When did the term “hack” morph from meaning something bad (someone breaking into your computer) into meaning to make something easier and/or more awesome? Life hacks, recipe hacks, cleaning hacks… Just one search on Pinterest for Ikea hack will reveal hundreds of ideas on ways to make inexpensive furniture look custom chic.
In the new mancave that I’m designing for Handsome, I have a very specific problem to solve that requires a very specific piece of furniture (more on that in another post). Having not found anything that would suit my predicament, I thought I’d try my hand at a hack.
Say hello to Ikea’s Vittsjö side table. Normally, this piece is a black metal frame with a clear glass top and dark laminate bottom shelf.
That setup wasn’t going to solve my issue, so I hacked a new look.
I started by having the good people at Home Depot cut down a sheet of 1/2 plywood.
Here’s the cut specs:
1 piece (top) – 19 3/4″ x 20″
1 piece (bottom) – 19 3/4″ x 19 3/4″
1 piece (front) – 19 3/4″ x 19
On the bottom shelf (19 3/4″ x 19 3/4″), I used a jig saw to notch out 5/8″ into all four corners so that it would sit flush with the ledge support.
On the front piece (19 3/4″ x 19), Songbird and I drilled four recessed screw holes with the kreg jig along one of the long sides.
Apply a line of wood glue along one short edge of the top piece (19 3/4″ x 20″).
Turn the edge with glue to overlap the edge with the Kreg jig holes. Screw together and let dry.
Here you can see how the top piece overlaps the front piece a little better (screwed in from underneath). I wanted the table to have some character, so initially I taped out this retro design prior to staining.
Unfortunately, when I stained it (with Minwax Dark Walnut), the tape lines bled some.
So, I went back with a thin paint brush and white paint to crisp up the design.
After letting the stain and paint dry overnight, I coated all the wood with 3 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane for durability.
On the frame, there are 6 solid metal brackets that would normally support the glass top. I used a 3/8″ metal drill bit to make holes in them. When you drill, put an empty box below to catch all the tiny metal shavings – don’t want anyone stepping on those, ouch!
After the poly is dry, insert the bottom shelf first; it will stay in place without additional securing. Then align the top/front piece flush with the metal frame and screw in through the bracket holes underneath. You may want 2 people for this to keep it square while you attach it.
My very own Ikea hack! So proud. Just wait ’til I show you how genius it works in solving my design problem. More to come!