Instant Upgrade – O’verlays

o'verlaysWhen we first moved to Germany and were faced with NO CLOSETS I knew we needed more storage space in the master bedroom, so I swapped our nightstands for dressers. I would have loved to buy some beautiful antiques dressers but I could not have giant piles of clothes on the floor until I found the perfect pair. I decide to go Ikea, I bought two, three drawer MALM chests in black-brown (about $80 ea,) But they are pretty plain so I decided they needed one of my own Upgraded Ikea suggestions, O’verlays! O’verlays are lightweight, decorative fretwork panels that come in several patterns and sizes. They are paintable and easily attach to furniture, mirrors, walls and glass. The are made to be compatible with popular IKEA pieces but they can also be custom ordered to fit anything you like up to a 4’x8’ panel! They instantly upgrade plain pieces and that is what I needed. So here is how it works:

This is how the O’verlay looks when it arrives.They are a lightweight  PVC about 1/8″ thick and are paint-able.I wanted mine to be white so I did not paint them but if you want to add color I recommend painting them with a spray paint like Kyrlon Fusion for plastic before you apply them.
Overlays 2The very first step is to look at your O’verlays ,before you paint them, and check for small burs that have been left when they were cut. The picture above illustrates this. Most of these are just residue and can be wiped off with a small brush or towel, If you have any that are larger or still attached a fine grit sandpaper will do. My O’verlays had very few but it is a good idea to check just in case. Once you glue them down or start painting you will have a hard time removing these.Overlays 3
Overlays 4My next step was to make a small template. Now this might not be necessary if you are only applying one or two O’verlays but I had six identical drawers so I figured it would save a lot of time. I simply cut a piece of card stock the width of the drawer face by the dimension I would need to space the O’verlay from the edge of the drawer. I also marked how far the O’verlay should be spaced from the top and bottom of the drawer face.  I made one for each end and with a little removable double stick adhesive attached them to each drawer before laying down the O’verlay. Perfect position every time, no measuring.
Overlays 5To adherer O’verlay apply an adhesive such as Liquid Nails adhesive to the back side. there are other options such as heavy duty double-sided adhesive tabs but this application is a bit more permanent, and holds up well. I also would recommend using an adhesive that dries clear that way if you have any goof ups they will be less obvious.
You don’t need to use a lot of adhesive, a thin line of it is plenty. These O’verlay are very light weight so you just need a good bond. If you over apply the adhesive the extra will seep out from under the O’verlay and make a big mess.
Overlays 6Overlays 7Using your template as a guide set O’verlay in your place and press firmly.  You may have a bit of adhesive that seeps out from under the O’verlay if this happens just use a damp paper towel to clean it off before the adhesive dries. If you are doing more than one O’verlay you will quickly find how much adhesive is too much.
On occasion you may have a spot on your O’verlay that has warped during shipping and does not want to lay flat. If this happens just apply a bit of painters tape to the problem area to hold it down until the adhesive dries.
Overlays 8Now, while the adhesive is still wet and you can make adjustments, is a good time to line up you design and make sure it looks straight and any seams match up. My project has three drawers that line up so I wanted to make sure nothing looked glaringly crooked.  Now you are done so set the project aside to dry overnight.
Overlays 9Hhmmm. What to do while I wait for the adhesive to dry. I guess now is a good time to go thru the mess that was in the drawers…

Overlays 10


From Blahhh to Ahhh! Now I must ponder some hardware for the drawer pulls, but that is another post…

If you want more details on how to use or order O’verlays they have a great Frequently Asked Question page on their website and also a gallery and an Overlays blog to give you some ideas of the many ways you can use them .Here are a few of my favorites:

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  1. beginninginthemiddleblog says:

    This is awesome!

  2. Love it, love it!! Thanks

  3. Ann says:

    Maggie – love this idea! They look fabulous (especially with the new pulls). Just curious, did you also add a piece of glass or plexi to the top of each dresser? I couldn’t tell exactly.

    • Hi Ann that is actually a glass top that Ikea makes to go with the Malm dresser(optional.) It comes in transparent grey or white and runs about $10 U.S. It is a great addition since these dressers are not solid wood. I always have a water glass next to the bed so it keep the top of the dresser from getting damaged from rings or spills. Here is the link…

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