Vintage French Toile Commode DIY

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMLately I have been a little obsessed with vintage wallpaper, which I find preferable to work with on my projects rather than printed craft paper. Wallpaper is made from heavier stock which doesn’t tend to tear or buckle, many rolls are pre-pasted and they have a durable finish. Plus, you get a lot of paper on those rolls, which can be a bargain if you can get them cheaply enough.  The grandmother’s cupboard that I featured last week was papered with a vintage check kitchen wallpaper,

Vintage Cupboard Finished Filled with Milk Glassand this week’s Vintage French Toile Commode features a Waverly toile rooster scene wallpaper panel on the door.

Vintage Rooster Commode Wallpapered Door FinishedTrouble is, there aren’t any stores in my area that carry wallpaper in-stock any longer! Wallpaper in general is making a resurgence in home decor, but everything has to be ordered from those little sample books. But that takes days…and when I have that perfect finished piece in my head…I need that paper and I need it now!  The one wallpaper store in my town that had an entire second floor devoted to in-stock wallpaper, literally rows and rows of rolls and rolls…has recently closed : (  So when I started the search for another wallpaper source, I called around all of the paint and decorating shops in my town and the surrounding ones as well. Turns out, it’s not lucrative for shop owners to devote floor space to old wallpaper that they may or may not ever sell.  Until…I happened to be driving past the paint shop in town where I buy all of my Benjamin Moore paints and supplies. I am in there all the time, have looked at their wallpaper books, but never noticed any stacked rolls in the shop. But on a whim I stopped and asked if they did, indeed, have any old rolls hanging around and sure enough…I hit the mother-lode!!

Wallpaper on Furniture In Stock at Stylecraft SupplyThe upstairs room (that clearly is used primarily for storage) was filled with boxes of dusty old rolls of stripes and plaids and toiles and florals…just what I had been searching for. Like a kid in a candy store, I just couldn’t decide on which one to choose, so I bought 5… for $5 per single roll…such a bargain! And then went back a few days later and bought another french toile…but I saw quite a few more that I know I can use somehow…somewhere…sometime…so I’ll definitely be back!

Vintage Wallpaper SelectionThe French inspired yellow commode I finished yesterday while being snowed in was inspired by this Waverly golden yellow toile wallpaper.

French Toile Golden WallpaperThe commode was a dusty, paint-splattered, cracked and dinged old cream-colored painted piece that had seen better days,

Vintage Rooster Commode Beforebut it really just needed a face-lift rather than a full-on makeover. I cleaned it, lightly sanded, repaired and glued the drawers and door, then painted it with two coats of Benjamin Moore Saffron matte finish paint, then dry brushed in a cross pattern with a lighter creamy gold called Putnam Ivory. Dry-brushing just gives the wood color an extra dimension.

Wallpapered Furniture Dry Brushed panelOftentimes when Coach is pickin’ at estate sales, if he sees Ben Moore paint cans for sale he grabs them because he knows that is my paint of choice for our home. These two gallons probably cost a couple of dollars, but well worth the money spent!

Benjamin Moore Matte Finish Putname Ivory and SaffronFor the little door with the large crack in the center panel, I first spackled that to create a smooth bonding surface, then painted over it with the matte paint.

Wallpapered Door BeforeI measured, then cut the toile paper to feature the rooster and chick in the center. This paper was not prepasted, so I used Elmer’s Glue-All to affix it to the door panel.

Wallpapered Funriture Elmer's Glue AllPerfect! Until I went to install the door and realized I had glued the roosters on upside down!

Vintage Rooster Cupboard Wallpaper on Door Upside DownSome wallpapers, like the green check, don’t really have a direction, but these birds would look a little silly standing on their heads in a meadow…So I cut another piece and glued that over the first piece. FAIL.

Vintage Rooster Cupboard Wallpaper Buckled glueApparently paper doesn’t adhere well to paper, and the entire surface buckled. So, I scraped and peeled all of that off

Vintage Rooster Commode Removing Paste from Doorand recut and papered the roosters, this time right side up. A couple of hours of wasted time I’ll never get back…stupid birds. Today’s DIY Tip (I know, you want to take a tip from me, the person who pasted the roosters upside down?!) When you apply wallpaper to furniture or walls, sometimes the paper will bubble up in places and you need to smooth it down to ensure a good bond with the surface. You cannot use a trowel or hard tool because it will scrape and possibly tear the paper. A good trick is to use a roll of painters tape, rolling on its side to smooth out the ripples and bumps. It’s firm enough to allow pressure but won’t harm the surface of the paper.

Wallpaper installation rolling wrinkles with tapeFor the top surface, which I did not dry-brush in the lighter color, I used some of my Americana Paris stencils…

Stencil Secrets Americana Stencils…actually several different ones combined with a cafe and Patisserie theme in the center to create the subtle pattern I was going for,

Vintage Rooster Commode Stenciled French Topthen waxed the entire piece with Americana Creme Wax.

Americana Decor Creme Wax FinishThe wheels on this piece were broken, so I pulled them out and replaced them with modern day leveling slides.

Wallpapered Broken Wheel FeetYou just can’t find those old wheels anymore unless you take them off another piece of furniture or find them on Ebay for a small ransom. The vintage brass hardware was absolutely gorgeous…you just don’t see pieces with this amount of detail…

Wallpapered Furniture Brass Drawer Pull…but one of the drawer pulls was broken…so I replaced it with a similar one from my workshop…the shape is not the same but the style and patina still have that Parisian Flair. So there you have it: a Vintage French Toile Wallpapered Commode.

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMThanks to the Blizzard of 2015, and no work yesterday, another furniture restoration complete!  Hope you are having a safe and warm Wednesday, everyone! Susan



  1. Zaby @ Zaby's Perspective says:

    I am very impressed with your work


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