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hacking ikea ribba frames.

I decided to hack some Ikea Ribba frames over here. Again. Although I’ve painted the actual frames here and here I had yet to try painting the actual matting. It was super easy and, gives pretty awesome results for under five bucks (I bought sample paint pots from the hardware). You can see how a simple paint job of the matting gives the same Ikea ribba frame totally different looks. How sweet for a nursery?

I find the ribba matting pretty yellowish so I even painted the matting a brighter white (Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is the top right) and it was pretty perfect. The other colours were sample paint colours from both Home Depot and Lowes. It’s such an easy project but gives pretty amazing results. I do love a good Ikea hack.

That’s it! Just some inspiration for today.


Artwork via The Penny Paper Co.
Frame ideas via The Penny Paper Co.


Ikea Hacking the Varde Unit


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 I get things into my head that certain projects need to get accomplished – and it happens at the most random times. It drives Aubrey nuts. But right before the Christmas rush for the shop, I felt that my studio didn’t really look right and the major problem was the worktable that I use. I never loved the wood tone of the Varde Island from Ikea but it was the right price, and, has served well. I’ve had this table since I started my shop in 2004 and it has been amazing. But the wood tone didn’t fit with the darker walnut tones in the floor and my DIY desk.  So I took it upon myself to try to fix it, to fit more with my current style. I gave away the “after” above. They really are simple changes, but make a huge difference. To read more about how I did it, and, more shots of the space now, read more after the jump.

Step 1: The first thing I did was pulled out my heavy duty sander that I used for this project. After 9 years of use the tabletop was worn, dirty and banged up. So I got my sanding on and sanded the wood block top a LOT. I then stained wood the exact same walnut tone as I did my DIY desk – so that it worked together more.

Next, it was time to paint the laminate base. I took my time – first , sanding the laminate base with a fine grit sandpaper. Then I primed it, After priming it, I sanded it again lightly. The extra care in sanding between coats makes the paint smoother and gives a more professional look. Having a sander (I used my mouse sander for these steps) was key. After the primer, I painted the base in Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbour, using their Advance line of paint.

Skipping back a step, I didn’t like the handles that came with the Ikea set so I filled the screw holes in the drawers with wood filler, and switched out the handles for the exact same that we used in our kitchen. And on the wall I switched out the art for a new piece that is in my shop that I love. It’s a saying that my Dad used to say occasionally to me, and so I find it both a beautiful piece to hang in my space and also a reminder to keep it pretty fun around here. 😉

I installed a hook on one side of the table, to hang gift bags for the store. Friends in the area get personal deliveries, so instead of stacking these away, I used a hook that we had in storage and installed it on one side of the table.

I’m really, really happy with how the studio is feeling now, the worktable now fitting in a lot more with the whole room.

The back wall has the organizational shelves for orders, but we quickly grew out of that this year so we’re planning on eventually building a few more rows up. I’m determined to keep my office here at the house, as there is a comfort to being here for Oscar, and being able to work. So I’ll keep finding ways to modify my space to grow as the business does.

Anyhow, I thought you’d like the transformation of the Ikea table – as it’s super easy to do even though it seems intimidating at first (at least for me it did). Hope this inspires you to hack some Ikea! 😉

Ikea Work Table: Ikea Varde Unit
Stain: Minwax Walnut
Base Colour: Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbour, using their Advance line of paint.
Sanders Used: For Top: RIDGID Heavy-Duty Variable 3 In. x 18 In. Belt Sander, For Base: Mouse Sander
Handles: Hickory Hardware Studio Line, in Polished Nickle purchased at Lowes (special order in store)
Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap Art Print, The Penny Paper Co. 

DIY Wood Desk  and DIY Desk Update

In Updates

diy desk updates

I’m trying to organize and decorate my office a bit better – One thing is, I’m not overly happy with this wall of bulletin board and have considered taking it down. But taking it down would perhaps damage the wall, so I’m not sure whether to live with my design mistake or succumb to my OCD about it. Anyways, apart from the look of the office, one of the things I needed to address was organization.

A month ago I decided to make the DIY desk  slightly larger.  I needed more space to store orders waiting to be shipped. To give some background in how I run my shop, I use these dollar store stackable baskets to organize orders. When an order comes in, I place items in the basket. Sometimes orders have products that have different production times (stamps take 14 days to make, whereas I have gold glitter ribbon in stock) so in order to make sure things stay together an gets it’s own basket. If you’ve ordered from me, your order has likely been in one of these baskets. It’s an amazing little system that has meant that orders get shipped faster, there is less product wandering around my office and order mistakes have 99% dissapeared. Little steps that help me as my shop is shipping out more orders on a weekly basis.

How we designed this desk was was similar to how we did my desk, but it actually was a lot easier. More after the jump.

1. Shelving unit – out of kitchen cabinets

We needed to find shelving that was less deep than the cabinetry we used for the main desk portion (Ikea Besta cabinets), as we have a door to the storage room that isn’t visible in the photos above. So instead of the base cabinets for the main desk,  we used Ikea upper kitchen cabinets (Akrum) that are 12″ (which is standard for upper cabinets) These were shallow enough that allows for the storage room door to open but deep enough to store my order baskets.

2. The top – Pine from Lowes

We did the same design as we did for the main desk. I used the same stain but we bought the wood from Lowes (Home Depot’s wood cutter was broken) I also skipped the sanding step that I had done meticulously for the main desk as this part of the desk wasn’t going to be where I was resting my hands – so I didn’t mind the “rough” feel that I would have without sanding. I’m not sure what happened but we used the same stain but the wood tones are a different. It’s kind of weird but not enough for me to worry or redo anything.

3. Leveling it

Aubrey raised the cabinets using scrap wood under the cabinetry to get it to the same height as the other cabinets, factoring in the new wood top. To hide the planks of wood we placed to raise the cabinetry up, we slid in a baseboard, to hide the makeshift legs.

I appreciate that 99% of you don’t have a need for a space for order processing. But the same design can be  done for a living space. Get Ikea kitchen cabinets, don’t buy the doors, install the shelves and add a wood top. Ta-da! Awesome “built in” bookshelf/consolve table.