DIY: Upcycle Ikea Moppe Drawers

Colourful Picasso inspired upcycled desk top drawers for sewing supplies

Is embroidery thread storage a problem in your creative space? I don't have a dedicated sewing studio so my floss is in an ottoman at the foot of my bed, in plastic takeaway boxes on my shelves, wound onto bobbins kept in plastic thread boxes, and they're even lining the bottom of my wardrobe. Needless to say, it's everywhere!

I wouldn't change it for a second but I've always longed for a beautiful DMC Collector's Box to keep some of them in. Those gorgeous, dark wood drawers make me sigh with pleasure whenever I see them but I already have tonnes of thread so to buy one seemed a bit extravagant.

I was casting my eyes around my room when they landed on my set of Ikea Moppe Drawers begging for a makeover. It was a BINGO! moment and in that instant I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own set of floss-filled drawers.

Ikea Moppe Drawers on shelfs with craft supplies
Photo Credit: Ikea, Moppe Drawers

My Moppe drawers have been passed down from Granny Val to Mum and from Mum to me but, even after all this time, Ikea still sell them so you can get your own set too! Both, Mum and Granny Val used them for sewing notions so it seemed fitting that I should too.

For a long time I fancied painting them with intricate patterns but I never got round to it and knew I probably wasn't ever going to so I stalled until I got chatting to my friend, and self-confessed decoupage addict, Victoria.

She was giving her own Moppe drawers a makeover and she encouraged me to do mine in the same way, with paint and decoupage! She assured me it's easy to achieve...even for a novice like me.

I choose my napkins for their bold colours and mix of geometric shape... it wasn't until I'd finished the project that I saw a lot of eyes looking back at me! It seems my Trend Report: Eye, Caramba! rubbed off on my design aesthetic.

There are so many napkin designs to choose from so you can let your creativity run wild and choose the design you love the most but if you like the ones I used a search for 'Picasso napkins' on eBay should bring them up.

Without further ado, let's get making!

Ikea Moppe Drawers or similar
2 napkins in a design of your choice
4 wooden toy blocks with an arch (I found mine in a thrift shop)
Paint - I used two tester pots of Valspar at B&Q in Ming Dynasty
Fine grade sandpaper
Something to line the drawer bottoms with (you can paint them, I lined mine with vinyl fabric, the kind used for table coverings)
Nail file
Card (optional)
Strong wood glue
Two cloths - one soft for polishing and one for cleaning
Paintbrushes - one for painting and a small one for decoupaging
Clear furniture wax
Clear PVA glue

1. Lightly sand all of the wood you plan to paint and the wooden blocks. Wipe everything down with a damp cloth to ensure there's no dust leftover from sanding. Glue a wooden play block onto each corner and wait for them to dry.

The bottom of moppe drawers with arched wooden toy blocks glued into each corner for feet

 2. Once dry, work caulk into the little gap between the wooden play blocks and the base of the drawers.

Glue wood toy arch blocks to bottom of desktop moppe drawers to make feet and caulk the gap

3. The feet on my drawers wobbled like Fred after a tipple so I cut some pieces of card and glued them into place and when I was happy with its stability, I caulked the edges to seal the layers of card to the bottom of the feet.

Use card and caulk to level up the feet if it wobbles

 4. Now it's time to paint! Remember to put down an old sheet to protect your painting area. The trick with this is to apply thin layers of paint, making brush strokes in the same direction. When the layer is completely dry, lightly sand to remove the ridges in the paintwork created by the brush, wipe over with a damp cloth and add another layer of paint. I did 4 coats in all.

Drawers painted with Valspar Paint in Ming Dynasty, drying outside

Fred the papier mache goat with a tape measure
Fred's Top Tip
Mushroom crates are excellent to use as drying racks for the drawers! Just pop them in, stack another crate on top for the next, etc. This was handy for me as it meant I could quickly and easily transport them from the garden to the garage to dry overnight without them taking up too much space.

Painted drawers drying in stacked up mushroom crates

5. Now it's the fun bit! Decoupage time! Protect your surface and cut your napkins slightly larger than your drawer fronts. Peel the top layer of the napkin away so you just have the layer with the design printed on. This may not make sense until you get your napkins, then you'll see they're 2 or 3ply and the layers or plies can be easily separated.

Make a 50/50 mix of clear PVA and water and apply a thin layer to the front of the drawer. Lay the cut piece of napkin over the glue and then lay a piece of clingfilm over the top of the napkin. Using your fingers, gently push out any creases in the napkin using the clingfilm as a barrier. The clingfilm stops the napkin from ripping and ensures a very smooth looking finish.

I let the glue dry overnight and then I added another layer of the glue mix to protect them from wear and tear. You can go in with the clingfilm again and smooth out any creases if you want to. Be careful though, you may rub too hard and remove some of the design. I like how this added some character but be wary if you're not after a distressed look.

Repeat this step for all of the drawer fronts. You'll need to cut two pieces and line them up for the bottom drawer. It's not as tricky as it sounds, I promise.

glued down decoupaged napkin on drawer front

6. Once the glue's dry, use a nail file to remove the excess napkin. Make sure you only file in one direction! That way you'll get a beautiful finish to the edges. If you move the file up and down you'll make a mess of the decoupage. 

File the excess paper from the edges of the drawer front with a nail file

7. Wax all of the paintwork with clear furniture wax using a soft cloth and buff. I did a few layers to create a good protective also makes the paintwork feel dreamy.

wax on wax off all of the paintwork on the drawers with a soft cloth to protect it from wear and tear

8. Cut and glue the vinyl to line the bottom of the drawers with, I used the PVA to stick the vinyl into place.

9. Fill with your favourite threads or trinkets...I think they'd be lovely for other craft supplies, make up or even jewellery too!

I hope you've enjoyed my furniture upcycle and that it's inspired you to have a go too! My needlepoint threads and ribbons have never been happier and it really is as easy as Victoria promised. I love seeing what you make, share photos of your creations by tagging me on Instagram with @bobbinandfred and #bobbinandfred or email me at bobbinandfred @ hotmail .com.

It's the perfect project for decoupage novices as it's super easy and reasonably quick to achieve.
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Have a super stitchy week,

Shannan, Bobbin and Fred xX

Fred the papier mache Goat kindly asking for social shares if you enjoyed this post


  1. Wow! Stunning!

    1. Thank you so much! Pleased you like them. If you give it a go, I'd love to see what you come up with :)


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