Emboss Furniture with Stencils

Whether it’s embossed glass, paper, metal, or wood, I have always been intrigued by that design element. I love to create that effect in my artwork whenever possible. So it may not surprise you that I also emboss furniture too. It is so absolutely easy and only take a few basic materials. Let me show you what I did with this worn out jewelry armoire.

Vintage Jewelry Armoire Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The story behind this piece goes like this: I went to pick up an antique nightstand from a guy that I had just spoke with the night before. While on my way there with kids in tow, my oldest began to feel ill. I didn’t want to go back home and stand the guy up, so we headed over anyway with my oldest’s permission.

Turns out the guy sold the nightstand before I got there (me not happy at all), and he had a bunch of other stuff that he kept trying to sell me. He said that he and his wife “shabby chic” stuff and asked if I did the same. ummm… (wink, wink). Anyhoo, I was upset I wasted my time and didn’t want to come away empty-handed for my effort, so I bought this thing. meh.

Damaged Jewelry Armoire Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*affiliate links are included in this post so you can find the products I love to use too!

I wasn’t too keen on working on it because it looked like a whole lotta work, but thought I’d give it a try, and if I didn’t want it I knew one of my kids would like to have a crack at it.

To me, it looked like a blank slate and since I have yet to add a piece like this to my repertoire, so I thought I’d have a try. To get started, I removed all the damaged velour, and made repairs.

Prepping Jewelry Armoire for Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Then I primed like crazy with Kilz because this was a mahogany stain that would bleed through. Bleeding isn’t an issue if you’re using a deep dark paint, but I intended to go light on this one.

Once primed, I did two coats of my favorite Antique White by Behr using a Glidden Flat Paint. I’ve used this same color oodles of times, like on my chest of drawers and this dressing table and this French beauty.

Once the paint was dry, I hand-painted the drawer fronts to create some whimsy.

Hand-Painting Jewelry Armoire Drawers | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I decided to glaze the details using a homemade glaze I talk about here, so that it would add dimension. (See my diva cat, Lily, snoozing in her perpetual spot? I share about her on Instagram often. tsk. Silly cat.)

Glazing Carved Details of Jewelry Armoire | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

My original intent was to hand-paint a floral design to the front because to me it was like a canvas, but I really didn’t want to add any color. It just needed something, so I decided to emboss the front panel. Hint: You could also use embossed wallpaper like I did on this nightstand for a simple effect too.

Seriously, this method is so easy and creates oodles of texture – you must give it a try! Here is what you’ll need:

Supplies Needed for Embossing Furniture | Prodigal Pieces |www.prodigalpieces.com

I typically use spackling for a smooth finish, but when I went to work on my project I found my tub dried up. tsk. So, because I have been under-the-weather, I wasn’t about to go anywhere and used what I had on hand instead – a specialty finish by Martha Stewart. It’s a bit more grainy, but I like the effect too.

Let’s get started. Grab your stencil and tape it in place. (you could certainly do this before painting, but since this was last-minute, I did it on top) Get a nice chunk of spackling on your putty knife and smear it evenly across the stencil.

Putty Knife Full of Texture | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Applying Embossing to Furniture by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Carefully remove the stencil by rolling it back towards you and this is what you should see.

Removing Stencil from Embossing | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The best part is that if you mess up, just scrape it off, wipe the surface clean and try again.

For added dimension, I used a toothpick to create features in my embossing.

Adding Details to Embossed Design | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Since you will be needing your separate layers to dry before working on another element, I found it best to use a hair dryer to quicken the dry time to about 5 minutes.

Once all is dry, you can paint it and even glaze it as I did.

Embossed Bird Close-Up by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Ready to see it all? woot!

Embossed Birds & Berries Jewelry Armoire by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I am tickled with the outcome and am happy to say this thing is done! I even had an antique glass pull to add to it from my stash.

Close-up of Embossed Butterflies by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I replaced all the damaged velour with wallpaper, the same one I used on this sewing cabinet, and love the spring-like feel it has.

Refinished Jewelry Armoire with Wallpaper by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

And you have to love the numbered drawer fronts, right?

Open Numbered Jewelry Armoire Drawer Fronts by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

As much as this looks sweet in my master bedroom, I am adding it to my shop (SOLD!).

Vintage White Embossed Jewelry Armoire in Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I know that I will be using this method again to emboss furniture, so pin and share so you can find it again. ♥ And…you can certainly do this on most anything! Give it a try – you know you want to.

How to Emboss Furniture with Stencils by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Next week, my blogger friends and I will be sharing our Week 3 of Trash To Treasure Transformations Best of the Archives, so stay tuned!

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More furniture transformations for you:

Vintage Waterfall Dresser Gets Volkswagen Bus Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comOutdated Upholstered Chair gets Linen & Rose French Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • Jamie K

    WOW OH WOW OH WOW! That’s amazing! Love every thing about it!

    February 11, 2016 at 7:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      hee hee hee…you made me giggle! Thank you!

      February 11, 2016 at 7:15 am Reply
  • Debrashoppeno5

    It turned out so pretty.

    February 11, 2016 at 7:26 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Debra. I’m glad you think so.

      February 12, 2016 at 5:18 am Reply
  • Sherry Fram

    Love the embossing! Looks so pretty! Looks way better than before!

    February 11, 2016 at 7:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I just had to have a crack at it and am glad I did. Thank you, Sherry!

      February 12, 2016 at 5:18 am Reply
  • Shirley

    That is amazing!!!

    February 11, 2016 at 8:06 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m so happy you like it! Thank you.

      February 12, 2016 at 5:17 am Reply
  • Sharon Clements


    February 11, 2016 at 9:05 am Reply
  • Tracy

    That is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoy your blog. Makes me happy and smile.

    February 11, 2016 at 10:46 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Now that made my day, Tracy. Thank you!

      February 12, 2016 at 5:17 am Reply
  • Janie BV

    It turned out great. Thanks for sharing this method with us. I always love to see your finished pieces. You have great foresight to be able to see the beauty in some of the “before” pieces. I’m always amazed at what you do.

    February 11, 2016 at 10:50 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Janie! I have fun with what I do.

      February 12, 2016 at 5:17 am Reply
  • gwen

    would never have thought to use a stencil – that makes it actually ‘almost’ do-able for me! uest
    Question – do you EVER sleep?

    February 11, 2016 at 10:56 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome, Gwen! I hope you give it a try. 😀

      February 12, 2016 at 5:16 am Reply
  • Mary-the boondocks blog

    Wow, that was soooo pretty! This one is definitely going to Pinterest! You start out with lemons and end up with lemonade!

    February 11, 2016 at 11:14 am Reply
    • Larissa

      hahaha…good thing I like lemonade. 😉 Thank you, Mary!

      February 12, 2016 at 5:16 am Reply
  • Cathy Hensley

    I’ve done that on walls for a boarder, but never thought to try it on furniture!! Beautiful!!

    February 11, 2016 at 11:54 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It’s amazing how many ways it can be used, isn’t it? Thank you!

      February 12, 2016 at 5:15 am Reply
  • Jann Opgenorth

    It turned out just lovely 🙂

    February 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Jann. 🙂

      February 12, 2016 at 5:15 am Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista

    Your talents are endless Larissa! What was a stressful and unsuccessful trip turned out to be a blessing in disguise because this new piece added to your repertoire, is mahvelous dahling! I bought embossing supplies months ago and have been nervous about giving it a try…until now. Thanks for motivating me to give it a whirl.

    February 12, 2016 at 7:19 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You have to give it a go, Marie, you will love it! Yes, a weird trip ended well, but still wish I had gotten that nightstand instead. ha! 😀

      February 14, 2016 at 6:19 am Reply
  • barbara

    A most beautiful and delicate looking piece!

    I am wondering how fragile the spackling becomes when dry? Did you ‘set’ it with anything? And as the weather becomes drier do you think that the pattern will hold as made? Hate to be such a worry wart but this is is so beautiful .

    February 12, 2016 at 8:11 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you! Once coated with paint and even topcoat, it is pretty durable. You would have to pick at it to get off. Doesn’t hurt to ask! 😉

      February 14, 2016 at 6:18 am Reply
  • Kimm at Reinvented and RoadKill Rescue

    Gorgeous! I love the texture it adds!

    February 12, 2016 at 8:58 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Kimm! It is such an easy addition and I honestly could do it more often. 😉

      February 14, 2016 at 6:16 am Reply
  • [email protected]

    You are amazing Larissa!

    February 12, 2016 at 12:28 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You are too sweet, Kathy. Thank you so much!

      February 14, 2016 at 6:15 am Reply
  • Gail @Purple Hues and Me

    I’m visiting from Hometalk and your piece is absolutely beautiful! I have used DecoArt Dimensional Effects with a stencil on glass and love the results but never thought about using it on furniture. I’ve also tried spackling on cardboard but found it to crack after drying. Perhaps the cardboard soaked up the moisture allowing the spackling to crack. In any event, your work is beautiful and I love your creative talents!

    February 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      So happy to have you over to my blog. 😀 Yes, I would believe the cardboard aided in the cracking since it is pourous. Thank you so much for you kind words, Gail.

      February 16, 2016 at 6:06 am Reply
  • Diena Cameron

    This Jewelry chest has got to be one of the sweetest pieces i have seen in a blog. Just precious. I am just about to try my hand at doing something so similar but it’s weird, I’m a nervous wreck about starting it. ( : I don’t know what scares me so much about this process because it’s not like if you screw up , you have to throw the piece away. So one of these days i will get up the nerve, i sure hope it’s before I get to old to finish it ,lol. Well thanks so much for sharing your beautiful diy handy work, i can’t believe you sold it though ( :

    February 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much! No need to be nervous as this method is very forgiving. Give it a shot and you’ll be glad you did! BTW, if I kept every piece I work on (which is like 2-3 a week) I would have no where to stand! 😉

      February 16, 2016 at 6:03 am Reply
  • jeani

    Can you please share the paint and antiquing information that you used prior to stenciling. Thanks so much. Love this look

    February 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you. I have the paint color in my post, called Antique White, and give links to other pieces I’ve used it on. I also have a link in there how to do glazing like I did on my garage door. If you can’t find the info, just let me know. 😉

      February 16, 2016 at 6:02 am Reply
  • Chris

    Larissa this turned out just beautiful, I may have to try this technique on something soon!

    February 19, 2016 at 12:29 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Chris! I hope you do and show me when you’re done. 🙂

      February 23, 2016 at 10:20 am Reply
  • Dellsdailydish

    You are a magician! Beautiful!

    May 23, 2016 at 9:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Ha! I love it. Thank you for the commendation. 🙂

      May 24, 2016 at 5:49 am Reply
  • Christina League

    I love this project so much. I have a double door jewelry case that is just too Oriental looking for my bedroom decor so I am going to try this with mine.
    I adore all of your projects, you’ve inspired me to try so many things, and thanks to you my home is looking more and more farmhouse all the time.
    My husband loves it because there is actually less clutter, and I love it because it’s the look I have always wanted!
    Thank you!!!

    October 4, 2016 at 7:24 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Well, you just made my day, Christina. Thank you! 😀

      October 4, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply
  • Dona Pearce

    Just sat down to catch up on blogs and saw this jewelry armoire. Stunning! What a beautiful piece it is now. Someone is certainly enjoying it! Thank you for sharing such a neat idea and such a treasure!

    January 1, 2017 at 9:42 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      How fun! I’m happy to hear you are enjoying my work because I truly enjoy sharing. Thank you!

      January 2, 2017 at 10:46 am Reply
  • Sharon

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this! It is completely awesome. I have always wanted to do this with a stencil. I am definitely going to try it. Beautiful, beautiful piece!

    January 20, 2017 at 8:18 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      How fun to hear, Sharon! I hope you have fun.

      January 23, 2017 at 6:11 am Reply
  • Karen DiCarlo

    Beautiful…the bird is the perfect touch!!

    October 19, 2018 at 10:05 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Karen! 😀

      October 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm Reply

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