IKEA hack: easy ‘paint-dipped’ CYLINDER vases

The CYLINDER three vase set is easily one of IKEA‘s best home decor buys. I absolutely love the way it looks with all three vases stacked inside the others, as shown below.

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CYLINDER Vase, set of three. Photo: IKEA.

I’ve always wanted to incorporate the above formation of the CYLINDER vases in our home, but until this week, I wasn’t exactly sure where I would put them. After realizing that the gold-accented KASSETT boxes I used for the desk shelves in our guest bedroom didn’t fit exactly as I had hoped, I was left with a rather sizable empty space on the top shelf. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to utilize the CYLINDER vases.

I had always wanted to use the SMYCKA artificial orchids with the CYLINDER vase set (they’re the perfect size), but I had reservations about the flowers as they didn’t look too great in person. This wasn’t much of a surprise as they are from IKEA and they are fake, but I initially blew them off as I feared they looked too much like faux flowers.
SMYCKA Artificial flower IKEA Lifelike artificial flower that remain just as fresh-looking and beautiful year after year.

SMYCKA Artificial orchid flowers. Photo: IKEA.

Since I now planned to use the flowers up high (where no one could closely examine them), they were perfect for what I needed.

The only problem I had now was that I wanted to add some interest to the vases, and found a way to do so while also hiding their ugly fake stems. I decided to “dip-dye” them, which actually meant I would use painter’s tape and spray paint the bottom portion (trust me, this is much easier and the results are the exact same).

The room is rather beach/nautical-themed so I decided the best color for me was a periwinkle blue, although you can choose to use any color you likeI personally love the combination of shiny glass and satin, flat or matte paint (as opposed to gloss paint), so I made sure to use ‘Satin Touch’ spray paint for my project.

WHAT YOU NEED

CYLINDER vases, set of three from IKEA ($14.99)
― spray paint (I used Krylon ‘Satin Touch’ Decorator Spray Paint in Periwinkle – $7)
― thin painter’s tape (I used 3M Scotch 1/8-inch Curves Tape – $5)
― regular painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue .94-inch Painter’s Tape – $5)
― plastic wrap
― drop cloth or newspaper
― rubber band (I actually used a hair tie)
― measuring tape

STEP 1

Take the widest, shortest vase in the CYLINDER set and put your rubber band around it, placing slightly higher than you want your vase ‘dipped.’

STEP 2

Use the measuring tape to measure the distance between the rubber band and the top of the vase. Go around the vase and make sure the rubber band is at the exact right distance from the top, ensuring an even line.

STEP 3

Apply the thin painter’s tape directly underneath the rubber band, making sure not to move it in any way (otherwise you’ll have an uneven line).

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STEP 4

Now that you’ve aligned the painter’s tape with the rubber band, cut enough plastic wrap to go around the portion of the vase you do not want painted. Align a strip of the regular painter’s tape along the bottom of the plastic wrap sheet. Tape the plastic wrap directly on top of the thin painter’s tape (make sure the wrap goes all the way around or you’ll have problems) and put the excess wrap into the vase.

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STEP 5

Before the big spray-painting moment, make sure you shake your can exactly as directed. Skipping this step and not shaking your paint enough can completely ruin a project.

Also make sure you spread out newspaper or a drop cloth on the ground where you plan to use the spray paint. I recommend at least a 3-foot by 3-foot covering, even for a small vase.

STEP 6

With your vase upside-down, use the spray paint on the uncovered portion of your vase. Make sure you spray it from a distance of at least 10 inches or you will end up with drip spots (these are a huge pain to fix, so be sure to follow the directions on the can).

If you need to apply several coats (I did), wait a few minutes between each one.

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STEP 7

Wait at least 5 hours for the paint to dry before you remove the tape and cover from the vase. Be very careful when you peel the tape as you can accidentally cause paint to flake off in the process, leading to an uneven paint line.

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Overall, I thought this DIY project was quite easy and my vase turned out exactly as I wanted. Although I’ve never tried the dipping-objects-directly-into-paint method, I can’t imagine it’s quite as simple or foolproof. If you are looking for a different color or sheen, I think matte white paint would look fabulous against the shine of these beautiful vases.

I came up empty when looking for the flowers I wanted from IKEA, but ended up buying some pretty nifty pink ‘flowers’ (made of dried leaves) as a temporary alternative. I actually love the ‘flowers’ but they don’t exactly work with this vase, so I’m hoping to return and find my faux-orchids this week.

IKEA hack: gold and marble VITTSJÖ nesting tables

Although I’ve acquired almost everything I need for our guest/cat room, I still felt like the space was missing something. After a bit of thinking (and measuring and floor-planning), I finally decided the room desperately needed a coffee table to fill the large space in the center of the room.

I had found an incredible hack on The Hunted Interior a few months back and it’s had me lusting after the VITTSJÖ nesting tables from IKEA.
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VITTSJÖ Nesting Tables. Photo: IKEA.

As I had already used gold spray paint and marble contact paper to upgrade a C-table from Coaster (very similar to IKEA’s VITTSJÖ Laptop table) for the guest room, I had all the supplies I needed to do the same with the nesting tables.

I set off to paint the metal portion in gold and use marble contact paper on the lower shelf (leaving the top glass shelves clear).

WHAT YOU NEED

― VITTSJÖ Nesting tables from IKEA ($59.99)
― gold spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint – $11 a can)
― marble contact paper (I used Con-Tact Self-Adhesive Shelf Liner in Marble White – $6 for a 18 inch by 9 foot sheet)
― drop cloth (I used Warp Bros. Super Heavy-Duty Drop Cloth – $10)

STEP 1

Build the nesting tables according to IKEA’s instructions, except you will keep the top glass shelves and bottom shelf insert separate. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes.

STEP 2

Spread out your drop cloth (outdoors is best to help you avoid breathing paint fumes) and gently wipe down the tables with a damp paper towel.

STEP 3

Before using your spray paint, make sure you follow the directions on the can and shake it very well. This is important.

STEP 4

Use the spray paint to fully coat your tables. Make sure you spray from a distance of around 10 inches to ensure smooth application.

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STEP 5

While waiting for your tables to dry, trace the shelf on your contact paper and add 1/2 inch (larger than the actual shelf) on each side. Cut the contact paper according to your measurements. You will cut out a small square at each corner so that you can fold the contact paper around the shelf edge.

STEP 6

Remove the backing from the contact paper. Start by aligning the inside corner of the cut-out squares with the very tip of the corners on one short side of the bottom shelf. Use a ruler or straight-edge to steadily push out bubbles during application. Carefully fold the remaining short edges of the contact paper around each side of the shelf.

STEP 7

Once the paint on your tables is completely dry (wait at least 8 hours), complete the piece by installing the top glass shelves and bottom “marble” shelf according to IKEA’s instructions.

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The large empty space in the center of our guest room is truly the ideal location for these tables and they really help tie the room together. They are actually the perfect accompaniment to the C-shaped side table next to our daybed (which is also painted gold with a faux-marble contact paper covering on top) as well as the numerous gold-accented pieces around the room.

I bought an adorable marble tic-tac-toe set ($29.95) from Crate & Barrel to adorn the smaller table top (I’ll update the photo when it arrives). A petite potted faux-plant (FEJKA Artificial potted plant, $3.99, in a KARDEMUMMA Plant pot, $1.49) and several books, including Damien Hirst by Ann Gallagher, The Portable Magritte by Robert Hughes and The Photography Book, were just perfect for completing the lower shelf.

I may ultimately redecorate these tables, but for now, I think they look pretty good, especially considering they’re in the cat/guest room that few people ever go in to.

IKEA hack: gold-accented KASSETT storage boxes

IKEA’s KASSETT boxes are simply incredible for people with limited storage space as is the case in our home. The boxes are available in black and white, come in four sizes ― ranging from quite large (13″ x 15″ x 11 3/4″) to rather small (6 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ x 6″) ― and feature lovely metallic hardware. Oh, did I forget to mention that they are insanely cheap, too? They range from $3.99 to $9.99 for a set of two boxes.

I first fell in love with these boxes when we used four of the large ones (stacked two and two) to organize our enormous collection of DVDs. After some reconfiguring, we decided to house two of them in a small KALLAX shelving unit as they fit the unit perfectly.

In my seemingly endless pursuit to decorate our guest room, I realized that the medium KASSETT boxes ($6.99 for two) were the right size to fill a rather awkward shelving space we have above a built-in desk. I wasn’t initially sure the boxes would fit but the second-largest box size features the ability to turn the box either way (with the long-side or short-side facing out) as the hardware fits either side.

KASSETT Box with lid IKEA Perfect for newspapers, photos or other memorabilia.
KASSETT Boxes with lids. Photo: IKEA.

The only problem I had with the boxes (in terms of making them match the room) was that the silver hardware clashed as the metallic accent color in our guest room is gold. Since I was planning to use 12 of these boxes together, I realized that I would have to find a way to make the hardware gold. After a bit of thought, I figured it would be easiest to use gold spray paint on the separate box-front hardware and just use a gold Sharpie to color in the hardware on the pre-assembled tops.

To make sure the top hardware was colored in as cleanly as possible, I decided to use painter’s tape to keep myself from inevitably messing up.

Since I was dealing with 12 boxes, I decided to only fill in the accents on the box tops portions which were exposed (even I couldn’t even rationalize why I’d need to do every side).

WHAT YOU NEED

KASSETT box with lid from IKEA (sets of two – $3.99 to $9.99)
Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers (set of two – $2.50)
― painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue .94-inch Painter’s Tape – $5)
Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint in gold ($12)
― drop cloth or newspaper

STEP 1

Start by spreading out a drop cloth or newspaper in your work area (outdoors would be best). Shake your spray paint according to the directions (this is important) and arrange the unattached front hardware pieces on your covered area.

STEP 2

Use the spray paint to fully coat the hardware. Make sure you spray paint both sides to assure complete coverage.

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(I forgot to take a photo of the original 10 I painted at once!)

STEP 3

Get out your painter’s tape and align it so that only the metallic box top edge is exposed. Depending on where and how you’re using your box, you may only need to color in one or two sides (whichever sides are exposed).

STEP 4

Color in the hardware using a metallic Sharpie.

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STEP 5

Proceed by following IKEA’s instructions, first inserting the newly-painted hardware (which should dry for at least 2 hours), and construct the bottom portions of the KASSETT boxes. (Note: Each box bottom takes only a few minutes to construct.)

STEP 6

Remove the painter’s tape very slowly or you risk the possibility of tearing the paper coating on the box tops.

STEP 7

Add the box tops to the bottom and voila ― you have new beautifully accented boxes!

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Although I had hoped to fit four boxes across on the top shelf, I found that although the box bottoms would fit, they did not when the tops were added. I’m going to find a better way to decorate the empty spaces on these shelves (I’m thinking of putting a vase with faux-flowers in the upper empty space). I still need one more box to fully complete the shelves, but I’m very pleased with how the boxes turned out!

IKEA hack: RAST three-drawer chest

After a few months of work (and a number of paychecks), I’m finally almost finished decorating the guest/cat room. In fact, we’re almost finished getting all the stuff we want from IKEA (it’s a lot of stuff) and I kind of can’t believe it.

One of the guest room pieces that really had me stumped was a TV unit (or similar) that would fit a 24-inch television in a 31-inch space. It seemed clear to me that finding an attractive, affordable option for a piece that would accommodate my needs would be a challenge. Thankfully, with my extensive (and rather useless) knowledge of IKEA products, as well as some online research, I managed to figure something out.

The $35 RAST three-drawer chest, constructed of unfinished pine, grabbed my attention as it is exactly the right size, and even features storage (a rare commodity in our home). After seeing a few incredible DIY projects that transformed the piece into such beautiful chests (so much so that it was basically unrecognizable), I decided the RAST was the one for me.

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RAST three-drawer chest. Photo: IKEA.

I wanted to paint the drawer fronts with gloss white paint as white as the room’s unifying color. I used spray paint to add gold highlights to a few pieces in the room so I wanted the chest to have gold knobs, too. I found the ATTEST knobs from IKEA that have a simplistic, modern vibe. I figured I could use the gold spray paint I already had for those since I’d had such great results with it before. After a bit of flip-flopping, I ultimately decided I wanted to leave the outside of the chest in its natural pine color. I though it would help add a bit of interest in a mostly white room and also fit nicely with the room’s beachy theme.

WHAT YOU NEED

RAST three-drawer chest from IKEA ($34.99)
― white paint (I used Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint in gloss white – $16 for a 32-ounce can)
― foam paintbrush (I used a set of 1-, 2- and 3-inch foam brushes – $4)
― paint tray (I used Wooster Deluxe Metal Paint Tray – $4)
― drop cloth (I used Warp Bros. Super Heavy-Duty Drop Cloth – $10)
― 3 sets of ATTEST knobs from IKEA ($15 total)
― gold spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint – $11 a can)

(NOTE: Although the total project cost is $153, many of these items can be re-used for other DIY projects, especially the paint, paint trays, drop cloth and brushes. Also, $50 is simply the raw materials of the chest and knobs.)

STEP 1

Build the RAST chest according to IKEA’s instructions but exclude the knobs and do not use the plastic nails to hold the drawers in the chest. It took me about 30 minutes to build mine.

STEP 2

Lay down your drop cloth. Prepare the piece for painting by wiping down the constructed RAST chest pieces (especially the drawer front edges) to make sure there are no loose splinters or wood shards. I simply wiped mine down with a wet paper towel and it seemed to do the trick.

STEP 3

Prepare your paint trays with appropriate amounts of white paint in the paint tray.

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STEP 4

Use a foam paintbrush to paint the fronts of each drawer in white paint. Wait at least 5 minutes between each coat to prevent the paint from gumming up. It took me about 3-4 coats for full coverage, except for a few knots in the wood which I had to re-cover several times.

If you find yourself having trouble with with difficult-to-cover knots, just be patient and make sure you wait a while before your put up your supplies in case it sucks up the paint (this was very frustrating).

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STEP 5

While waiting for the RAST drawer fronts to dry, use the gold spray paint to cover the six ATTEST knobs (I applied two coats). If you’re laying them on paper (as I did since I was on our horribly uneven patio), roll the knob around after allowing it to dry for 10 minutes to make sure you cover the entire surface evenly. They should be dry to the touch within 30 minutes (if you need to move them immediately) and fully dry around 4 hours.

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STEP 6

Follow the directions on your paint as to how long the drawer fronts need to dry (the enamel paint I used was completely set after letting it dry overnight, approximately 9 hours).

STEP 7

Assemble the piece by adding the gold-painted ATTEST knobs to the white drawers, then install the drawers into the chest following IKEA’s instructions.

STEP 8

Admire the results of your hard work!

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I really couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out (with quite little work, I might add). I love the look of the gloss enamel paint on the drawer fronts and it came out much shinier than I expected (it’s pretty hard to see in the photo, though). With our awkward little space finally filled (and with a bunch of other stuff I picked up on my last trip to IKEA), I’m nearly finished decorating our guest room. It’s probably the most IKEA-centric room in our home, but I clearly have no problem with that.

‘Swig’ Mini Bar from CB2 ($399) vs. BESTÅ Cabinet from IKEA ($120)

I’ve pined after CB2‘s gorgeous white ‘Swig’ mini bar for at least three years. The stunning minimalist design combined with the functionality of much-needed storage space made it a real winner. Unfortunately for me, this dreamy piece of furniture is priced at nearly $400.

The size and color of the ‘Swig’ mini bar fit perfectly with our decor and would help fill an awkward empty space between the living and dining rooms that I’ve always wanted to fill with a small bar unit. I was so smitten that at first I felt like we could just save up to buy the mini bar, regardless of the significant expense (especially in relation to our other furniture costs).


White ‘Swig’ Mini Bar. Photo: CB2.

Ultimately, after realizing I could use the mini bar funds to help pay for our guest room (AKA what we laughably call “the cat room,” which needs a lot of furniture), I decided I needed to find an alternative.

At first I settled on transforming IKEA‘s KALLAX shelving unit (or EXPEDIT, depending on the model you have) into a bar console by turning it sideways and adding the 4 3/8″ CAPITA legs, just like blogger Alaina Kaczmarzki of Live Creating Yourself. The only materials you need to buy for this project are the bookshelf ($65) and the legs ($12), as long as you already have a hand drill (you can also find an affordable, functional FIXA drill at IKEA for only $50).


KALLAX shelving unit turned bar console. Photo: Live Creating Yourself

As much as I loved this hack (which I absolutely do), it was too large, looked a bit too reminiscent of the original KALLAX form and it felt too obvious where the piece was from (who doesn’t have one of those bookcases?).

After hours of searching IKEA and DIY boards for a potential pieces to use or modify, I stumbled upon the BESTÅ storage combination with doors and drawers in Tofta high gloss white from IKEA. The piece was too large ― and a bit pricey at $250 ― for what I needed, but it gave me an idea (and has me wanting to save up for one for our dining room.)

BESTÅ Storage combination w doors/drawers IKEA
BESTÅ storage combination with doors and drawers in Tofta high-gloss white. Photo: IKEA.

After a bit more research, I realized that by combining IKEA’s BESTÅ shelf unit with door in high gloss white (23 5/8″ x 15 3/4″ x 25 1/4″) and the BESTÅ underframe (23 5/8″ x 15 3/4″ x 3 7/8″) you can create a mini bar unit that is 23 5/8″ wide, 15 3/4″ deep and 29 1/8″ high. IKEA doesn’t market this specific combination so you simply have to buy the separate pieces for yourself.

WHAT YOU NEED

― BESTÅ shelf unit with door in Tofta high-gloss white from IKEA ($85)
BESTÅ underframe from IKEA ($35)

STEP 1

Given that the piece is from IKEA, the instructions are extremely clear. Use these instructions for attaching the underframe to the base of the cabinet first.

STEP 2

Use these instructions for building the cabinet and these for attaching the door. It only took me around 30 minutes to build the entire piece.

I did have a bit of trouble making the top of the door flush with the top of the shelf once attached, but found that if you adjust the front screw on the top door-attaching piece (No. 117878) you can easily make the door even with the top surface.

STEP 3

To include wine storage ― as in the Swig Mini Bar ― simply use the HUTTEN 9-bottle wine rack ($9.99). You can easily use spray paint to color them white and they will fit perfectly as long as your shelf is placed at least 14 inches from the top or bottom. (I did not choose to add the wine rack to mine.)

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Improvised BESTÅ mini bar cabinet. Photos: Amateur at Work

Although it was a bit narrower than I ideally wanted, I really couldn’t believe that the shelf unit and underframe only cost a total of $120.

If you’ve never built an IKEA piece before and are turned off by the idea of building your own furniture, just realize that the directions are very easy to understand and the value gained by building it yourself is truly incredible (both in terms of financial value and personal value ― I absolutely love the feeling I have after building something like this).

In comparison to the ‘Swig’ mini bar (which is reportedly hard to construct), I was paying 60% less and saving $280 for a piece of furniture that looked nice and performed the same function. (The extra money is going towards this incredibly designed BRIMNES daybed for use in our second bedroom).

I absolutely love our new bar cabinet and can’t believe it isn’t an official combination. Although it isn’t the most typical DIY project (more like FIOFY ― “figure-it-out-for-yourself”) and it doesn’t hold a ton of stuff, if you’re low on space but want a cute little bar and some extra storage space, an improvised BESTÅ cabinet from IKEA is an amazing option, especially for only $120.

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