From Functional to Fabulous

I picked up these inexpensive plastic drawers at a big box store. They are super functional, but NOT super attractive, which is a problem since I intended to leave them out on the bathroom counter. I’m also not wild about being able to see my make up through the clear plastic drawers. And, yes, all the drawers are filled with makeup. What can I say…It takes a village.

Make-Up Storage Pre-Transformation

My first 2 attempts at jazzing up the plastic drawers went horribly wrong. My first thought was to simply line the front of the transparent drawers with left over craft paper. The problem was the front of the drawer curved in a way that made it challenging to get the paper to line up just right. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I got frustrated and gave up on this approach. My second thought was to spray paint the black container brown to better coordinate with the bathroom. Painting plastic can be a challenge and despite using a plastic primer it turned into a hot mess. It was so ugly I didn’t want to take a picture of it. Luckily the plastic drawers aren’t too expensive because I was back at the store buying another set that afternoon.

My third, and final idea, was to stencil the black plastic with a pattern and color that coordinated with a previous bathroom project I had done (HERE).  I used a stencil and craft paint from the earlier project and applied the stencil to the top and sides of both containers. This seemed to work much better.


Next I had to figure out what to do about the transparent drawers. I used the same craft paint I used for the stencil to hand paint the interior front of the drawers. It took a good 3 to 4 coats to get decent coverage that didn’t look terribly streaky when viewed from the front of the drawer.

Painting the inside of the drawers

After everything dried I used some nail polish remover on a Q-Tip to clean up the stray paint on the bottom of the drawer. Taping the drawer before painting it would’ve prevented having to clean up the messy paint, but sometimes I just like to wing it. The handles were popped back on the drawers and the drawers were put back in to reveal the the finished product.

Re-Assembled Make-Up Storage

Both sets of drawers, stacked back in the bathroom and all filled up. From Functional to Fabulous!

The Completed Project


75 thoughts on “From Functional to Fabulous

  1. Very cute idea! I really like how your drawings s turned out! You mentioned that you used craft paint. Could you give me the product infor on that? I’m not sure what craft paint is exactly. Thanks so much!

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  8. I have the same containers. I guess I should have read more first. I originally bought basic acrylic craft paint from the craft store, and it peeled off. I then sand papered it, and bought spray paint MEANT for plastic. It worked better and looked great but then after it all dried and after I went ahead and finished and bought 4 CANS it started to chip off. I REALLY like the look of these! and I have seriously… 6 bins like this (I’m in college haha) I have no idea where to go from here. The spray paint worked pretty well on the drawers, but I have white containers and wanted them to be black. The exterior is what is not staying well at all. Any suggestions could really help!
    I don’t want to spend any more money.. but I really want to do this right.

    Also, any suggestions on getting the spray paint that is just scraping off so I can repaint??


  9. Great job on making the plastic look better?
    Just want to add my 2 cents that kryplon for plastic works great. I actually did spray some plastic chairs last summer.

  10. Where did you get this? I want to make one like this for my makeup but I sang find one with the solid side like this one. I love this one you did!!

  11. What a brilliant idea! But I’m a lazy lady so I wonder if spray paint made for using on plastic would work? And, any chance the drawer handles could be swapped out for pretty ones? Thanks for sharing your creativity!

    • Thanks Victoria. I tried a spray paint primer made specifically for plastic but in this case it didn’t work for me. The handles did pop off but they didn’t seem to have a standard connection. I’m not sure there would be replacement handles that would be easy to find. But prettier handles would definitely be a great addition to the project.

  12. Has anyone thought or maybe done this with cloth?? maybe modge podge with fabric and if the knobs come off, could you possibly put a different kind of knob on there out of the cute knobs that are available now.. just thinking out loud.. your drawer project is so adorable.. love the look.. very classy.. glad you didn’t give up and came up with a winner… it seems we on this site all really like your creation… thanks for sharing… Phyllis

    • Phyllis, Thanks! I wanted to stay away from fabric since I was using this to hold make up and no matter how careful I am, I always get that mineral make up all over the place. Powder everywhere! I think Mod Podge and fabric would be a great idea. Using fabric would give you so many different design options.

  13. Hi! I love the way these came out and bought some of these ugly plastic containers not that long ago. I was wondering what paint you used. Thank you!

  14. So Ive been scrolling through here trying to figure out what kind of paint will adhere to the plastic well. What KIND of paint? (Craft paint is not a type of paint. its just an adjective.) do you know if its Tempera or acrylic, etc? They both seem like they will peel right off and Craft paint can be either. Craft paints have different finishes as well, which determines if they have primer in it. Martha stewart has like 12 different lines of “craft paint” as well…. Thank you so much for the info! ❤ how creative you are!

  15. I know it might be tedious, but do you think since the paint you used for the stencil stuck to the outside of the drawers then could you paint the whole outside with the paint? Just wondering before I get started on my drawers. 🙂

    • I suppose that might have worked. The paint is staying on where it was stenciled with a foam dabber, although I’m not sure how it would’ve worked if I painted it on with a brush. Might be worth a try for another project where plastic has to be painted.

  16. I tried this project today and……yeah craft paint and plastic do not work well together!!! It just peeled right off!!

  17. I love this idea, but am surprised that so many people have had such bad experiences with the spray paint for plastic. I used it on some old, faded planters about 10 years ago with no problems and still have them and they still look great (and yes they have been outside the whole time). Since the colors are somewhat limited, I often use it as a ‘primer’ for plastic pieces and then paint over it with inexpensive acrylic craft paint or regular spray paint in the color I want. As with any spray paint, it’s always important to work in several light coats as opposed to fewer heavy ones. I have several of these plastic drawers, which I use for storing jewelry making supplies and would love to make them all look a bit more cohesive in my craft room as well as something other than boring white, so I’m excited about the idea of painting them. Thanks for the idea! BTW, for those looking for them, I have purchased most all of mine at Wal-Mart recently (unfortunately in white only), but have also seen them at Fred’s, Dollar General and Family Dollar stores.

    • Lynn, I’m glad you had success with painting plastic. Is there a particular brand of plastic spray paint that you’ve had success with? Maybe I was just using the wrong brand. I have plastic chairs outside that are very faded and I’d love to be able to spray paint them but have held off after this bad experience.

      • Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, I just got back here and noticed your comment. I have used the Krylon Spray Paint specifically made for Plastic. I painted two separate planters to look completely different. One I base coated with a beige/grey color plastic paint and while the spray paint was still damp, I added veining, shading and splattering with various acrylic craft paint colors to mimic marble/stone. The other I base coated in a terra cotta and sponged on craft paint in white and green to look like and old mossy flower pot. They have faded a bit over the years from being in the sun, but the paint has never peeled. Hope this helps – let me know how it goes.

  18. This is so lovely! Would you happen to know the brand and color of the craft paint you used for the stencil and drawers?I have the exact same storage drawer in my bathroom and the color would literally match perfectly :]

    I was going to do scrapbook paper but will definitely be doing this, thank you so much!

  19. Bummer, ill have to check out bed bath and beyond, IKEA and just hunt them down lol. Not sure we have a store like the last one you mentioned. Is that the name of the store? Big box? Thank you for responding so quickly I appreciate it 🙂

  20. Jdd, you must have a cool target cause I looked online at my target and I didn’t fine any of them cute drawers and I’ve been looking everywhere for them specific drawers. 😦 There really cute, just cant find them 😦

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  22. What type of brush did you use to put the stencil on the container? And did you have to do more than one coat?

  23. Geez! And here I am thinking the really smart thing to do would be to buy something usable that you actually Like, in the first place instead of buying the item TWICE, and spending a whole lot of time, effort, AND supplies to make it into something you can tolerate.

    • Lynn, Yes, it would’ve been easier to find something I liked but unfortunately I was unable to find something suitable. It didn’t take much time to make, the process was fun, and I love the end result.

    • I used to feel this way, but often found that what I *liked* was well out of budget range while even trying twice on projects like this was quite within reach.
      And then I’ve learned something in the process, making my *next* project more likely to succeed on the first go.

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  25. Where did you get the stencil? That would match my bathroom perfectly! Now I have to stop at the craft store on my way home haha

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  27. These look wonderful! I love all of the ideas on your page! You are so very creative & inspiring. Out of curiosity, where did you get these containers? Most places I’ve looked only seem have clear stackable ones or really expensive black stackable ones or just not the right quantity of drawers. These are perfect for what I’d like to do. I don’t think I’m looking in the right spots. Lol. Thanks in advance & for all the great ideas! 🙂

    • It’s been a year since I completed this project and a small chip appeared in 1 drawer around 2 months ago. I didn’t think that was too bad considering I’m in and out of these drawers every day. I just went over the chipped spot with paint and it was good as new.

  28. I’m thinking the Krylon paint for plastics could work. I may do some of these for my craft room. Great idea

  29. Good idea! I’ve been looking for a way to make over drawers just like this! I too tried spray painting them and it was a hot mess! I’ve been thinking about using some mod podge and cute paper. I love the way yours turned out!

  30. I have a similar plastic organizer except it is clear plastic all around. What would you reccomend I use to make the outside black like yours is? I’m such a craft noob and I dont know what to do with it….Thanks

    • Plastic can be tricky to paint. I had another set of drawers that I tried to paint the outside of with spray paint made specifically for plastic and it was a complete disaster. I think I’d try using contact paper to cover the outside.

    • Thank You! The containers were already black with clear drawers when I bought them. I just painted the inside front of the clear drawers and added the stencil. The paint used was Martha Stewart craft paint.

  31. Love it! I also use the exact same ones but green for my makeup. And mine are slightly different shades of green. This idea makes tons of sense and will correct my problem with off- shades! Thanks!

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