Aug 20, 2012

Mint Condition Part III - Just Another Ikea Lack Table Hack

Oh this table...

{For more information, please visit part I for the plan and part II for lessons learned}


As I mentioned previously, I learned quite a few lessons from this project. Throughout my recap, I'll make notes of the "newbie lessons" I learned so that you can avoid the hassel. You are very welcome.

I do want to express that despite all the frustrations and stupid mistakes, I had so much fun with this project. I really enjoyed coming home from the office with something to do other than a workout and mindless television. I don't care that this table ended up costing me just as much as nicer one from World Market, I really enjoyed sanding, priming, and painting away my evenings. 

Enough chatter. Let's see the photos already and the steps. [If this looks easy to you, feel free to scroll down and see the before and after. My feelings will not be hurt.]

1. Purchase supplies.

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  •  2 Ikea Lack Tables (each the same size)
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Liquid Nails
  • Primer brush (I just used #1 one since oil-based primer is difficult to clean and then I trashed it)
  • Paint brush
  • Primer and paint: Cover Stain Oil-Based Primer / Behr Premium Plus No VOC flat enamel
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Newbie Lesson: Paint finish is definitely a personal preference, but I wouldn't have gone with a flat enamel paint for furniture. I think next time I'll chose a semi-gloss.

After realizing that, I picked up:

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  • Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in Clear Gloss
  • Another brush 

Newbie Lesson: clean your brushes! I accidently let them sit over night while I engrossed myself in Downton Abbey (almost finished with Season 2!) and they were impossible to clean all dried up. I even tried the boiling vinegar trick and it didn't work at all. 

2. Sand.

I lightly sanded the top, bottom and table legs and wiped them off with a damp cloth. This was to ensure that the primer would stick (though that primer is kind of awesome and would have stuck anyways). Was just trying to be thorough.

3. Prime.

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I used the top of my old table, which was a dark, brownish-black color. Because of its dark color, I used two coats of primer, letting it dry at least 3 hours in between coats and lightly sanded the paint drips in between coats.

Newbie Lesson: you must use very thin layers of primer to avoid the drips and added texture of the primer. Thick globs are not pretty. Also, primer is a necessary evil. It's boring and you want to skip it and go straight to painting. But, primer made painting even more easy, so just do it.

Since the other table was already white, I just used one coat and it was more than enough.

4. Paint! The fun part. 

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But first things first. A lesson in drop cloths.

Newbie Lesson: Plastic drop cloths did not work for painting on the balcony. Wind would sweep underneath the balcony slats and it was super annoying (see photo below). So I switched to paper grocery bags. Also not recommended because the wet paint and grocery bags stuck together like glue. My little table has remnants of Trader Joe's bags on it that I cannot get off. Luckily, they are hidden underneath the table and you and I are the only ones who know about them.

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So back to painting...

Again, apply thin and even coats and don't overwork the paint.

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Oh and let's talk paint color while we are at it. I chose Behr's Tide Pools paint. Under the florescent lights of Home Depot it looked like the mint color I had been yearning for. Except, it wasn't. Don't get me wrong, it's a great color, but wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Newbie Lesson: Google your paint colors before purchasing and see what they look like in other's homes. I Google'd "Tide Pools" and saw that it looked very distinctly blue in other's homes (look at this adorable craft room in Tide Pools) and does in mine as well. Again, it's a pretty color, but I rushed in making the decision.

But back to painting. Two, very thin, coats were all it took and I let them dry two hours before applying a new one.

5. Add glossy-ness via a polycrylic coating.

This is kind of an extra step that I didn't think I'd need to take (if I had gotten a semi-gloss paint, I could have probably skipped it), but I love the Minwax poly and how glossy it made the paint.

In addition to the glossy-ness, it does add a layer of protection to your furniture. (Because, you know, ruining a $16 Ikea table would be a down-right shame, wouldn't it?)

6. Reassemble the table. 

Finally. Geesh.

After all the layers of primer, paint, and poly were good and dry (I let them sit overnight), I completed my little Ikea Hack by adding a bottom shelf (the other table top) and making a cube.

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To do this, I simply screwed in two legs to the top and two legs to the bottom (which was really the top of my old table), lined up the legs and used some liquid nails to adhere it all together.

Newbie Lesson: Your legs, the top and bottom will not line up perfectly, so consider it to be rustic and move on. It is, after all, only a 7.99, err, 16.00 table.

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And that is it. Sorry for all the thoroughness, but surely there have to be more new DIYers out there who are just as clueless as I am about this furniture painting and assembly stuff. This post is dedicated to you people.

Let's refresh.




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Well, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty impressed that I did this without hurting myself, someone else, or tossing the thing off the balcony. Came close though. 

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Sure, upon closer inspection, it's not perfect, but if you are in my bedroom checking out my side table, then I think you have other issues that are more important than paint drips, missed spots and paper grocery bag pieces.

I'd hope to switch out the photo frame on the table at some point and get a new lamp, but I do like how well the white Ikea box looks. It's pretty special to me as it holds all of our wedding memorabilia.

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Our bedroom still needs a lot of work, but I think this little change certainly helped matters.

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As for the final cost...let's just enjoy this new look for now and talk about that later. At least it's much cheaper than this version of the table from West Elm, which runs about $150.

parson side table cube

So I win.

Tell me about your first DIY project. What did you do? How did it turn out? Did you blow your budget, too? 


  1. How cute is your nightstand! I like the frosty sea foam color. Don't worry, once I finally tackle those door knobs, I'm sure I'll feel your pain. DIY support group, say what?

    1. Haha. Sign me up!

      Please blog about the doorknobs, okay? :)


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