IKEA Box Unit Makeover

5 Materials
4 Hours

Many of us have seen these fun box units that IKEA sells. They are great for organizing in just about any space in our homes. We've had this one for more than twenty years! It went from plain wood to decorated for our daughter's room, to now being made over for my young niece. It was easy and fun, but did take a bit of time. Still, it's a project anyone can do, so please have a look and give it a try on any
ikea box unit makeover
The box unit, with stamped images and painted knobs.
ikea box unit makeover
It was a great unit for my daugther's dresser, where she stored all kinds of small doo-dads, but it needed some oomph!
ikea box unit makeover
I primed all surfaces with Zinsser BIN 123 latex primer, a favourite of mine for covering up any surface and hiding dark stains or paints. I couldn't remove the knobs, they were on so tightly, so I painted over them.
ikea box unit makeover
I then 'splotched' some black paint here and there for effect. I had planned on painting them and was going to distress some areas, so I wanted some black to show through.
ikea box unit makeover
After the black paint dried, I went over it all with white chalk paint.
ikea box unit makeover
I changed my mind about painting it all and thought it would be fun to add some pretty printed paper inside and outside of each drawer, so chose this lovely printed tissue paper (for wrapping) from Michaels. I cut it to size before using Mod Podge to glue it into the bottoms of each drawer.
Having painted the unit white, the paper would have a great background to showcase its own colours and patterns. If I had applied the paper to the wood, the tones would have been quite muted.
ikea box unit makeover
I then used a napkin (removing all white layers first) to line the walls of the drawers. Mod Podge is a glue product that you apply to the item first, then lay the paper/tissue paper/napkin you're using. You let that dry after smoothing it very carefully, then apply as many layers of MP on top of that to help seal and protect it.
ikea box unit makeover
Insides are done!
ikea box unit makeover
I used that nice bird paper for the top of the box unit and coated it several times with Mod Podge. I sanded the edges of the unit base and the drawers to give it an aged look. I then painted the fronts of each drawer, in two alternating colours of chalk paint. Any brand of chalk paint will do and I often use homemade chalk paint, using plaster of Paris (1 part to 1 part water) mixed in with latex paint of any colour (3 parts).
ikea box unit makeover
Because the knobs were stuck on, I wanted to make them pretty so I decoupaged some tissue paper onto them as well.
ikea box unit makeover
Ta da! A fun little storage unit for my niece's desk. I will be giving it to her soon and hope she likes it!

Suggested materials:

  • IKEA box unit  (IKEA)
  • Tissue paper  (Michaels)
  • Mod Podge  (WalMart)
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