Thursday, February 26, 2015

LÄTT Table Hack for Lucky

I love going to Ikea.  There is something about the showroom that gets me really excited about decorating our home.  I've been sharing a lot of non-knitting based craft projects lately because I spent a lot of last fall decorating Lucky's nursery and then using up the remaining crafting components.  As we are starting to think about our own first house, I like thinking about what kinds of things I can do with a space that is all our... but that is another story.  Today I'm excited to share with you the LÄTT Table and Chairs Hack we did to create a vibrant set for Lucky.  These table and chairs are only $19.99 at Ikea (the same set is more than twice as much through Amazon) and built out of plain, unfinished wood.  This is the PERFECT set to paint and modify.  In this post you will learn what worked, and what didn't work about my attempt to modify this set.

The cardboard boxes from Ikea made a perfect "dropcloth" for this painting project.  We set up our Summer Infant Playyard Fence around the work area to keep Indy from furring up the painting.

The plan was to cover the seats in some raindrop fabric that we ended up not using for Lucky's pillows.  We wanted to paint the wood portions purple, blue and teal and turn the white top into a Navy Chalkboard using navy paint and hen a clear chalkboard coating.

When I did the first coat of acrylic navy on the table top, it didn't stick very well.  I left the brush strokes and hoped that the second coat would stick to the top better than the first.

After the fact I realized that maybe we should have painted the wrong side of the table top, maybe it was more porous and would have held the paint on better, but when the second coat and two chalk board layers went on okay, I stopped worrying.

In between layers of the chalkboard, I painted the wood sections.  I used Frog tape to cover the cross sections of the chair backs.  I wanted this section to be the same color as the table so it would be clear that the colors were intentional.

If I were to do it again I might have made all horizontal sections teal, and all vertical pieces either purple or blue, but I didn't know how well my painting would come out. Each section had at least two coats of paint.  The purple was much thinner than the blue, even though they were the same brand so I had to do an extra coat to make the color solid.  

I had a lot of trouble selecting the teal paint color.  I wanted this color to pick up the fabric from the seats, but many of the teals were too blue and not bright enough.  I was nervous, but not only is this teal color EXACTLY what I wanted but it is the same hue as the purple and blue.  I think these three colors will really pop together!

I wish I had painted the cross bars of the chair backs first because it was an easier seal to make with the tape.  It looked great after I took the tape off to reveal the teal bars, but you can see some flecks

This paint isn't being sealed in with anything, so I'm expecting it to scratch easily.  However for a $20 set of table and chairs, if it picks up a distressed look I'm okay with that.  I mean, my kid is going to draw and paint at this table, so the point is just to make the set look less boring.

Covering the top of this table was an epic failure.  I scraped off some of the paint as I inserted the top into the table, so I patched it up with a q-tip and some excess navy paint.  Since a little navy paint got on the teal, I used frog tape on the edge to touch it up.  But look what happened when I removed the frog paint!  OH NO!

Thankfully all of this paint came off really easily  I just disassembled the table, removed the table top and pealed all of the paint off.  Oh well.  Some ideas work better than others.  I didn't feel like trying this whole experiment again on the bottom of the white piece because I didn't feel like having it fail a second time.  We'll make Lucky a cool chalk board in our future house some other way.

The bottom of the chairs had nothing to prevent them from scratching the floor, so I added some "FIXA" pieces to the bottom.  No point in messing up the floors in a rental place!

Next, it was time to secure the fabric to the chair tops to tie this whole set together.  I purchased some 3M General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive and sprayed the underside of one of the chair tops.  Why the underside?  If this got messed up again I wanted to be able to undo it!  


More problems!  UGh there are ugly splotches!!  Crap what should I do now?  This project could have been done SO MUCH SOONER if these things hadn't happened.  *Sigh*  I think that I sprayed on too much adhesive and didn't let it sit to thicken long enough before adding the fabric.  These stains did not go away after a few hours, so I knew I wanted to start over.  I pealed off the stained fabric and started over.  This time I let the adhesive sit for a bit and blotted the surface before applying the fabric.  NO STAINS!  WAHOO!

It was finally time to assemble the chairs.  The key - attach the two small boards to the bottom before adding the sides.  I don't think you could slide the top in easily, you have to really press it.

It took some work to get the chair in there, but the bottom with fabric on either side did ultimately fit.  I trimmed the fabric from the underside of the chair and then they were ready to go!

When it is all completed I feel exhilarated.  I had an idea and executed it without instructions!  I even had two almost fail moments and bounced back.  It is so satisfying when a craft project is successful!

For 15 month old Lucky's first time playing with his table, I wanted to set him up with something special.  I therefore decided to make some blue-raspberry Jello Play dough.  I store it in the fridge, and although it gets sticker over time it lasted a few weeks.  Lucky LOVES to play with playdough!

Not only does Lucky love his playdough, he loves his table and chair set!  This will not stay super clean for long, this strong 15 month old loves to pick up the chairs and drag them all over the house.  The edge of the table is accumulating dried playdough spots and the top is getting crayon marks.  Unlike other things I've made, this project is MEANT to be played with.  Each mark gives the already well-loved set some character.

If I cared about preserving the table better, I could have varnished the table and chairs to seal in the paint and protect the fabric... but not only do we not have a good, ventilated space to do this but I didn't really feel like going that extra step for something so simple.  

The LÄTT chairs can hold an adult's weight, but the table is so low that it is easy to sit on the floor to pay.  This set has brought us so much joy already that it was worth every penny!