Ikea Bar Stool Hack

phdikeahack2If there is one thing my wedding prep taught me, it is that everything in life can be improved with gold spray paint.

We returned home post-wedding to find a wonderful array of new grown-up furniture, glassware, cutlery, and cake stands awaiting us. Amongst the Pottery Barn adulthood, our student Ikea bar stools suddenly looked especially nineties. Ten years ago, before I developed my own tastes and sense of style, Ikea’s plentiful birch effect and dull chrome hardware worked—now it ruined the aesthetic. Being in grad school our budgets have not improved in the last decade, but thankfully my creativity has. Rather than replacing the stools we hacked them. From nineties drab, our Franklin stools are now more mid-century fab.

Tools Needed:

  • Ikea Franklin stools
  • Screw Driver
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray Paint (Krylon Gold Metallic)
  • Wood Stain (Miniwax Wood Finish in Red Mahogany 225)

phdikeahack3First, take the chair apart so that all wooden parts are removed from the metal frame.

Remove the black plastic foot rest. This is a little tricky as there are little plastic prongs inside which you need to break off before you can remove the foot rest. Rotate the plastic bar until you hear a snap—that is the sound of the prongs breaking off. Now prize the plastic bar off of the metal frame, (we used scissors at first to get some purchase).

Cover the black plastic feet with painters tape and then spray paint the entire frame, front and back, and also the brackets. It took a couple of sprays before we got totally even coverage. Leave the frame to dry completely.

For the wooden chair parts, first, sand them down to remove the existing varnish. Make sure you sand front and back, top and bottom, as all areas will be seen. Once you have a rough surface, apply wood stain with a brush in the direction of the grain. We did a couple of coats to get the desired dark finish and left the stain on for near an hour rather than the suggested twenty minutes. Remove the excess stain and leave the chairs to dry. It was humid, so our chairs took a good twenty-four hours to dry.

Finally reassemble the chair and enjoy your handy work.

This was a very easy project, especially as we already had all the equipment in the house. While, in time, we will likely want to get new furniture for our kitchen, these chairs work well in our current space. Proof again, that spray paint really is a girl’s best friend.phdikeahack4


Kate Spade Inspired Frames


My very favorite type of craft project is one that doesn’t cost anything. This project is all made out of items I already had at home, and therefore could be completed without a dash to Michaels or Joanns.

My boyfriend recently moved into my apartment. Among the furniture he brought with him was a dresser, which we have sprayed white and put in the closet. This means that there was an empty dresser surface in the closet in need of attention. I love postcards, and probably single-handedly keep the postcard industry in business. In my large stash I knew I had some from an exhibition of Grace Kelly’s clothes, and some WW2 poster reproductions that would look fantastic in a clothes closet. The only problem was I didn’t have any suitable frames, but I did have some unsuitable ones in need of a project.

phdpfks2Tools needed:

  • Plain frames, (I had some 5 by 7 pink ones from Target’s dorm collection)
  • 1 inch Circle Punch (mine is by Recollections)
  • Martha Stewart bow punch
  • Primer
  • Assorted Spray Paint, (I used Rust-Oleum white, gold glitter, and pink)
  • Sealant (I used Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss Top Coat)
  • Assorted paper scraps
  • Glue (I used E6000)
  • Pretty postcards or pictures for framing

This project was really easy, and perfectly transformed boring frames into something special. Like many other crafters, I am a little obsessed with gold and polka dots at the moment. I love Kate Spade, but not the prices, and so took inspiration from the brand to do a little DIY job.

After taking the glass out of the frames I sprayed them with Primer. I don’t know if this step was really necessary, but my frames were a dark pink plastic, and I didn’t want the color to show through. Once dry I then sprayed them with two coats of spray paint and left them to dry completely.

Once dried the real fun could begin. Using my punches, I punched bows and dots for my frames. I also cut some long strips so that I could make stripes. The gold paper was from an envelope I had from my grandparents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary over 10 years ago! How I still have it with me after all this time and moving across the Atlantic, I really don’t know. However, it just goes to show the benefits of hoarding! The envelope was actually perfect because it was thin. I don’t think heavy cardstock would well on this project as you wont get a smooth finish.

I experimented with where I wanted to put the embellishments on my frames, and when happy with how they looked, I glued them down. After everything had totally dried I sprayed the frames with top coat to  seal them. (I didn’t spray the glitter one as I didn’t think it needed it). Finally I put the glass back in and framed my postcards. And voila, beautiful frames! This was such an easy craft, but it has made the closet look so much prettier.