Stylish and practical: a chest of drawers with handles made from toy animals, perfect for children

A revamped chest of drawers in a children’s bedroom, surrounded by toys.
This chest of drawers is not only practical – it looks great, too.

  • Difficulty
  • Cost
    85-100 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Are you on the hunt for a stylish chest of drawers for your child’s bedroom? Well, it couldn’t be easier: here we show you how to transform a chest of drawers into the perfect piece of furniture. Use toy animals for the handles and paint the surfaces of the drawers with a blackboard paint. This way, you will be able to keep redecorating the chest of drawers in fresh new ways, and make your kid’s room more organised and stylish at the same time.

You need
  • pocket rule
  • g-clamps
  • paint brush
  • paint roller with tray
  • protective sheet
  • face mask
  • work gloves
  • disposable gloves
  • safety glasses
  • chest of drawers with four drawers
  • 2-in-1 paint/primer in the colour of your choice, e.g. dark green, around 400 ml
  • 1 tin of blackboard paint, 375 ml
  • 1 can of spray paint per drawer, in four shades of your choice
  • 4 toy animals (made from soft plastic or rubber), each around 10 cm long
  • 4 M6 screw inserts
  • furniture screws, (6 mm x 35 mm)
  • 2 screws plus suitable anchors, depending on wall type
  • chalk for decorating
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter
Step 1 8

Measure and drill the holes for the handles

Use a folding ruler and pencil to mark up the holes first.
Measure the drawer to find the middle and then mark up the hole for the handle

You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit: 6 mm, g-clamps, pocket rule, chest of drawers

The handles for the drawers should be positioned centrally and not too far up – the animals need some space or the drawers could get stuck. Measure the position first and mark it with a pencil. Then use the cordless combi drill and wood drill bit to make a hole in each drawer. Caution: the material may be relatively soft, so don’t press down too hard. Use screw clamps to fix the drawer to a table or work bench to prevent it from slipping.

Step 2 8

Carefully sand down the chest of drawers

The surface of a drawer is sanded down by hand with an abrasive sponge, using work gloves.
It’s best to sand it down using an abrasive sponge.

You need: abrasive sponge (medium grit), work gloves

Before you paint the furniture, you should carefully sand it down. Note: the veneer is not very thick, so an abrasive sponge is all you need for the job. You can sand down the holes with a bit more force on the interior side. Watch out for splinters of wood – you don’t want your child to hurt themselves.

Step 3 8

Paint the drawers with the blackboard paint

The front sides of the drawers are painted black with a paint roller
Apply the blackboard paint quickly, as it doesn’t take long to dry

You need: paint roller with tray, Blackboard paint

Paint the drawers with the blackboard paint. To do this, put some of the paint in the paint tray, dip the roller in it and then apply a good coat. Blackboard paint is fairly viscous and dries quickly – so you'll need to work speedily and, ideally, use small amounts of paint. You will probably need to apply two coats to completely cover the drawers. Let the paint dry in between coats. You can find more information about drying times on the tin.

Step 4 8

Paint the chest of drawers

Green paint is applied to the chest of drawers using a paint spray system.
Paint the chest of drawers by spraying across the panels horizontally

You need: Paint spray system, alternative: paint roller with tray, paint brush, work gloves, safety glasses, face mask, protective sheet, paint

Now fill the paint spray system with the paint/primer and apply it to the chest of drawers. Make sure you put on your work gloves, face mask and safety glasses before you start. To avoid getting the paint anywhere else, it’s important to cover the floor and, if necessary, surrounding furniture and walls. Use a paintbrush or the roller to paint the narrow sides of the chest, to avoid getting too much paint on the rails. Alternatively, you can cover these with masking tape before using the paint spray system on the wood. Allow the furniture to dry before applying a second coat.

Step 5 8

Drill holes in the toy animals for the screw inserts

A toy animal is fixed to a work bench for drilling.
Firmly fix the toy animal to a table or work bench before you start drilling
A cordless screwdriver is used to apply a screw insert to the animal, which is fixed to the bench with a screw clamp.
Use a cordless screwdriver to tighten the screw insert

You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit 10mm, Cordless screwdriver, g-clamps, toy animals, screw inserts

Whilst the paint is drying, you have time to prepare the handles for your chest of drawers. This is how it works: drill one hole in each animal and insert a screw insert. Then paint the animal in a colour of your choice so that it’s ready to screw on to the drawer later on.

First mark up where to drill the hole in the toy animal – ideally in the centre, and (of course) from underneath. Choose a place with lots of “meat” on it. Drill a hole approx. 1.5 cm deep in the animal (use a piece of masking tape to mark the depth on the drill), then insert the screw insert and tighten it. The hole and screw insert won’t be visible once you’ve attached the handles to the chest of the drawers.

Caution: the material that the animal is made from is probably softer than you think, so don’t apply too much pressure when drilling or screwing.

You can use the toy animals to design the chest of drawers the exact way your child wants it. Perhaps they're mad about dinosaurs? Then use toy dinosaurs for the handles instead. Or do they prefer sea animals? Then decorate your chest of drawers with fish, sharks and an octopus, and choose a blue paint. You can design the furniture however you want and give the bedroom its very own theme.
Step 6 8

Paint the toy animals

A toy bear and an antelope get a lick of paint.
Select a colour of your choice

You need: disposable gloves, protective sheet, spray paint

Once you’ve prepared the toy animals with the holes and screw inserts, you can paint them. You can spray them all the same colour, or in different ones. We decided to go with a specific colour pallet and painted the animals in electric blue, light blue, light green and, finally, bright green (from bottom to top). Of course, you can choose whichever colour scheme you like and put the animals in any order you want.

Step 7 8

Attach the toy animals to the drawers

A toy crocodile is attached to a drawer using a cordless screwdriver.
Screw the toy animals to the drawers so that they can function as handles
View of a chest of drawers from above, with green-coloured animals for handles.
You can now write or draw on the drawers using blackboard chalk

You need: Cordless screwdriver, chalk

Your very own, unique chest of drawers is almost ready. All that’s left to do now is attach your animal handles. Once the paint is dry, screw the animals onto the drawers. Once you’ve mounted the animals, put the drawers back in the chest and put it in position. If you want, you can even make a start on decorating the drawers with some chalk. Voilà: your stylish yet practical chest of drawers is finished!

Step 8 8

Fasten the chest of drawers to the wall for safety

A detection device is placed on a wall and lights up red
If the device light turns green, no ferrous or non-ferrous metals or electric cables have been detected.
A detection device is placed on a wall and lights up green.
If the light turns red, the device has detected a pipe, cable or other item – so you mustn’t drill in that spot!

You need: Detectors, Cordless combi drill, pocket rule, screws, wall anchors

To child-proof your chest of drawers, it’s best to attach it to the wall. First, measure and mark up where holes are needed on the chest of drawers, and then replicate this on the wall.

A detection device can help you make sure you’re not drilling into spots with metal or electric cables behind them. Simply move it across the wall, placing your other hand on the wall for grounding. Take off any rings or jewellery beforehand to avoid interfering with the device. If the light turns red or flashes red, you should avoid drilling in that spot. Once you’ve drilled your holes in the wall, mount the bracket on the furniture using two screws and the wall anchors.