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DIY Children’s Dress-Up Wardrobe

Have you ever just been driving somewhere and instantly got an idea? That is exactly what happened with this old entertainment center. Learn how we used DIY chalk paint to make a DIY dress-up clothes storage solution.

DIY Children's Dress-up Clothes Storage Ideas

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The “Before” Laminate Cabinet

Literally, this old tv cabinet was sitting at the end of a driveway in my neighborhood screaming for me to pick it up. There are so many good repurposed furniture ideas for a tv cabinet, but I knew I had the perfect one for our family.

As I drove by it, I instantly thought about making a DIY children’s wardrobe for my daughter. I almost could pick the final repurposed tv cabinet behind the wheel of my mini-van.

Old Entertainment Center before Makeover

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 worth your time. We have been so lucky that we 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 knew this DIY children’s dress-up wardrobe would 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

Toys and clothes can just slowly take over spaces in your home. The dress-up clothes storage ideas (bins, trunks and hanging in the dress-up closets) just were not cutting it for me. 

Only when a child asks for one do they 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, superhero costumes and princess dresses were all over the place.

The Best Way to Store Dress-Up Clothes

Creating a DIY armoire gives your children a separate space and place to put their 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 ends up being like another toy that she could let her imagination take over. 

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!

Kid’s Dress-up Storage Idea and Plan

  • Add a spring rod for hanging dress-up outfits (stay 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)

Other Design Consideration

  • 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 backing?

Just start creating and see what happens! You don’t have much to lose when you are repurposing furniture (especially free furniture).

Easiest Way To Paint Laminate Furniture

Chalk paint is known for adhering to many surfaces. Using chalk paint to add color to this old cabinet was the perfect solution.

Before painting prep the surface by wiping off the furniture. You can also use a deglosser to help clean before any furniture makeover.

DIY chalk paint with plaster

Decide On Color

First, you have to decide on the color you want. You can choose to mix or buy your own paint color.

I ended up mixing old paint that we had to get a color that I thought would work.

Con To Mixing Your Paint Color

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 to paint small rooms (like the bedroom in our basement) just so we don’t waste paint and money. 

For this repurposed cabinet I mixed 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.

How To Repurpose Entertainment Cabinet

You can see how I have used this DIY chalk paint to redo other furniture pieces in our house. 

Step 1: Mix Chalk Paint

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. Use the other end of the brush to stir. Work to get all lumps out. 

Mixing plaster for DIY Chalk paint for children's wardrobe

Slowly mix in ⅓ paint (or a little more) to the mixture.

Pouring in pink paint for chalk paint

Once it is completely stirred together, start painting.

Tip For Easy Measuring

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.

Mark a cup as 1 part for chalk paint

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.

Step 2: Paint 2 or 3 coats of DIY chalk paint

We ended up needing 2 coats of homemade chalk paint to help cover the wood grain of the particleboard.

DIY Furniture makeover becoming a Children's Wardrobe for dress-up clothes

Design the Back of DIY Children’s Wardrobe

This is where 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

  • Find a fun cloth remnant to hang on the back
  • Create a large painting using acrylic paint.
  • Use a fun collage technique that young children love to create my own back of the closet.
  • Use fun marble or other awesome contact paper to modernize the back of the cabinet.

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)!

After I typed this out, I know that it doesn’t seem like the most logical choice. However, repurposing the back of the old entertainment center with a collage technique was going to add a unique element to this children’s closet design!

Read More: See how we used contact paper to completely repurpose an UGLY filing cabinet!

Step 3: Remove Backing

Remove the old backing board. This one was simply tacked in, however, we did have to take a hammer and remove it.

Make sure to save the nails in a bag because you will be using them to put it back on in the end.

Taking off the back of cabinet

Step 4: Create The Back Of The Dress-Up Wardrobe

Create a white flat surface on top of the old backing.

Covering particleboard with white tagboard

Simply glue the white tagboard with my favorite regular glue and then when back with a glue gun to make the surface as flat as it possibly could become.

The seams from the tagboard didn’t bother me. The tissue paper helped hide the seams when the collage was all done.

It would have been nice to have a cordless glue gun. I think I may need to invest in one soon!

Step 5: Make Collage Glue

Mix 1/2 part glue and 1/2 part water. Again, I used an old plastic food container to mix the glue in.

Making glue water mixture.

Step 6: Add Tissue Paper

Paint the glue mixture on top of tissue paper. Please note when choosing tissue paper you need to pay attention if you want your colors to blend more than you will want bleeding tissue paper.

Use an old brush and simply cover the whole piece of tissue paper. Overlapping tissue paper can create a really fun look.

Paint glue mixture on tissue paper

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.

Color Tissue Paper collaged for DIY Children's Wardrobe.

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!

Step 7: Seal The Background 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.

Mod Podge added to tissue paper collage

Step 8: Put It All Back Together

Attach the 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.

Step 9: Add A Doll Rod

Add a doll rod or spring rod to your wardrobe. Under the shelf, we cut a thicker doll rod, drilled even holes on the side, and slid 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 through your old furniture piece.

Picking a drill bit for diy clothing rack

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.

Finished DIY children's dress-up wardrobe

Step 10: Add Extra Storage or Accessories

In the future, we plan on making DIY jewelry holders that will attach to the inside of the closet. Currently, I attached a small hook and hung one necklace. My daughter loved this and asked for more hooks.

I am still looking for the perfect storage containers or fun baskets to add to the inside, but I may end up having to make cloth storage boxes soon!

Related Reading:

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How-To FAQs

Should you remove the backing before painting?

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.

Related Organization Projects

I love having a space to put all of the dress-up shoes, clothes, and accessories! My children even help keep it organized because they know that is their special dress-up clothes storage space. We hope you love our DIY children’s dress-up closet as much as we do and we inspired you for your next DIY repurposed furniture project!

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  1. This turned out so cute! Such a fun way for little ones to get the whole dress up experience!

    1. Hi Kari. Thanks for the kind words. My daughter loves storing her princess dresses and my son stores his superhero outfits in the cabinet below. It works out great because they both have separate dress-up clothes storage.