So I was going through my blog posts drafts and came upon this do-it-yourself gem that somehow managed to escape being published. You've probably caught glimpses of my closet-turned-office in my apartment tour, but I never got around to sharing the process of painting a piece of Ikea furniture. Well, the wait is over.
Earlier this spring, I scored a used Mikael desk on Craigslist. It had a few scratches and an undesirable birch finish, but that didn't matter. It was cheap and I was going to paint it! Before I begin, I'll say that I developed this process after reading lots of "How to Paint Ikea Furniture" blog posts (many of which had differing steps, products, etc.). There were lots of horror stories, might I add. Cringe-worthy tales of paint chipping or even peeling off entirely. I picked and chose what would work best for me and my budget – and crossed my fingers that I'd be avoiding a scary ordeal.
Step 1: Pick Out Paint & Buy Supplies
I went to my friendly local Menards. Menards may have a smaller selection in some home improvement items, but I think they have the best service. Plus, growing up I'd get to go on trips to Menards with my grandparents or parents. It's a nostalgic thing. And I like the smell. It's the scent of home improvement. ;)
BTW: The supplies above cost me just under $40.
Primer | The primer is important, so splurge on it. I used Zinsser BIN Advanced Synthethic Shellac Primer. Tip: Get the primer tinted. I totally forgot and it would have saved me some time and effort.
Paint | I got some conflicting reports on what kind of paint to use, so I went to the helpful paint department guy for assistance. I filled him in one what I was doing and what primer I was using, then asked what paint would be best. I also threw in that I was looking for something on the lower end of cost. I ended up with Lucite Interior Acrylic Latex Semi-Gloss Paint. And I got a can rather than a quart – just to be safe. I had him match Sherwin-Williams' Sealskin, a nice dark charcoal hue.
Sandpaper | I got a few variations of roughness so that I could try them out and see what I liked best.
Etc. | You'll also need any paint supplies you don't already have on hand, such as: a roller, plastic container, drop cloth, paint mixer sticks.
Step 2: Sand, Sand, Sand
Dissemble and sand down that Ikea furniture! This will make the sleek, slippery surface more rough and porous so the primer and paint will cover better. After sanding, be sure to clean off the surface with a damp cloth and vacuum up the dust so it doesn't get stuck in your primer. Let dry before priming.
Step 3: Get Your Primer On
Roll on two thin, full-coverage coats of primer. Let dry completely between coats.
Tip: It was too rainy for me to paint outside that weekend, so I had to set up shop indoors. I put down some clear plastic on the floor to protect my carpet, then turned two garbage cans upside down to use as a base of sorts. Even though the primer was low odor, I kept the windows open and a fan going for good ventilation.
Rollin', rollin', rollin' – keep that primer rollin'.
Step 4: Paint It
Black Whatever Color You Desire
Somehow, I completely failed at taking photos of the painting process. Probably because it was just like the priming process. When that second coat of primer has completely dried, start painting. Do thin coats and let dry in between.
My process went something like: Paint a coat. Watch an episode of Bomb Girls. Paint another coat. Watch another episode of Bomb Girls. Let's just say I knocked that show out in two days.
Now, since I didn't get my primer tinted gray... it took me a couple more coats than it probably would have otherwise. Another tip: If you can, split the painting process up into two days. That way, you can let the paint on one side completely dry so that it doesn't get chipped or scratched or marred when you flip it over to paint the other side.
Step 5: Assemble and Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
Put that Ikea furniture back together! And keep the paint can handy – because putting Ikea furniture together can get tough and you'll probably dink the fresh paint job. Putting this desk together was soooo difficult. Tip: Think twice before putting a desk in a closet. This desk fit into my closet with just inches to spare, but it had to be put together inside the closet. I pretty much sat underneath it and blindly fumbled for screws with my hands. It collapsed on me a few times. Not a fun task.
I'm really happy with how the desk turned out, though you'll probably notice the white piece underneath it. I left it in another room after disassembling the piece and found it only after I was done and tired of painting. So I left it white. I'll probably spray paint it a fun hue for a surprising pop of color – maybe lime green?
The desk looked really freakin' fantastic for a few weeks. Then due to my clumsy crafting, I dinged it in a few spots. When I move this weekend, I'll have to take the desk apart and put it back together in the new place. I'll touch up the paint dings then and spray the entire thing with a coat of protective clear coat. Another great solution would be a big piece of glass.
Have you ever painted Ikea furniture?
Was it a horror story or did it have a happy ending?