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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Lily Pad Dresser: How to Apply Large Decoupage Paper to Furniture

I LOVE to create with a giant sheet of decoupage paper (also known as the size A1)! Let me take this opportunity to show you how to apply large decoupage paper to furniture.

Especially when the art image is one that looks painted....which allows me to paint up to and around it....and pretend the whole image is my own work!  LOL!

I'm just kidding. I would never pretend it was my work...but I will most certainly show off my "paint up to and around it" skills!

That part of the process is so much fun....a bit challenging....and a whole lot of rewarding!  If you've never used decoupage paper on a piece of furniture or any other surface, let me show you what I mean.

Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture by Traceys Fancy

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Before the Decoupage Paper


But first...let's prepare the surface. 

I cleaned this gorgeous dresser with white lightning....and thank goodness I did!

Before Lily Pad Dresser

It looked sparkling clean....yet I was shocked at the amount of grime that I removed!

The dresser also had a high sheen and the white lightning deglossed it just enough to allow for great adhesion of the chalk paint without a primer!

white lightning furniture cleaner on top of dresser

Before I start any painting, I always thoroughly clean the piece and determine if it will need a primer coat. Learn all about how I prep furniture for chalk paint HERE!

Supplies Used

I've listed the colors below and there are a lot! However, you use very little of each color.....except for the dark brown undercoat.  So it is possible to purchase the 4 oz. sample sizes for all the colors and an 8 oz for the dark brown.  

Light Olive Green Acrylic by Masters Touch

Exacto Knife

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How to Apply Large Decoupage Paper to Furniture

After cleaning, I painted the front of the drawers in white but only over the area that the paper would be used.

woman painting the front of dresser with white paint

PRO TIP: It is important to paint a very light color behind your decoupage paper in order to keep the colors in your paper bright! 

I used Satin Top Coat to apply my decoupage. 


I left the drawers in place and began at the top of the piece......smoothing out the paper over the area using a ball of saran wrap.

large lily pad decoupage paper applied to front of dresser by Traceys Fancy

I used an exacto knife to slice my paper between the top upper drawers and then above and below all the drawers.  

I did not apply the paper to the strips of wood between the drawers.  You can but it is really tedious!

Instead, I filled those areas with paint. (but we will get into that soon)

So basically the steps to apply large decoupage paper to furniture are:

  1. apply the satin top coat

  2. lay down the paper

  3. smooth it out

  4. make necessary cuts

  5. apply another coat of satin top coat

  6. smooth out again.

  7. Repeat this in sections as you work your way to the bottom of the dresser. 

Painting Around Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture

This is the part that I want to focus on.

Painting up to and around the existing paper image....or embracing it as I like to say....with paint to make it appear as if the entire front is a work of art!

If you look at this photo, you will see that it has tricked the eye into making you believe this is one giant finish across the entire front of the dresser...but it's NOT!! It's ONE single piece of large decoupage paper glued to the middle of it and paint blending throughout for a complete look!

Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture by Traceys Fancy

I love this part!!!

From ONE Large Sheet of Decoupage Paper to a Finished Look

I did base coat the entire piece in Coffee Bean to add that deep shadow layer naturally when the brighter colors go over it! 

Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture painted dark brown around edges by Traceys Fancy

I shared with you the colors that I used HERE.... for those of you that would like to try this same design.

spread of paint brushes and paints used for lily pad decoupage dresser

I can also share the technique that I use but it is something you will most likely need to do several times to feel good about it.


Read Decoupage 101 on Wood Furniture Blog HERE (including curved surfaces)

Or... Watch my Decoupage YouTube video HERE.

Or... Learn How to Decoupage on FABRIC  HERE.



Things to Consider When Blending Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture

  • It is important to use a stipple motion.....with large or small brushes.

mix of paint brushes used for lily pad decoupage dresser

  • Also use multiple colors at once.  So load your brush with multiple colors....or use them one color at a time....applied in a stippling motion to blend as you go. 

blending edges of decoupage paper for complete look on front of dresser

PRO TIP: Using just one color is a dead giveaway to the eye.

  • Also make sure to carry your paint OVER the edge of the paper.  Avoid stopping right at the edge of the paper.  You want to carry your mix of colors over and onto the paper design....stippling of course!

  • Do not forget to finish out the design between drawer spaces. If you look closely at mine you will see that I carried the stem of the flowers, flower petals and even lily pad colors from one drawer to the next. 

PRO TIP: When you leave the wood strips without carrying over the is a dead giveaway to it being decoupage paper!

Finishing the Piece with Painted Cloudy Blend Sides

I chose to carry my ethereal, cloudy blend, slightly mottled look around to both sides and even the top.  

ethereal cloudy blend on side of dresser

I was led by the colors in the paper.

The lime green in the upper left of the paper....I kept to the upper left side and even over onto the top left surface.

lime green blend on top edge of dresser by Traceys Fancy

The red/orange/pink at the bottom center of the paper I carried on down onto the bottom trim of the dresser.  

red orange pink at the bottom trim of dresser

The upper right of the paper was a more earthy mushroom color with I also carried over to the upper right side and even onto the top surface.  

earthy mushroom color on top right of dresser

Let the original artwork be your guide.

For other very custom pieces, consider my distressed texture technique tutorial!

The Finished Look

Once I stepped back and was happy with all surfaces.....I sealed the piece to really bring the chalk paint colors to life!

Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture with paint blending design throughout entire piece by Traceys Fancy

I applied the satin top coat with a roller to all surfaces.  

Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture with paint blending design throughout entire piece by Traceys Fancy

This piece is being gifted to my little sister!

Close Up of Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture with paint blending design throughout entire piece by Traceys Fancy

I am as excited to give this to her as she is to receive it! 

More Inspiration:

I pulled a few blogs from past projects that came to mind when working on this piece! I hope you can use them to draw inspiration for your upcoming project. Here are the additional designs for your inspiration:  

Click on any photo below for more up-close photos and all the design details


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Lily Pad Dresser: Large Decoupage Paper on Furniture by Traceys Fancy

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