Kitchen Cabinet Quick-Fix: Fabric Decoupage

DIY Fabric Decoupage Cabinet

Design Emergency

My brother-in-law called with a 9-1-1 design emergency! His tenant just moved out, and he only had two weeks and $500 to freshen up the kitchen. He has plans down the line for a complete renovation of the entire studio, but until then I had to put my DIY skills to task.

NYC Studio Kitchen Before

NYC Studio Kitchen Before

The first line of attack was the cabinets. They are the typical melamine laminated cabinets you find in so many rental kitchens. Painting them was an option, but the bland kitchen was screaming for a more dramatic focal point.

Fabric Decoupage to the Rescue

Decoupage with fabric is an easy, affordable and durable option for kitchen cabinets. This cotton fabric from Ikea ($5.99/yd) was heavy enough for the job and has a retro vibe that fit with the rest of the space.

Cabinet Prep revised 0B13 - Kitchen Cabinet Quick-Fix: Fabric Decoupage

How-To Tips and Tricks

• If possible, remove cabinet doors from their hinges so you can work on them on a flat surface. I have also done this with cabinet doors attached so don’t worry. Protect the surface below because the glue can get messy.

• Lightly sand the surface of the laminated cabinets. No need to sweat this. You just want to roughen up the surface a little.

• Use a tack cloth and wipe off all of the dust.

• Paint one layer of primer to even out the base color and to give the glue extra grip. Depending on the fabric, the base color might show through so choose white or off-white. Let dry.

•  Cut your fabric slightly taller and wider than the cabinet door.  The extra salvage with allow for shrinkage when the fabric dries. You will trim the excess fabric when the Mod Podge dries.

• Brush a generous layer of Mod Podge onto the front surface of the cabinet door. Next, brush a generous layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the fabric. Place the glued side of the fabric down onto the cabinet door so the pattern is straight and is facing up.  Start smoothing out all of the air bubbles and excess glue. A damp sponge helps the final smoothing out process as well.  Let dry. Should only take about 20 minutes.

• Cut excess fabric from edges. This is easiest when the fabric is dry and a little stiff from the glue.

• For a smooth, professional finish, wet sand in between decoupaged layers using a super-fine steel wool. Take the steel wool and dip it in soapy water (water with a drop of dishwashing liquid) and lightly rub all over the decoupaged fabric layer. Wipe off water with a dry cloth.

• Repeat with one more layer of Mod Podge glue onto the fabric. Let dry and wet sand.

• When dry, brush on a layer of clear acrylic sealer. It will protect the cabinet fronts and make them water-resistant.

The total price for the project materials was $30. It does take a little sweat equity, but you will be happy with the durability of the cabinet finish.

Look There’s, More

If you love the look of decoupage to add a custom touch to your petite space, check out this chic project here.