This post is in partnership with Rust-Oleum.
I love Ikea hacks. I love the versatility of being able to take an affordable yet functional piece of furniture and turning it into something beautiful and custom. I’ve owned these IKEA Trofast Units for close to 5 years… moving them around the house multiple times. I have never loved how they look but, I was hard-pressed to get rid of them because they are so darn functional!
Not bad right? But not necessarily a stylish masterpiece. My first plan when I update anything… room or furniture… is ALWAYS paint. Paint is usually always the answer. With these units, I had been hesitant to get out a paintbrush because of all the nooks and crannies. I had also been hesitant to use regular spray paint because of the durability… I have 4 kids under 9 that will be using this daily!
The solution came when I was introduced to Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint earlier this year. It has the coverage and durability of a chalk paint… with the ease of application of spray paint! I’ve been using it for several projects over the last few months so I already knew how much I loved it. I would also note that this is paint is intended for interior applications!
As with any paint project, the first step was to clean off the unit of any dust or dirt. I moved them to my garage and put a tarp down for overspray. This paint goes on so smooth! I ended up only using one coat and did a few touch-ups where needed. The trick with this or any spray paint is not to go too thick to avoid drips! Slow and steady!
There are many reasons I love this spray paint, but one of the biggest is that in most cases, you do not need to prime for adhesion reasons. This will stick to anything and provide excellent coverage!
After I got them all painted… (which took no more than 10 minutes), I was ready to build a top to combine them all. My goal was for this to look like a piece of furniture. As I was measuring it, I had the idea to add some storage between for some books. I made the top around 15″ longer than my units to leave just enough space for some display items and the kid’s favorite books.
I used 3/4″ plywood and clamped a straight edge to get a nice clean cut. I made the top 1/4″ wider than the units. I cut 3 shelves out of the same material and sanded each down with 220 grit sandpaper.
Plywood is a great inexpensive option for building but can leave a raw edge that doesn’t look great. You can use veneer banding and iron it onto unfinished plywood edges to give it a very finished look!
I sampled a few stains and ended up mixing a few until I got the color I wanted. That’s the beauty of stains… so easy to customize!
Make sure and use a pre-stain conditioner on raw wood so that your stain will cover evenly!
While the stain was drying, I used the Chalked protective topcoat on the units in Clear Matte. This will give it a little extra durability and protection while keeping the same finish.
I chose to assemble the shelves to two of the units outside on a level ground. I started to use a nail gun and then switched to screws so I can easily change the heights of them in the future if I want to.
I took all the units into the room I was going to install it in and turned the units upside down. I screwed a 2×4 block in the front corners so that I would have something to attach legs to. The legs are decorative only, and will not hold a majority of the weight of the unit.
There is a lip on the units that I used to screw the units right to studs. I used 3″ screws to make sure there was a good connection to hold the weight of the units and made sure to level this center unit up.
To attach the remaining units, I used clamps and 1 1/4″ screws – making sure to keep everything level before connecting it to the wall.
To attach the top, I used screws and attached it from underneath so I can easily disassemble the entire unit if needed.
Honestly, the entire project took just a few hours and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The kids have been loving their new and organized play area and I love the fact that their creative zone is pretty to look at!