Tutorial: Painting Furniture {using a projector}

So my friend brought us this serious clunker of a dresser. Solid, chunky and 80′s if I do say so myself. She wanted us to make it purrrty for her impending baby girl to use as a changing table in their nursery!


She had purchased this absolutely adorable bedding for the nursery, and wanted us to coordinate the crib sheet into our design for the changing table. Isn’t this bedding absurdly cute?


The dresser had some funky-weird engraved designs on a couple drawers that needed to be gone… like yesterday.


So after wood-puttying/sanding about 5 times, and lightly sanding the whole dresser and drawers, we primed with Kilz, and painted the whole thing a lovely shade of Krylon Peekaboo Blue. Easy enough, no?


Then, using a photograph of the crib sheet, I cropped it around one of the roses and printed the image blown up to 8.5 x 11, and then traced the flower onto a transparency via Sharpie! Do you see where I’m going with this?
P3102767 - Copy
You guessed it. With my handy overhead projector I blasted the flower image asymmetrically onto the dresser (similar to our very own changing table in our twin girls’ nursery!). When I had it just where I wanted it, I used a pencil to lightly trace! Or if you’re super-human, consider free-handing it and let me know how that works for ya!



Then I got busy painting, using simple Folk Art acrylic paints. Obviously the more complex your design, the more time-consuming and tedious things become. But the outcome is soooooo worth it! No creativity needed! ANYBODY can do this. All you need is a relatively steady hand!


The original hardware wasn’t altogether unfortunate, but it was just a little too… brass. Ain’t nothin’ a little sanding, priming and painting white wouldn’t fix! And whatdoyaknow? It looks amazing! I was worried we might need to hunt down some perfect hardware… but NO! Lucky break for sure.
rochelle's changing table
So there you have it! Check out our other projects that we’ve used the overhead projector for here.


  1. Beautiful, Beth! I love it!

  2. AMAZING! You are so talented!
    I have a couple questions for you-
    When you prime with Kilz do you brush it on or use the spray paint?
    After you paint your design with the acrylic paint, do you finish with a clear coat?

  3. I am pinning this … right now. Cool! Never thought of using a projector for this sort of thing. :)

  4. Impressive art,Your painting looks amazing and thanks for sharing such nice photographs of your paintings in my opinion you should apply non allergic and harmless paint for paintings,thanks.

  5. This is gorgeous! I don’t know how you find the time but kudos to you!

  6. I totally was inspired by this rose and did a dresser in monochromatic colors! You should check it out…thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Cassy, it looks AWESOME! Great job! i loooooove the soft monochromatic colots!

  8. Oh my gosh! I love this! So graphic and cool. This further confirms my desperate want for a projector!

  9. I am absolutely in love with this dresser! Gorgeous!

  10. Amy Kann says:

    Hi! Loved your changing table and it inspired me to try a project myself,I started painting my image but am just frustrated with the brush marks! GRRR I am useing regular latex low luster and an art brush, I fear I will have to sand it off and use craft paint?
    (re-trace, ugh)
    I really love your furniture make overs! Always pinning! Amy Kann

  11. Amy, sorry about that! I usually have to do 2-3 coats, if it makes you feel any better. And white is the HARDEST! With white, I usually do 2 coats of primer first just to save me from having to do a million coats of white paint. Send us pics when you’re done!

  12. Beth I can not tell you how much better I am feeling about this project now! Will keep at it with many coats! Thanks so much!

  13. can you tell me where you got your overhead projector? I used to borrow from the library,but smart boards have taken over.I have a small projector but overhead is the best.

  14. Hmmm, I always thought you could rent them from the library, but maybe not? I got mine from my church… they used to use it back in the day for projecting the words to songs. You could call around to some churches, or call a bunch of libraries and see if they’ll even SELL you theirs for cheap, since they’re upgrading and all. Also, occasionally I see them on craigslist… but not often. :(

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow… are blessed with a gift!

  16. Why does the dresser change colors before/during painting? First it’s the blue color, then when you’re painting the flowers etc on it (laying on your side) it seems like it’s gray. Was a second blue coat applied and not dry before you painted the flowers??


  17. First I want to start by saying that your blog is by far my favorite. I love that you have taken the hum-drum of furniture upcycling or refinishing and rocked it off the planet. I bought an overhead projector about a month ago at my favorite thrift store for $5. When I bought it I really didn’t have any plans for it (maybe project something on the wall and paint it, boring), but for $5 I just could not pass it up. And then I found your blog. Presto! I have so many ideas now I don’t know where to start. So thank you for your blog and keep up the goodd work.

    • What a great find! I have people asking me all the time where they fan buy or rent projectors… and they’re hard to find! And for $5? Wha?

      Thanks for all the sweet things you said too. We definitely have a blast with our furniture pieces, and hope that shows!

      PLEASE send us pics when you’ve finished a project! We love seeing what our readers come up with!

  18. Very Innovative!!! Thanks for Sharing…..

  19. You can put your transparency in a copier just like paper. No need to trace it with a Sharpie. Just get a clear design and copy onto the transparency!

  20. I finally found an overhead projector! I had to fork out $50 for it, but I’m thinking it’ll be worth it! Can you tell me what kind of transparency paper is best to use in a printer? I’m planning to order some, but don’t want to order the “wrong” kind, if that’s a possibility :) Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  21. Paint can make a that much noteworthy difference that we can’t even imagine. We can see that the above pictures and notice the difference..

  22. Anonymous says:

    What paint color is your wall that color looks good in any room!

  23. you just made my day with this tutorial

  24. Clearly I need an overhead projector! Amazing :)

  25. This is AMAZING!! LOVE it!

  26. hi , lov your blog. Quick question, after painiting the design with the acrylic pin , do we need to use anything to seal the design to prevent chipping n flaking ?

  27. hi , lov your blog. Quick question, after painiting the design with the acrylic pin , do we need to use anything to seal the design to prevent chipping n flaking ?

  28. did you use krylon peek a boo in gloss or satin? thanks!

  29. I’ve seen you work a LOT of magic, but I think this one takes the cake!! I can’t even count the # of times I’ve seen one of those dressers and been turned off by the “engraved flower”. I never thought to fill/paint the darned thing. My mind is blown by the difference.

    One question… you guys are always bringing in/shipping out furniture. Care to give us a peak at your method for moving those huge pieces? (other than your hulky man?). Also, what kind of system do you use for keeping up with parts/plans/paint for each project?

    • We usually just heave it into our van, and head home with the girlies. If it doesn’t fit in the van (on a RARE occasion) Nick will make a special trip in his pickup… but we prefer not to do that.

      As far as a system for keeping up with a supply list, we don’t really have a method! We did have a spreadsheet at one point, but we got lazy and quit using it. :)

  30. Elegant will useful for my furniture work..

  31. Your transformation pieces are absolutely stunning. I follow a bunch of blogs, but your projects blow me away! You are so talented. Thank you for sharing and showing the rest of us how we can attempt to achieve this awesomeness in our own homes!

  32. I just started painting my own furniture in my room. Was really bored and out of canvas with lots of paint and free time. I did it free hand and kinda like it, but need to do it like this. Much cleaner… Mine you can tell someone with zero training did it. It’s all done in acrylic so if I ever get tired of the design warm water and a rag or Mr. Clean- Ta-Da! Restart!

  33. Wow! Freehand? You’re braver than me for sure! I’m glad you went for it!

  34. Great work! I have a lot of acrylic paints that I’ve used for a variety of things, but for this they seemed a bit thin. I could see the color underneath in streaks when I was done. Do you have to do multiple coats?

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