I absolutely love IKEA and I can spend ages in there. So can my Momma and so can Rob. Which means last visit to Houston we went to IKEA not once, but twice over, like, 5 days. And one of those days we were there enough hours that we could have clocked in like a part-time job. I know because Daddy told me how long we were in there. And he should know. He was sitting in the car waiting for us :)
Part of why I like IKEA is because it’s inexpensive but still good quality. I mean, you’re not going to get a piece of laminate furniture and hand it down to your children’s children or anything but the value is there because you get a good quality for the price paid. I have a hard time not buying everything I see when I’m there. I have to have a clear DIY plan for anything I buy before I’ll add it to the cart. I guess that’s why we hang out there so long :)
When we visited I had seen the IKEA Vilmar chairs and I liked the hip, space age style shape to them BUT I wasn’t going to spend $40 on one. Now I knew HOW I would DIY this sucker up but I couldn’t justify that kind of a price because, supplies for the project would be added on to that total. And sometimes projects fail and I’ve basically lost money. And this is my business. So when we went on our second trip I decided to go through the scratch and dent type area and I was super stoked that I found TWO different white Vilmar chairs with itty bitty bits out of the melamine that marked them down half price. Now for $20 I’d totally grab this baby up. And I did! And I totally DIYed it up and both Rob and I love it!
For this project you will need:
- Vilmar chair from IKEA or other hard surface chair like this set, this guy or this one could be cool, too
- Mod Podge, furniture formula – I used Satin
- Small brush
- Marbled or other decorative paper
- Razor blade
- Spray polyurethane (optional)
- Mod Podge Squeegee (comes in this set)
Now I know that not everybody is lucky enough to have an IKEA conveniently located. I’ve linked to 3 other chairs I think would be fab for this project that you can purchase through Amazon but you can also look locally. As a heads up, this is one of the items that IKEA does sell online so you can get one if you don’t mind the shipping costs.
Now this is my first go with furniture Mod Podge but I like it a lot. It seems somehow sturdier making me quite a bit more confident in the durability of my finished piece. I went with satin because it’s a big jar and it seems the most versatile.
I got my paper at Jerry’s Art-a-Rama and it cost me about $5. I went through TONS of pieces of paper to find the perfect one and there were so many lovely marbled papers that I had a really hard time choosing. In the end I went with this guy thinking he wouldn’t be too busy and the color would work well enough that the chair can be moved around the house without sticking out like an eyesore. This paper is kind of porous and I think that it’s a really good idea for this project, rather than a super glossy and slick paper, because it helps to work better with the curves. There are 2 or 3 areas the paper slightly wrinkled to be able to fit the curve of the chair but with the texture I was able to smooth those creases super flat so that they are visibly not noticeable and extremely difficult to locate even by hand.
You’ll need to work in small sections to get a good, smooth surface in the end. Start in the most difficult area, for me it was the curve where the back and the seat meat. This area is curved both vertically and horizontally so it made the most sense to get this area right, first.
Work in horizontal strips going across the chair that are about 1-2 inches high and no more. Apply your Mod Podge THINLY and then lay your paper out and smooth with your hand as best as you can. Follow up with a Mod Podge Squeegee to work out any air bubbles or wrinkles. A thin coat dries quickly so you’ll need to work fast. Take care, because working too roughly can cause your paper to tear, which isn’t the end of the world but it’s best if you can avoid rips.
Continue in 1-2 inch strips down the seat of the chair. You can trim to 1-2 inches off of the sides of the chair from the paper once your first area dries so you don’t have to worry about the paper moving and accidentally trimming too much. Save those scraps just in case you need something to patch up rips and tears here in a bit.
Keep using your squeegee to remove air bubbles and get a good, smooth finish. If you’re cheap like me you might want to skip this but I have to tell you my Mod Podge squeegee is one of my fave tools now and it makes SUCH a difference in something looking totally DIY or not.
Once the seat has dried fairly well flip the chair so you can easily access the back, if needed. Start gluing the paper down from the middle toward the top of the back of the seat in 1-2 inch sections using your squeegee. You can trim the paper again to help keep things more manageable.
Once finished allow the chair to dry completely. You want that paper to be nice, and crisp along the edges before continuing. I gave my chair 6 hours.
Get a brand new razor blade, seriously… don’t cheap out and use an old blade because this will make a HUGE difference in the quality of the finished chair. Hold the paper taught and run that sharp as all getout blade down the sides to remove the excess paper. Take care! Any razor and especially a sharp razor is something to be very, very careful with!
Now if you accidentally cut the paper too deep or have areas that ripped, use your Mod Podge to overlap an area that matches as well as you can find. Put a little Mod Podge on top of the area to be patched and then place the paper on top. Smooth the paper piece on and rub Mod Podge on TOP of the newly patched piece. Allow to dry to that crispy state again if on the edge before getting the razor back out.
If you find some places along the edge the paper didn’t stick run a little bit of Mod Podge on under the paper along the edge with your finger. You can hold the paper down for a few minutes or until it starts to hold on its own.
You can seal with several coats of Mod Podge on top, allowing each coat of paint to dry completely in between. Oh, and by the by that is an IKEA paintbrush I got from the children’s section and the bristles are smooth and perfect. I LOVE that brush :)
Now I honestly got too impatient and I finished my chair by sealing with 4 coats of spray polyurethane in gloss (to make the glitz in the gold stand out better than it would have in satin).
Now here she was before.
And there she is after! :)
After a few days to allow the Mod Podge and polyurethane to dry completely, this chair is ready for normal use and should do well with everyday wear and tear. Also, it’s good to note that these Vilmar chairs are actually stackable and, if coated really well, should do just fine if stacking them up.
But for now, I only have the one chair but Rob and I actually kind of wish we had a set of 4 with a glass topped kitchen table. Wouldn’t that be awesome and mod? But alas we have a GREAT quality wood table from Broyhill so we’re not going to give that up anytime soon :) I will, however, be updating it a bit so keep an eye out for that! Ooh, and I’ve already started making over that table that needs a little TLC you see in the pics, too!
I spent $20 on the chair, $5 on the paper and $7 on the Mod Podge, of which I barely put a dent in making it good several more projects. Rob said “that’s a chair I’m proud to have in my home” and that comment was priceless, totally worth the $32 price tag of this chair!