Embossing Furniture

Are you tired of boring furniture? Here’s a step by step tutorial for embossing furniture so you can transform your furniture and add some character to your home.

Get more painting techniques for furniture here!

Here’s what the chest of drawers looked like before.

vintage wooden chest of drawers with 4 drawers

We transformed this cute little chest into something much more magical.

Embossing is great for those drawers or parts of old furniture that are damaged because you can cover them up!

But it’s also a great way to turn your boring furniture into something that has so much character.

Aren’t these cute little chest of drawers just the cutest?

It’s definitely a petite little thing and would be adorable in a little girls room or even an entry way or in that small space that needs a little somethin’.

Supplies Used When Embossing Furniture

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How to Prepare Furniture for Paint

These cute old dressers have a ton of character because of how old they are.

Some of these were built over 100 years ago, when power tools weren’t a thing, so everything was done by hand, which creates so much character.

Some things need fixin’ to make it more sturdy and strong, and some things should be left alone to keep the piece true to its original beauty.. right??

When we brought it home, one corner of the top was broken off.

Luckily the corner piece was still attached with a nail, so we took off the top, glued the corner piece back to the main piece, and reattached the top to the dresser.

Then we reinforced the sides and even filled in a large gap on one side of the dresser with Bondo.

Learn more about How to Repair Damaged Furniture here.

side view of embossed drawers
closeup of the side of the chest of drawers with distressing

Then I prepped it like I do every single piece.

Learn exactly how to prepare furniture for paint here.

It’s really so important to make sure the furniture prepared for paint correctly or the paint might not stick.

How to Emboss Wood Furniture

Each drawer received the royal treatment with some fresh new embossing!

This step is soo easy but really creates so much detail and extra fun!

I wrote more about it here, on these Shabby Chic End Tables with Raised Stenciling I did. But the basic process is this.

I mixed equal parts of Country Chic Paint’s Texture Powder with Dark Roast Paint.

It should be about the consistency of peanut butter.

Then I grabbed the damask stencil and taped it smack dab in the center of a drawer.

I drug the flat edged tool, with a little bit of texture paste on the edge, across the stencil to fill in the stencil.

I made sure to keep it to a thin layer of texture everywhere.

Then I removed the stencil, and worked on the next drawer until all of the drawers had one section of embossing done.

Then I went back to the first drawer, lined the stencil up where it should be, and continued the pattern.

Here’s another makeover with embossing, The Navy Dresser with Textured Drawers.

Also, it’s always best to wash off the stencil right after use, so the texture and paint don’t dry onto it.

I let the texture on the drawers dry overnight before moving on.

other side of chest of drawers with distressing
closeup of damask embossed drawer

Primer for Painting Furniture

Because I was using a light color and because I had sanded down to the bare wood in some places, I went over everything with two coats of Stain Blocking Primer.

This stuff is really good at blocking bleedthrough stains that come through paint!

Let me tell ya, I have had my fair share of projects that I had completely finished, only to find that it is bleeding!

Sometimes the red, orange or brown spots don’t come through until you’ve sealed up the paint and are completely done.

Check out how to stop wood knots from bleeding through paint to learn more.

It sometimes doesn’t even show until a day or two AFTER I’m done.

So I’ve learned to protect myself against it, and I almost always prime my piece beforehand!

Even if I use a dark color. It still bleeds through sometimes! Not worth it!

Learn more about The Best Primer for Painting Furniture (and How to Choose the Right One)

I will say though, if I’m going to finish a piece in a dark color, I will usually stick to the clear shellac. Just because it is clear when it dries.

Then when I distress the chalk paint there isn’t any white showing between the wood and the finish.

closeup of crystal knob with embossing in the background

Grey Painted Chest of Drawers

Once the primer was dry, I painted 2 or 3 coats of this amazing grey chalk paint color called Sunday Tea.

Check out my list of the top chalk paint brands for your future furniture makeovers.

Distressing the Embossing

After all of the paint dried, I went over everything with 220 Grit Sandpaper and distressed it all up like no one’s business.

Learn more about the 6 best distressing furniture techniques here!

This is why I mixed Dark Roast with the Texture powder.

Dark Roast is a really nice deep brown that will show up almost the color of wood. So when you go to distress the texture, it looks like wood underneath. Booya!

Of course, I wiped all of the dust off the dresser, and then I sprayed on multiple coats of the best waterbased Polyurethane.

Learn more about Topcoats for Painting Furniture here!

And learn ALL of my tips and tricks on How to Spray Polyurethane here!

closeup of the crystal knob

And then to finish it up, I added glass knobs so the texture could be the star of the show.

And that’s that! This little cutie is all finished up!

grey painted chest of drawers with embossed drawers and crystal knobs

So now here’s the question.. would you add raised embossing to your dresser drawers? Let me know by commenting below!

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

full view of the embossed grey chest of drawers with text overlay

Embossing Furniture

embossed drawers on a chest of drawers

Don't just paint your furniture, give it an upgrade with embossed drawers. Embossing furniture is a great way to paint furniture with a completely new look.


  1. Prepare the furniture for paint by cleaning and scuff sanding.
  2. Spread a thin layer of mixed up texture powder over a stencil to create the embossing. Let dry overnight.
  3. Prime the furniture to block stains and help the paint stick to the furniture.
  4. Paint 2+ coats of paint onto the furniture. Let the paint dry.
  5. Distress the paint with 220 grit sandpaper. (Optional)
  6. Topcoat the chalk paint.
  7. Add new hardware.


Mix the texture powder with the color of paint you are using to create a solid embossed look.

Recommended Products

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More Grey Painted Furniture Ideas

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petite tall dresser before makeover


  1. LEAH MORRIS says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for all the ideas! I am going to try to replicate this dresser (how to add raised embossed on the light grey dresser) as my first makeover….and I am trying to find the stencil you used. The link doesn’t take me where I need to go for the stencil. Can you point me in the right direction?

    1. Hey Leah!
      This is the damask stencil I used, but it looks like it’s not available right now. Hopefully you can find something pretty similar! Best of luck!!

      1. LEAH MORRIS says:

        Thanks Natalie for the quick response. I found something similar that I love. I am trying to order the texture powder, but they don’t offer it anymore. Have you used any other product that worked well for you?

  2. Cheryl Atkinson says:

    Hi Natalie! I love this and next dresser I get I’m going to try this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Denise - Salvaged Inspirations says:

    I love the new look Natalie! 😍

  4. Diana Cosgrove says:

    Natalie this is such a pretty idea for me to try on my small pieces of furniture. I’m a newbie at this so if I master small projects I can feel more confident on a larger piece. I am inspired and I want to be added to your followers list! I have to buy the texture powder and the dark roast paint. Thank you for your directions… it makes trying new things easier!
    Diana (Massachusetts)

  5. Love this! Definitely will have to try this technique.

  6. A very nice fresh look 🙂
    The embossing adds such nice texture and detail, esp to a very simple piece.
    Thanks for your great detailed process description !!
    Very nice.

  7. Lane Reynolds says:

    I’ve read this post over and over and I think I might be ready to try embossing. Did you just mix the dark roast for embossing or did you use dark roast for the first coat of paint on the entire dresser?

    1. Awesome!!
      I just used it for embossing.

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