How to apply a furniture transfer over Dixie Belle Silk paint

Like the look but not sure how to apply a furniture transfer? Rest assured, they are so easy to do and look amazing.

I’ve done quite a few pieces with furniture transfers. From chests of drawers to cabinets… and this one is the smallest yet.

But the thing they all have in common is that they look unique and interesting.

This post is a collaboration with some friends who have done their own magazine rack makeovers. Please also check out theirs at the bottom of the post and let me know which your favourite is.

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint for sponsoring this project.

This post may include affiliate links so you can easily find the products I love and use myself. If you purchase these products, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The magazine rack

This magazine rack was 75p from a charity shop. It was in a half-price sale as they were moving location and needed to get rid of stock.

So even though I didn’t have an initial plan for it, at the bargain price of 75p, it was coming home with me.

Charity shops were my bonus recommendation in my how to find free furniture post. Not free but in this case, very nearly!

The before photo of the magazine rack

My beforehand photos of the products I planned to use was 100% right this time, that might be a first!

I knew I wanted to do something interesting, especially as this is a collaboration with other upcyclers. So I chose to add a transfer for extra character.

If you’re wondering, this piece with a transfer is my favourite ever.

Products used

Prep for success

I started by cleaning the piece with White Lightning, diluted in warm water. I then sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper to take the shine off of the brown varnish finish.

It was quick to sand as I didn’t need to remove the colour, just give the piece enough texture for the paint to stick well to.

This bookshelf makeover is an example of when I sanded off all of the varnish, and it was pretty slow and painful!

This is the dust that was left after sanding. So I needed to clean again with White Lightning for the paint to stick to the actual wood rather than the dust.

Cleaning and sanding done, on to the fun bits…

Prime time

The dust after sanding

As I was changing the colour from dark to light, I used one coat of BOSS primer in gray, to help the transition.

If I didn’t use primer and went straight to painting, it’s likely that I would have needed more coats to cover the brown fully.

Applying the grey primer

I chose the warm white paint colour, Endless Shore, and needed two coats. I’m always impressed by the coverage of Silk paint. The last time I created a piece in white, I needed more than twice as many coats. Phew.

I used both a brush and a roller. The brush to get into the details on the spindles and a roller on the flat surfaces.

Rolling the white paint

The furniture transfer

The Retro Peacock transfer comes on three or four separate pages so I took my time to decide which parts I wanted to place where.

I knew I wanted the larger, more dramatic pieces on the ends and there were several to choose from.

There was also lots of feathers and pretty smaller details to choose between, to decorate the middle section.

Choosing which part of the transfer to apply where

I wasn’t initially going to dismantle the magazine rack to apply the furniture transfer. But eventually decided that the time I would save not doing so, might cost me more effort trying to get the pieces to sit well under the knobs.

The process of applying the transfer is very easy. After cutting the piece to size, I removed the white backing and laid the piece where I wanted it.

At this stage, the transfer is sticky so it’s important to get it in the right place. The transfer comes with a wooden ruler to burnish, or rub, the transfer onto the piece.

This takes a bit of time but is very straightforward. Unlike this chest of drawers where the transfer took me 6 hours to apply, this one took about 15 minutes.

Any sections where it didn’t attach perfectly, I lay the plastic back down and rubbed over the section again.

Burnish with a ruler to apply a furniture transfer

I then reassembled the magazine rack before applying transfers to the middle so that I had a better sense of the overall design.

While Silk paint doesn’t need a sealer, the transfer does for extra protection. I used Dixie Belle’s Clear Coat in flat which is matte, so didn’t distract from the transfers at all.

The finished piece

Quite the transformation, I think. Hopefully no longer a 75p magazine rack.

I was fortunate that the main peacock piece fits perfectly where I wanted it to go.

The finished piece with peacock transfer

And there were enough symmetrical pieces that I was able to do mirror images across the middle and inner ends.

I also like that whichever angle you view the piece from, there’s some transfer visible. If it’s straight on from the side then it’s only the subtle, symmetrical pieces at the top.

apply a furniture transfer To the finished piece

I considered adding the transfer to the knobs but think it was the right choice to leave them plain to break up the colour.

The colours are so bold and fun, a definite wow factor.

apply a furniture transfer - the finished piece

What do you think? Did this explanation make you confident in how to apply a furniture transfer? I’d love to know if you try it.

Please don’t forget to check out the other makeovers below and let me know which you like best.


If you liked this post, you might also enjoy this IKEA transfer makeover

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Sara
8 days ago

Stunning transformation with that transfer; love how this turned out Rachel!

Kim
Kim
8 days ago

This is just stunning Rachel. What a beautiful transfer and a beautiful makeover!

Lee Ann
8 days ago

Love this sweet makeover, thanks for the collaboration too 🙂

Tammy
8 days ago

Rachel, this project is so beautiful. I absolutely love the transfer you used for this project.

Cindy
8 days ago

Fantastic project. Love the transfer

Becky
8 days ago

What a beautiful and dramatic transformation! I love the way you added peeks of transfer throughout the project. It’s a perfect balance. Thank you so much for collaborating!

Elizabeth
8 days ago

IT looks beautiful! I love the transfer.

Lynne
8 days ago

What a beautiful project! The transfer is so pretty!

Corine
8 days ago

Wow that turned out just beautiful. Thanks for telling how to apply them I have always wanted to do one.

Karen Velinsky
8 days ago

What a beautiful transformation! You make it look so easy to do…

Niky
8 days ago

OMG, that turned out LOVELY! That transfer is so beautiful and I love how you wrapped it slightly over the edges too! I can’t wait to try some of the DB transfers myself!
Niky @ The House on Silverado

Christin
7 days ago

So cool! I love the pattern!

Paula@SweetPea
7 days ago

Wow! I love the transfer that you used on this piece. The end result is wonderful.

Donna
7 days ago

Hi Rachel! This is such a beautiful transformation! I love how you added accents on and around the handle! Love the bright colors! Donna

Kim
Kim
7 days ago

Wow! This is such a pretty transformation, Rachel! What a fun and colorful update to the magazine rack!

Kim
Kim
7 days ago

Love the transfer on this piece. Nice job!

Stacey
Stacey
6 days ago

I just love the way this turned out! It’s so beautiful and that peacock is really fun!

Linda Johnston
4 days ago

A beautiful change! Great job!

Diane
3 days ago

Wow Rachel, that is stunning! I have never used a transfer, but you may have just convinced me to give it a try. Thanks

Jayne @ Chalking Up Success

Wow! 75p what a bargain! I paid €15 for my wooden coffee table and it was almost the same colour as your magazine rack before I upcycled it! The peacock transfer you used is gorgeous!