One of the items in Lexie’s new room that I needed to girlify was her dresser. As I mentioned earlier, painting it wasn’t an option. It’s a very nice dresser with simple lines and a pretty maple color, but it’s not at all girly. The biggest culprit was the drawer pulls.
Again, nice and simple. But not girly. Solid, yes. Even a bit masculine. So I immediately pegged them for replacement. My original plan was to raid thrift and antique stores, as well as home improvement stores, and get an eclectic collection of old and new, simple and ornate, plain and glittery knobs and pulls (since I could go with either a pull of the right dimensions or replace one pull with 2 knobs). But I couldn’t find anything I liked in my first couple attempts, and I had 11 pulls to replace.
It was etsy that gave me the inspiration needed. First, I found these adorable hand painted fairy drawer knobs that I fell in love with. I even looked, and I couldn’t find anything out there nearly as good. Even better, since it’s from an etsy shop, I was able to place a custom order that mixed it up with the 3 main colors in Lexie’s room: pink, purple and green. And they were absolutely beautiful when they arrived:
Of course, buying 22 of them would have been a bit too expensive (understandably, since they’re hand crafted). Fortunately, that extra searching I’d done had given me another inspiration. Lexie’s room wasn’t solely being decorated with fairies; I was also using butterflies and flowers. And there are some truly stunning butterfly and flower polymer clay canes out there at seriously affordable prices…so I was able to get a great variety.
The leaf canes and 3 butterfly canes came from the vanderveens; the purple rose on the right and dark blue rose on the bottom are from RoniGur; the purple rose on the left came from Tami Shvat; the turquoise rose in the middle from Lava Gifts; the light pink rose in the middle is from DicopeSupplies; and the bright pink rose on the bottom came from Ronit Golan.
I also bought some light pink polymer clay to cover the handles with, and some glitter…because what almost 4-year-old girl couldn’t use more glitter in her life?
If you’re wondering what those metal pieces are, they’re the blades from a deconstructed men’s razor. Helpful note to anyone who hasn’t used polymer clay canes before: you need a very thin and sharp blade to slice them, or you’re going to end up with a smashed and broken mess. Ask me how I know. There actually are tools out there sold for this, but none of my local stores had them, and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the tissue blades I ordered online. So I improvised.
The first thing I did was cover the drawer pulls with well-conditioned and nicely flattened pink clay. For the conditioning and flattening I opted for a pasta machine–I got one at Michael’s that was in the section with the polymer clay, and for the hassle it saved me, the less than $30 price tag was well worth it.
Once the pull was completely covered, I took some of the slices I’d cut from the various canes and placed them on the front of the pull.
I did one test first; since 3 of the drawer pulls were being replaced with knobs I had them to spare. From the test I decided it was best to trim away as much of the translucent clay that surrounded the flowers and butterflies as I could; even at a lower temperature it turned dark. I also learned that I could cut thicker slices and then flatten them out larger to make bigger flowers.
I had several bad cuts, where I didn’t get a complete slice, but I found I could fit those around other flowers to give more dimensionality to the piece. Once the front was well covered, I sprinkled sparkle liberally over the handle and pressed it in firmly.
The clay I used called for baking at 275 deg F, but I used 250 because of the translucent clay. The baking was easy; I just covered a cookie sheet with plain paper, but the handles on top, and baked for about 2 hours.
The handles came out just as I was hoping. They’re thick and chunky with an irregular, lumpy look, which is what I wanted–which might be a case of deciding in advance to be happy with what I was likely to get, considering my total lack of experience. But either way, I’m happy.
And I love them on the dresser.
When she outgrows these handles, all I have to do is replace them for a more grown up look. For now, though, she’s in love.