How to makeover old brass drawer pulls to fun and colorful pulls using paper napkins and epoxy.
You may remember that last week I was in the midst of a painting marathon. One of the hand-me-down items that I transformed for my daughter last week was a dresser. It was in good shape, but she wanted it to be fresh and modern. I will post how I painted it in an upcoming post.
Now I want to show you the real star of the makeover – the brass drawer pull transformation. The old brass hardware worked perfectly, but just was not the style my daughter wanted.
They were originally classic brass Chippendale style pulls.
My daughter wanted something unique and different. I thought about just buying new pulls, but that would have been too costly. On a trip down Michaels clearance aisle I came upon these napkins and got an idea.
I have been wanting to try out the acrylic resin product, EnviroTex Lite and figured since the napkins would have to be totally protected if they were to successfully cover the pulls – napkin covered drawer pulls would be the perfect small project to try it out on.
They came out better than I imagined.
How to Make Over Brass Drawer Pulls with Paper Napkins
- Drawer pulls
- Napkins or gift wrap
- EnviroTex Lite Pour-On High Gloss Finish – sold at craft stores. It comes in many different size bottles. To cover the 14 pulls, I used less than 8 ounces of the product
- Spray adhesive
- Wood or foam blocks
- Optional; White spray paint
Figuring out how to cover the pulls took some trial and error, but I found these steps were the best way.
1. Clean and line up pulls to spray paint. Wedge a toothpick into one side of the handle so it stays up while you spray paint. I laid mine on a piece of dollar store foam board so I could spray them outside and then easily bring them inside to dry.
Note: since the napkins are very thin I decided to paint the pulls first as you could see the brass color through the napkins when the napkins were applied. Painting the pulls white removes the brass color cast as well as coordinates the color of the handle with the napkin. If you are using more opaque paper and like the brass handles – there is no need to paint the pulls first.
2. Let dry and then spray another light coat to make sure you have all sides of the handle covered. Let dry.
3. Lay the pull on the back of the paper napkin. Make sure the napkin design is centered on the drawer pull. If your napkin is two-ply remove the back piece so the napkin is only one thickness.
4. Cut two lines in the napkin. The width between the two ball joints that hold the handle was the width I used.
5. The cuts should fall along the inside of each ball joint. It does not have to be perfect. Lay the cut napkin over the pull to make sure you have a good fit and the design is centered.
6. Remove the napkin and lay it upside down on a drop cloth or work surface and spray the back very, very, lightly with spray adhesive. Let it dry so it is not super tacky. If you try to apply it to the pull right away – it is too hard to center without the napkin sticking to the pull in the wrong position. Wait about 10 minutes and then attach the napkin. Less glue and a little bit of tackiness is all that is needed.
7. Gently use your fingers to smooth the napkin over the front of the drawer pull, lining up the center and cuts around the handle. It is OK to cut the napkin to fit around the ball joints and overlap the napkin slightly to cover.
8. Cut slits into the excess napkin that surrounds the pull to make tabs that will fold over to the back of the pull. The cuts will stop right against the edge of the pull.
9. Fold over the tabs to the back of the pull and use your fingers to smooth. The tackiness from the spray glue will help it stick. If there an area is overlapping – try to smooth it out so that the back will still be flush when mounted on furniture.
10. Turn the pull over and smooth the front again with your fingers. If there are any areas that are not covered just cut a small piece of the napkin and apply glue to the back and lay it right over top of the napkin. Most imperfections will be lessened once you cover it with the EnviroTex Lite.
Once all the pulls are covered – it is time to apply the EnviroTex Lite.
-Each pull needs to be placed on a block so the EnviroTex Lite can run off it. I used foam, but some of it stuck to the back when the resin was dry and I needed sand paper to remove it. It was not hard to remove, but one extra step. Use little blocks of wood or wax/plastic wrap covered foam blocks so the pulls can easily be removed from the blocks when they are dry. ( Lyn – a reader left a comment saying that sugar cubes make perfect blocks to place the handles on – Thanks Lyn for that great tip)
-Place a toothpick into one or both of the ball joints so the handle will stay up. Make sure the toothpicks are angled up and not touching the sides of the pulls.
Important Note: When applying the EnviroTex Lite around the two ball joints that hold the handle – do it sparingly! Just add a thin layer so the area will look shiny– do not make it thick or it will go into the handle attachment and keep the handle from moving when it dries as well as fill in the screw hole on the back. I made this mistake on the first few I did. To keep the pull functioning –apply the resin thicker in the middle of the pull as it is self leveling and just make sure the area around the joint gets just a little bit to look shiny.
Since you have to work quickly with EnviroTex Lite, I don’t have any photos of the process. Basically you mix equal parts of the resin and hardener and mix it well – like you would cake batter –scraping the sides of the mixing container as you mix for 2 minutes. Then you pour it over the surface of the drawer pull. I started in the center of a pull and worked out to each side. It is amazing to watch the resin self level. If bubbles arise – gently exhale on them and they go away – like magic.
I made small amounts and then mixed more as I needed it. Once I had all the pulls covered I let them dry overnight. Place them in a quiet room and cover them with a big box to protect them while they dry. In the morning the resin was hard and shiny. It states in the directions that the resin should cure for a few days before using.
Follow the EnviroTex directions to the letter. It is not hard to use – READ and familiarize yourself with the process before jumping right in to ensure you have success. I had no problems and was thrilled at how easy it was to use once I understood the need to mix it well.