Holy Cow-hide! A dresser make-over.

Hooray! I might actually be ahead of a trend!
There was a fabulous collection of cowhide rugs show-cased at The Stories of A to Z. I don’t know that I want a whole (very expensive!) hide. However, I am glad I hung on to a dresser re-do from a while back. I did this project for an old cabin we had several years ago, but I liked it so much that I kept it even after we sold our cabin.

I’m using it as a buffet in our dining room.

cowhide, dresser, dresser re-do, rustic, craigslist, studded dresser

This dresser started out as a purple, aqua and white monstrosity. Someone tried their hand at sponge-painting. However, it was solid and was only $25 on craigslist.

I used a chemical paint stripper, scrapers and finally a wire brush to get the paint off. Since it was acrylic paint, it really wasn’t too bad.

Once all of the paint was off it was obvious the dresser had previously been stained a dark wood color. It looked old and rustic (perfect for a cabin), so I just rubbed a little wood polish onto it.

I scoured ebay looking for genuine cowhide. After a couple of weeks I had enough to do the drawer fronts.

cowhide, dresser, dresser re-do, rustic, real cowhide, studded dresser

Each of the drawer fronts had a raised rectangular panel. I cut the cowhide to size and then used regular old Goop/Gorilla Glue to adhere the hide to the wood. (I had been thinking that if I got tired of the cowhide, I could also do a similar treatment with burlap or some other fabric…)

I used nail-head upholstery trim on the edges. This was the fabulous trim that comes in a roll and you only need to nail in every 5th or 6th nail-head. Making sure the corners lined up well was a bit of a challenge, but otherwise it was very easy.

cowhide, dresser, dresser re-do, studded dresser

I like the texture it adds. I used the hole placement from the old knobs to poke a hole in the cowhide and add new ones.

cowhide, dresser, dresser re-do, studded dresser
cowhide, dresser, dresser re-do, rustic, studded dresser
subway art, family rules, orchid, champagne bucket, lamps, monogram, dresser, cowhide

This definitely falls under the “eclectic” category of home decor. I put all the things I like together… doesn’t matter the style, as long as it is pleasing to my eye. I’m sure I’m breaking all sorts of design rules, but I figure if I like it, then it works in my home.

cowhide, dresser, rustic, cowboy, western, dresser re-do, studded dresser

I’ve received a lot of questions about the orange subway art/family rules piece above the dresser.
Click HERE for the full tutorial.

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  1. says

    I remember this! It was fabulous!
    So. Let me get this straight though. You have a cabin and a house by the beach? And then just your regular house?? I’m coming to stay with you. Or in your cabin. Or whatever.

  2. says

    I love it! I know that the hubs would too. He has asked me in the past to get a cow hide from our friend who owns an animal reclamation business, but I just never knew if I was keen on one as a rug. This is AWESOME though.

  3. says

    Very Pottery Barn! (I consider that a compliment.)

    I’ve been catching up… Grant’s b-day post is so sweet!

    And I love the bird with the rhino toes. (The after bird of course).

  4. says

    It looks fantastic,amazing transformation! I love cowhide too and am doing my first project with it, a chair I want to post next week. Now I know what I can do with any scraps. I will be following to see more of your projects. You’ll have to take a look at my holy cow chair next week.

  5. says

    I LOVE this dresser! What a creative idea. My son (bachelor) is a rancher so I’m thinking about stealing your idea to do a dresser for him. Thanks for sharing it with us. Karen from NE

  6. says

    okay so glad I found you. I saw this on TT &J and almost died. I would have never in a billion years thought of putting cow hide on a dresser drawer but I am in LOVE. Rules were meant to be broken, girl! Great job!

    Penny Wenny

  7. says

    Stunning! Absolutely STUNNING! Gotta love that before picture..lol
    What a fabulous and inventive idea with the cowhide.
    Great work

  8. says

    Wow- that is unbelievably gorgeous!

    Followed your link from This and That!
    ~Rachel @ cookscleansplayswithpaper.blogspot.com

  9. says

    Now that is fabulous! Something totally original that I have never seen before. I absolutely love it! You better get some feature postings for this! Found you over at DIY by Design.

  10. says

    I love your project, it turned out splendidly!

    I am wondering if you can share where you got your brad roll from? I have an ottoman I’m re-doing and I can’t find those brad rolls anywhere, it’s become an obsession! I know years ago I picked some up at JoAnn’s, but they no longer carry that product. Grrr!

    Any info would be appreciated. And again, nice job on your dresser!

  11. says

    Oh my gosh. It’s official. I have a girl crush on you lol! This is AWESOME! And I love your name. In 8th grade french class we all had to give up our american names for french names and for an hour each day I was Vivienne ;P

  12. says

    oh my goodness gracious! Viv, I think you are a visionary. You spun gold out of hay with this transformation. That WAS a monstrosity to start with. The new look just rocks. Totally cowboy cool. LOVE it :) also, thank you for stopping by my blog and your very kind comment.

  13. says

    This has to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen! I LOVE the texture it adds!!! How much is cowhide off ebay? Seriously, I just think it’s so great!

  14. says

    I love your dresser. I can think of alot of places that I would love to have one in my home. Now I am going to have to add another project to my list. Not that I mind.

  15. says

    SO creative!! Thats awesome. I love hides and am desperate for one for my home too! Did you buy them in small pieces on ebay? Fantastic job lady!! <3

  16. says

    I don’t care what anyone says that dresser is so rock and roll it amazes me. I love the studs, I love the cowhide. It just rocks. The only thing that makes me sad is that I never thought of it. I am so into thinking out side of the box. I am glad we have that in common. You should come by and check out my tinfoil dress :) lol. It is in my archives.

    New follower by the way. Gonna go tool around your blog.
    Take care.

  17. says

    What a difference! What a great idea. I’ve been collecting cowhides and I have one large, not perfect, hide I bought just to use for things like this. Now all I need is to find an old dresser or buffet. Thanks for the great idea!

  18. says

    i think this is brilliant!!!! love the cowhide!!! but i have a question….does the wood splinter when you use gorilla glue and pull the fabric off???

    great job….

    hugs, cindy

  19. says

    Thank you for saving that horrifying dresser! It looks great now. I saw the nail finish around the drawer edges and thought, I don’t even want to try, but your explanation sounds doable. Great redo!

  20. says

    This piece is such an inspiration. It really shows that mixing styles can really work. I would have NEVER considered cow print in my home but I would take this piece any day. Pure perfection!!

  21. says

    O-M-G! I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog…I found you on A2D. I cannot believe you turned something so fugly into something so beautiful! I am in awe!!!! what a great piece! I’m your newest follower, btw! :)


  22. Anonymous says

    I LOVE your piece. Congratulations. Your comment (“I put all the things I like together… doesn’t matter the style, as long as it is pleasing to my eye”) inspired me to write because you echoed my feelings exactly. Who needs rigid design “rules”? Surround yourself with what you want to look at everyday. Enjoy your beautiful dresser! Susan L

  23. says

    Eclectic Awesome-ness!! I love it and I so need one in my master bedroom!! Thanks bunches for the inspiration and I’m voting for your project on Not JUST A Housewife!! :)

  24. says

    I love what you did with the dresser. I have the same style dresser, only I got it for $1.00 at a church auction….i took most of the paint off, but need to finish it after we move. (it’s my daughter’s dresser, age 13) I don’t think I want to use cow hide, lol, but love the idea of trimming the drawers with some sparkly “diamonds” instead. If you have any ideas for pics, that would be great!!!!

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