I’ve been looking for nightstands for over three months. I couldn’t decide what I wanted and then I came across this beauty from Pier 1.
But when I showed it to Dmitry, he wasn’t impressed and at $350 a piece, it was just too much of a risk to order something he might hate. After all, we should both have a say in the way the room looks (key word here is “should”). So I continued to search, but nothing seemed to speak to me. Since we already have a wooden bed and a big wooden dresser and because it is pretty much impossible to match new wooden furniture with existing, 3-4 different tones of wood in the room would look like Pinocchio’s MTV crib. So I continued to look in hopes of finding something that we would both love. It all came together about a week ago. I googled “how to style a dresser” and came across something called “Ikea RAST hack”. I was planning on going to sleep, but couldn’t put my iPad away because there were so many RAST hacks, and they each had unique looks that made them exquisite. Once I finally turned the iPad off I couldn’t fall asleep for hours because I was super excited to try it myself! The best part is that RAST is solid pine wood piece for a bargain price of $35. That’s right, $35! You can’t find a nightstand for that much! So the next day I dragged Dmitry to Ikea (thank goodness there is one close to us) to pick up two of these bad boys!
The day after, I went looking for fabric to upholster the RAST. I’ve never bought fabric before and thus had a bit of a sticker shock at Hobby Lobby when I saw that the fabric I liked is $16.99 a yard! It would require about 3 yards to upholster both nightstands and that was more than what I wanted to spend. So I decided to stain the exterior and upholster only the drawers. At Ross, conveniently located in the same shopping plaza as Hobby Lobby, I picked up two curtain panels for $17.99!
Although I looked at a lot of RAST hacks online, I didn’t actually read the processes, so I kind of winged it for the whole hack :). But this blog was a great start point! Starting with just one RAST I pulled out the side boards and started staining them using a medium size brush. This was after about 2 coats. I put the second coat right after the first one, because the bare wood just soaked up the first coat of stain. Ah, what a mess!
Word of advice – use a stick to stir the stain really well in the can before applying! The color tends to settle at the bottom of the can. I didn’t not wipe any of excess stain like many other tutorials recommend and just let it dry for about 30 minutes, then applied a third coat of stain and went to sleep.
The next day I decided to put the stained pieces together to see how they would look. And this is what I got:
Dios mio! It looks terrible! What I should have done, is taped off about 1.5 inches on the inside of each board to keep the stain from running down the boards! Now this is better:
And I should have stood the 3 pieces up like this to get all the “interior” front-facing edges. So I pulled the second RAST out of the box and did it right.
When you peel off the tape, you get a nice straight edge:
I applied about three coats of stain, which seemed to be the perfect combo! Beware, if you apply too many coats of stain, the wood will not soak it up and you will end up with glossy and greasy surface. Again, I learned that from experience when I applied one too many coats of stain on the first RAST. I was able to fix it though by using the sanding paper and wrapping it around a sanding sponge. You should probably lightly sand the top coat of the stain anyway (even before staining), but I didn’t think about it until after I was done sealing it. Learning while doing at its’ best!
So now is the time to seal! I had glossy Polycrylic, but decided to go for something more matte. So back to Home Depot for some Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Satin. That stuff is not cheap, but will be useful on many more projects to come! I assembled the main pieces of RAST and used the big brush to apply the Polycrylic.
It dried for about 30 minutes then I applied a second coat and left it overnight. The next day I sanded down the top of the nightstands with the 320 grit sand paper. Wiped with clean damp cloth and applied another coat of Polycrylic. Note: do not shake Polycrylic can before applying, or you will end up with small air bubbles on the surface, which will have to dry, be sanded, and another layer of Polycrylic applied! A lot of work for a small mistake!
At this point, the frame is done! But what about the drawers? While waiting for the Polycrylic to dry, I cut the linen (curtains) to upholster the drawers. First, I ironed the curtains with starch then measured the drawer boards and added a few inches for the flap. I cut six 27 x 11″ pieces making sure to cut along the same thread string, otherwise the fabric would pull and be messy along the edges. I also decided not to use the pre-drilled knob holes on the drawers and filled them in using a wood filler. Since I didn’t need a lot, I got a small tube for about $3 and made Dmitry do it. And because my fabric is so light, I also didn’t like how the wood grain was showing through it, so I spray painted the front of the drawers white to act as a background color for the fabric. It really made the texture in the fabric pop!
I ironed individual fabric pieces again with starch. Btw, I bought a new iron for this for about $10 at WalMart. Now I have a craft iron :). After that, it’s pretty simple, apply some Polycrylic to the top of the drawer, center your fabric on top of it, apply some pressure and iron over it. I set the iron on the hottest setting with no steam. Once the front is sealed, carefully cut the corners off. I know, normally you shouldn’t cut corners, but let’s make an exception.
Apply some Polycrylic to the edges and iron over them.
Do the same for the back flaps.
For drawers, instead of knobs, I decided to go with pulls. Originally I wanted to go with LANSA Ikea pulls, but changed my mind in store and went with their ORRNAS instead. I aligned all the drawers next to each other and measured the middle of the drawer and the length of the pulls. I put masking tape around the approximate area of where the screws would go. Then I did some precise measuring, marked the drill spots, and aligned all the handles one last time to make sure they were all centered (Dmitry drilled all of the holes with a corded drill in about a minute).
And voila! There you have it!
You might have also noticed that I added a bit of surprise factor to the bottom of the drawers and to the backing inside the nightstands. I had some gray chevron sticky paper, which I never used for another project, which made the perfect bottoms for the RAST drawers! It’s a nice little surprise every time you open the drawers.
Although I made a few booboos along the way with this project, overall it was easy to complete and can be done in about 3 days with 3 hours of work a day. This was only the second time I was refinishing a piece of furniture, and overall I think it turned out great! If I was to do this again, I would probably choose a lighter stain, but I think the gray looks modern and stylish! And it is also the perfects height, sitting right at the same level with our mattress. After another long search I finally found a pair of lamps at a great price, which you see a sneak peek of in some of the photos.
Overall the projects cost was about (rough estimates):
$70 for the 2 RASTs
$20 for curtains
$30 for drawer pulls
$10 for brushes
$5 for sanding paper and wood fill
$5 for a can of white spray paint (I actually used primer)
$15 for the stain
$20 for Polycrylic
$10 for craft iron
$10 for chevron paper
Which brings me to about $100 a piece (and most of the materials I can re-use for other projects!) I think this is a killer deal for a custom-made piece! Definitely beats spending $600-$700 at Pier one.