to create my own back of the closet.
The winner: Create my own collage using tissue paper.
After I typed this out, I know that it doesn’t seem like the most logical choice. However, repurposed the back of the old entertainment center with a collage technique was going to add a one of kind element to this children’s closet design!
How to Redo the Back of an Old Entertainment Center
1) Remove the old backing board.
This one was simply tacked in, however, we did have to take a hammer and remove it.
In retrospect, it probably would have been easier to remove this before I used the chalk paint. At the time, I wasn’t sure I was taking the whole back off.
2) Make sure to save the nails in a bag.
…because you will be using them to put it back on in the end.
3) Create a white flat surface on top of old backing
Remember those huge wholes that were cut out for an old TV in the back of the entertainment center? While I had to figure out a way to get a white surface to and cover them up.
Simply glue the white tagboard with my favorite regular glue (check out my list of favorite art supplies for kids) and then when back with a glue gun to make the surface as flat as it possibly could become.
It would have been nice to have a cordless glue gun. I think I may need to invest in one soon!
I figured the seams from the tagboard wouldn’t bother me because for 2 reasons:
-It was covering with tissue paper
-It is the back of the DIY dress-up closet (clothes will be hanging in front)
4) Make your collage glue.
I used 1/2 part glue and 1/2 part water. Again, I used an old plastic food container to mix the glue in. I love it when I can repurpose containers we already have my projects.
Use an old brush and simply cover the whole piece of tissue paper. Overlapping tissue paper can create a really fun look.
When I first started making the collaged backdrop, I used regular old tissue paper I had at home. Then I thought it needed a little extra pop of pink to match my chalk painted exterior, so I ripped some shapes using bleeding tissue paper.
If you have never experimented with bleeding tissue paper, you should. Kids and adults can get some really amazing collages for all types of projects!
6) Seal with Mod Podge
This was an extra step I took to make sure that the backing of my dress-up station would last. I ended up using this mod podge, because I had free samples of it. It was great for a paper collage.
7) Attach backing board back on
Use the nails from when you took the backing off, line up the board and hammer back in the backing board.
Now you can enjoy your DIY children’s dress-up closet as it is or finish it by adding a DIY rack for the dress-up clothes.
However, my husband wanted to make our dress-up clothes storage a little sturdier.
Add a Doll Rod to Create a DIY Dress-Up Clothes Rack
So under the shelf, we cut a thicker doll rod gold, drilled even holes on the side and slide the rod through.
I also just saw this product, which might make it easier to attach a hanging rod if you don’t want to drill all the way through your old furniture piece.
Using the right size drill bit, made this much sturdier than a spring rod. However, if you don’t own a drill, I am sure a spring rod would be great.
Begin Decorating Your DIY Children’s Dress-up Storage
I absolutely love having a space to put all of the dress-up shoes, clothes, and accessories! My children even help organized because they know that is their special dress-up clothes storage space.
I am still looking for the perfect storage containers or fun baskets to add to the inside, but I may end up having make my own soon!
Pin for later!
In the future, we plan on making DIY jewelry holders that will attach in the inside of the closet. Currently, I attached a small hook and hung one necklace. My daughter loved this and asked for more hooks.
Related Reading: Looking for more weekend DIY Projects? Check out our post on 50 Home DIY Projects!