Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Short Project (IKEA Hack)

Anyone who's ever taken a few moments even to glance at the online world of DIY lately has more than likely seen at least 3 different ideas on what to do to make some piece of IKEA furniture more individual. It's also entirely possible that two of these pieces were the same Billy bookshelves that we have all over our flat.

No joke. We have 5 of these suckers. Two of them live in Ethan's room holding some of his things as well as some odds and ends that don't fit elsewhere...for the moment. (I give that caveat as I fully intend to have a thorough purge of all of our useless crap this summer to make the house more tidy. I will triumph.)

So back to the bookshelves: I decided that the more pathetic of our two bookshelves living in the nursery could use a bit of love. See, it was the first one I tried to put together all on my own back at the old flat, and it shows. The backing is a bit tattered-looking. And anyway, in such an otherwise brightly-coloured room, this thing was a bit boring. In a room for babies (that's eventual babies...right now we have no plans to pluralise our single child!), while you don't want things to be overwhelming like a circus funhouse, some colour and pattern wouldn't go amiss.

We had walked to the local Sainsbury's earlier in the day and stumbled across a really nice wrapping paper. I wasn't actually there for the wrapping paper - but I needed to nip into the home goods section to replace a picture frame I broke getting out of bed. (Yup, I'm that clumsy.) I'd been thinking about this project for a while, so when I saw the rolls of wrapping paper in the store, I immediately thought, "oh, what the heck," and promptly grabbed two rolls with the intention of backing that bookcase during Ethan's nap.

I confess, my first attempt didn't go too well. After taking all the things off the shelves and then removing the shelves, I left the bookcase in situ, as it were, and tried to attach the paper with double-sided tape. It was a bit fiddly, so I ripped it off and started over. I also took the bookcase out of Ethan's room and set it on the hallway floor.

Because the paper was so thin, it was easier to work with it in smaller sections, rather than trying to get a whole piece that measured the width of the bookcase. This way, I had fewer problems with going crooked or measuring incorrectly. Plus, I tended to overlap my pieces by a row of the pattern. I didn't bother trying to match it up exactly, and you'll see why in a moment. Anyway, the effect isn't ruined by letting the pattern get a bit mismatched.

In the end, rather than double-sided tape, I decided to go the decoupage route and I mixed up a bit of Mod Podge (read: water and white glue) to paint on the back of the bookcase, then I laid the paper carefully on that. You can see that there are a few places where it got a bit crooked, or rippled a bit, but those are minor problems, and the overall look of it is still nicer than it was before I attacked it with glue and wrapping paper.

A happy boy after his nap finds a colourful surprise in his room.
Considering that Ethan didn't stay down for the whole of his usual 2-hour nap yesterday, this was a really quick and easy project - even building in the time I took to screw up my first attempt and then make a new start and move the giant bookcase out of the nursery and into the hallway so I could lie it down and cover it more easily. If you're ever bored and in possession of some glue, wrapping paper, and criminally boring bookshelves, I'd recommend this project.

Because cute baby Wellies and happy polka dots make me smile.
My next DIY adventure? It'll involve paint, sandpaper, and lots of protective top-coat. It'll also probably take me forever. In the mean time, there are some Rice Krispy treats calling my name...

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