A First Birthday, Ikea, and More Than a Little Cursing

April 10, 2012

My boyfriend D has a little nephew who recently celebrated his first birthday (and he's the cutest thing EVER). Not having children myself, and living hours away from my friends who do I was at a bit of a loss as to what to get him. I ventured into that kids store that used to have a giraffe as it's mascot (whatever happened to him?), but found the selection too overwhelming, and everything I though was neat was made for older kids. While I rather like the idea of staggering gifts so kids can grow into things, I didn't think his parents would appreciate having to store his 1st birthday present for 2+ years until he was old enough to play with it.

Inspiration struck when I saw a post via Apartment Therapy of a little Ikea kids table a chairs by Chris Loves Julia. They turned the Latt table from this:
Ikea Latt Table
Ikea Latt Table Image source: Ikea.ca
Into this:
Chris Loves Julia  Ikea Latt Hack
Ikea Latt hack via Chris Loves Julia
Seeing what they did set my imagination soaring and I came up with a great Idea. Unfortunately my imagination over estimated the size of the table top, so my brilliant, extra-cool idea had to be tossed aside, and I came up with plan B.

Plan B evolved after I spent a bit of time perusing my favorite online fabric store - Tonic Living. I've been stalking the site for over a year now - I've even ordered piles of fabric samples three times (a steal at $1 a piece BTW), but I'd never actually purchased anything. I spotted this fabric and an idea began to take shape:
Tonic Living - Font Tastic fabric
Tonic Living fabric - Font Tastic
I purchased a yard, and then moseyed over to Home Depot to buy three sample pots of some colours that are decidedly brighter than any paint I've ever purchased (I've just passed my two-year anniversary of owning my home, and all my walls are still white - sigh).
bright paint colours
Paint colours: Rolling hills, Water Flow, Southern Blue - all by Behr
The first parts of this project were decidedly easy, if a little time-consuming. I started by priming all the pieces twice (the table and chairs are made of unfinished pine so there was some bleeding through the first coat of primer), and then painting everything but the table top and seats with the three colours I picked. Next I used a little spray adhesive to attached the fabric to the table top and the seats.
Primed pieces of Latt table
Primed and ready for colour
Next up was assembly, and I figured I'd have the three pieces put together in 15 minutes. I know people love to complain about putting together Ikea furniture and how confusing the instructions are, but I've never been that girl. I've never had any difficulties putting together their stuff (what can I say - those little stick men diagrams just make sense to me), and even put together a bookcase without instructions when they weren't in the box (BTW - I learned later that if you ever discover your instructions are missing they're all available on the Ikea website). This project however was a decidedly different story.

If you decide to make something like this yourself please learn from my mistakes - when painting DON'T let any of the paint get into the grooves in the table or chairs where the top or seats go - this will make getting those pieces of board into the slots REALLY hard. I had to attack my freshly painted pieces with sand paper and an x-acto knife to get the pieces to fit properly. Also, if you use fabric or anything on top, don't wrap it over the edges of the boards - this adds too much bulk and again the pieces won't all fit together. Anyways, several hours later, and some language that is not really appropriate for anything relating to kids, I finally managed to get the table and two chairs put together.

Last up was several coats of polyurethane. Two coats on the wood, and I used four coats on the fabric top and seats to make it as impervious as possible to little kid messes.

Did I mention that all through this process I was battling a doozy of a cold? It was so bad that according to some co-workers I sounded like an old man when I coughed. The upside - I couldn't smell anything, so painting and urethanening inside my apartment was no big deal. The downside - I was still sick for the actual birthday party so I didn't go - just in case I was contagious. I was really looking forward to it - I've never been to a first birthday party (well, I suppose I went to my own, but I don't think that counts).

Anyways, here's the finished product:
Ikea Latt table and chairs hack
Ikea Latt table and chairs
Ikea Latt table and chairs hack

Ikea Latt chair painted with fabric seat

Ikea Latt chairs and table hacked with paint and fabric
I hope he likes it, and gets lots and lots of use from them. What do you think? Too much colour? Too little?

You Might Also Like


  1. That came out so cute! My nephews would totally dig that... I may have to run this by my sis for us to copy for them. :-)

  2. This is adorable! Wow, you put so much thought and work into this gift. I enjoyed looking through your blog but this was really cute. You are super talented and creative. Your home is lovely. Great job.

  3. This is AWESOME! I'm inspired :)

  4. Hi, I love this little set! I am wondering about the polyurethane you painted on the fabric. Did it endure the test of time? I am making a table for my son right now and am thinking of just throwing a sheet of plexiglass on top, but like this idea better. Also did you paint it on the fabric before or after you assembled the table etc? Thanks!

  5. Hi Charity,

    I painted on the Polyurethane after I had completely assembled the table. I did this because I wanted some of the urethane to seal the seams between the table base and the top - to prevent any spills from seeping into the groove around the tabletop. I haven't actually seen the table since it was gifted so I can't be 100% sure it's stood up to spills and the like, but I haven't heard anything negative about it. Hope that helps. Michelle

  6. This is so cute! I wish I knew a kid just so I could make this and give it to them!!!

  7. We have this table and chairs, and the tabletop is so stained and gross. This would make it look new again!

  8. This is great! Thanks so much for sharing. My thought was to laminate some cute truck wrapping paper I have for the top of the table and chairs, and then paint the rest as you have done here with matching colors. Would you recommend I use the Polyurethane over the laminated pieces as well? or just the wood parts? Thanks so much!

  9. Hi Rebecca,

    I Polyurethaned the whole piece as I wanted it to be easy to wipe clean of any kiddo messes. If you're going to use paper on the top I think laminating it in plastic should work - I don't think you could put poly on paper as it would likely tear once wet. I also don't think poly would adhere to the laminating plastic, but perhaps you could test it out on an a extra piece?

    Hope that helps a bit!


  10. Did you just use clear varnish polyurethane for interior wood and is any wood primer on ? Also when sticking the fabric on I assume I should leave a bit around the edge so it slides in easier ?


recent posts

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Pinterest