Zebra print adds a fun, funky vibe to an otherwise boring dresser.

How to Paint a Dresser With Faux Zebra

by Kathy Adams

If you're tired of the look of a boring, bland dresser, or found one that's in dire need of a fresh makeover, why opt for the ordinary? Painting a zebra print gives that functional furnishing a new, funky style uncommon to typical store-bought pieces. For an added twist, paint the zebra stripes using colors other than black and white, such as pink and purple, yellow and green, or blue and orange.

Cover the work area with newspaper. Set the dresser atop the newspaper.

Clean the entire exterior of the dresser, including drawers, using a household cleaner and damp sponge. Allow to dry completely.

Sand the surface of the dresser, whether its made of plastic, laminate or wood, using a fine-grit sanding block. Sanding removes some of the sheen from the surface, which makes the primer stick better. Wipe the dust away with a tack cloth or dry rag.

Cover areas you don't wish to paint, such as drawer pulls, with painter's tape. Remove the pulls or knobs instead, if you like, by unscrewing them. Remove the dresser drawers and set them on the newspaper, drawer fronts facing up.

Pour some of the primer into a paint tray. Coat the entire dresser exterior and drawer fronts with primer, allowing it to dry completely. Apply a second coat if the original dresser color still shows through.

Open and stir the main paint color (white if doing a traditional zebra print) using a stir stick. Pour some of the paint into a fresh paint tray.

Paint the previously primed surfaces using the first paint color. Allow paint to dry completely.

Plot the zebra stripe design by drawing it on the dresser and drawer fronts with chalk; draw some angled, blobby lines, . This chalk drawing acts as a general guideline for the second paint color; it's not set in stone.

Open and stir the second paint color with a stir stick. Pour some of it into a paint tray.

Fill in the lines drawn with chalk to create a faux zebra print finish using your paintbrush. Use an artist's brush for fine details or if you have a hard time getting the outlines of the stripes to look the way you'd like. Allow paint to dry completely.

Apply a coat of polyurethane sealer to the dresser and painted drawer fronts using a foam brush. Wipe drips up with the brush as they occur, smoothing them back into the wet polyurethane. Allow to dry for several days or as recommended by the manufacturer before setting the drawers in place and using the dresser.

Items you will need

  • Household cleaner
  • Damp sponge
  • Newspaper
  • Fine-grit sanding block
  • Tack cloth or dry rag
  • Painter's tape
  • Latex primer
  • Paint trays
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint stir stick
  • Chalk
  • Artist's brush (optional)
  • Latex paint in two colors, such as black and white
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Foam brush


  • If painting a plastic surface, use a primer designed for plastic, as it will adhere much better than standard primer. Regular latex paint can be used after plastic primer dries.
  • Paint plain wooden knobs with a matching zebra print design, or paint the knobs of one row of drawers with the first color (white) followed by the second color (black) for a varied look.
  • Outline the stripes on the drawer fronts or top of the dresser with a glow-in-the-dark craft paint. This paint is hardly visible during the day, but will glow after dark.

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.

Photo Credits

  • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images