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Ikea Tarva Hack - My Version

**I started writing this post over a year ago when I finished this dresser.  Now that I'm trying to finish the post, my memory is not quite the best when it comes to step-by-step instructions.**

One day, my little guy will get too big *sniff, sniff* for his nursery and we'll have to send him off to the guest room.  While this is not happening anytime soon, the guest bedroom does need a dresser for our guests.  I figured that I might as well plan ahead and get a dresser that will eventually be for my son to use.  Keeping with the nautical theme that we used for his first birthday party, I've decided to hack an Ikea Tarva dresser to match this someday, nautical-themed, kid's bedroom.  

Now, there are A LOT of beautiful Tarva updates all over the internet and I decided that the "framed" drawer was my favorite update.  This very simple dresser looks much more put together when the drawers have that small update.  This project was a big project for me, as I'm not familiar with painting furniture.  Sanding, priming, sanding, painting, waiting... I'm just not that into it yet.  Buuuut, I figured I'd go out of my comfort zone to see what I could do.

I figured that it would be easier to frame and paint the drawers before assembling the dresser, so that's where I started.  During my online research of painting Tarva's pine wood, some people came across problems with the knots still leaking a bit of sap through the paint.  My favorite (former) DIY bloggers, YHL, presented a solution to this minor problem.  

First, cover knots with wood filler, let dry, sand, then paint a thin coat of wood glue on top.  This should help seal those knots and keep them from seeping.  They also noted that you could probably skip that step and use a shellac-based primer instead, but apparently there are more fumes, so I decided to do the filler/glue route as well.  

While the filler and glue dried, I cut my furring strips with a hand miter saw that my neighbor let me borrow.  This little machine is pretty darn cool and VERY easy to use.  This was my first time cutting wood for a project, so using it wasn't intimidating like a big, electric miter saw could be.  As well experienced carpenters say, measure twice and cut once !

Then I sanded the corners and used liquid nails to attach the frame to the front of the drawer.  I used clamps, weights, and books to keep it together and weigh it down.

I filled in the corner cracks with wood filler.

Then it was time to prime and paint. I used Benjamin Moore Aura Paint Patriot Blue, Semi-gloss.  (After the fact, I don't think the semi-gloss was the way to go.  I'm not sure of the best finish to use, but the semi-gloss sometimes sticks and then peels a bit.)

Once everything was painted and dry, I put together the dresser...this was the WORST part.  I do remember thinking this was the hardest IKEA piece to put together.  

I wanted different handles for the dresser, so I purchased some sleek thin ones from Lowe's, but I did use the original knobs for the top drawer (I also stained those with the walnut stain).

I also wanted to switch up the legs for this piece as well and found a nice alternative to the plain rectangular ones that came with it:

I purchased these legs in 6" height to give the dresser a different look. I stained them to match the top of the dresser.

AND, I forgot to order the leg plates when I ordered the legs. Luckily, Lowes had the exact ones from Waddell that I needed.  And, in the search for the leg plates, I found that Lowe's carries the legs as well...wish I'd known that before I paid for shipping!

Annnd...since the legs were not compatible with the dresser, I needed to attach a piece of wood to the bottom of the dresser to make a base for the leg plates to screw into.

I went to Home Depot to the lumber area and a nice man helped me find a piece of 1/2 inch thick pine wood.  He brought me to the scrap area and cut a piece that measured 28 1/2 x 14 inches.  Then, he just gave it to me !  $0 !  I don't know if that is always the case...maybe they had a lot of extra scrap...or maybe I was just looking pretty sweet that night ;) 

For both the top of the dresser and the bottom flat piece, I put two coats of dark walnut stain and one coat of polystain.  

After attaching the piece of wood with the leg screws and an extra five screws, the dresser was ready to stand up !  

I love how it turned out !  I probably won't be painting any furniture any time soon, but at least I can say I've tried it!

Any new IKEA hacks from you guys?

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !



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