Thanks to everyone who voted for my jewelry chest in the Design*Sponge DIY contest, it was great! I ended up getting what I call 4th place, but what is officially called honourable mention. Honestly, it was amazing to just be on the D*S blog (which I adore) but placing in the finals didn't hurt either! Thanks again to Grace for hosting this amazing contest!
Here are the full construction details if you're interested in trying out making one yourself. There are soooo many ways this idea could be adapted (ie. paint instead of stain, different drawer configurations, handpainting, wallpaper, etc), I'd love to see some other versions of this project, so if you DO make one take some pics and send them over, we'll post them here on the blog.
“Fira” chests from IKEA - 3 sets
“Fornbro” side table from IKEA
Sanding sponge - fine grit
Stain in your choice of colour
Spray varnish - 6 cans
Handle for spray can (to make spraying easier, although this is not necessary)
Wrapping paper (although wallpaper scraps could be used as well)
White craft glue
“No More Nails” or similar adhesive
Small wood screws
1) Assemble the Fira chests, as per the included IKEA instructions (try to actually read them, I know it’s tempting with IKEA stuff to just go for the gusto and figure it out, but really, read them)
2) Lightly sand the chests, taking care to smooth off the edges. This is not the best quality wood, so these early prep stages are important to do properly. It can make the difference between a nice smooth finish, or a dull unprofessional look
3) Stain the chest (2 coats of stain) using a rag instead of a brush. Wipe on the varnish with one rag, then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. I suggest you have a lot of rags handy, and I HIGHLY suggest you wear rubber gloves, unless you think you would enjoy people staring at your hands for the next week or so.
4) After staining, give the chests a light sanding, and wipe away dust with a large dry paintbrush or clean dry cloth.
5) Now for the varnishing. I used a spray varnish to get a nice even coat. Slow and steady wins the race with this project. I also got a plastic handle that attaches to the spray can which makes spraying easier and gives your finger a break too. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area, and wear a mask if possible. In total I gave this project about 8 coats of varnish with some light sanding after the second and sixth coats. I found I was getting a little obsessive about the smoothness of the finish and probably could have done about 4 more coats, but in the end I got tired of continually going to the hardware store for more varnish and decided to stop at 8.
6) After everything was dry and ready to go I lined the inside of the drawers in vintage wrapping paper. I measured and cut the paper to size, then glued it in with some watered down white craft glue and an old paintbrush. I also used the end of the paintbrush to smooth out the paper as I went. These methods helps avoid bubbles and lumps.
7) I then covered the inside bottom of the drawers with cream coloured felt. I didn’t glue it down in case I wanted to change the colour some day. As long as it fits snugly, it isn’t going anywhere.
8) I needed some way to keep all the earrings and necklaces untangled, so the tiny metal tins with glass lids from Lee Valley Tools were perfect. They come in many different sizes and are surprisingly affordable. The added benefit is that you can easily see all your jewelry through the glass lids. And the tins are really cute.
9) I attached the “Fornbro” table base to one of the chests with simple screws (making sure they are only the depth of the thickness of the wood) as well as some “No More Nails” glue for extra security.
10) Lastly I attached the 3 drawer sections to each other with a zig zag of heavy duty glue in the centers of the sections to be glued together. I used “No More Nails” but I think a lot of other types of thick glue would work.
The one revision I may make to this piece is to take the unused tabletop of the “Fornbro” table and attach it to the bottom of the legs. Essentially I will be using the side table upside down at this point. I find the chest is pretty stable right now (ie. it won’t fall over on its own), but this would make it even more stable when I’m late in the morning and am crazily pulling out drawers looking for something. If this is the case, I will paint the entire base white, since the table top is currently black.And if you're wondering who the 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners are, here's a link to the page