People all around the interwebs have been hacking Ikea’s Rast for years now. In case you’re not familiar, here’s the Rast:

Essentially the idea is to make over this inexpensive, unfinished solid wood chest and turn it into a cute, one-of-a-kind nightstand or side table. I came across this project many moons ago before we lived in our house and always thought it was a genius idea but wasn’t in need of a Rast at the time. Now our small nightstands that served us well for the past five years have become overwhelmed with books, jewelry, Rubix cubes and what have you — so an upgrade to something with more storage was needed. Naturally the three-drawer Rast came to mind.

One of my favorite Rast hacks (and possibly one of the first?) is this version by Aubrey + Lindsay. With a medium brown stain and white drawer fronts, the classic look of this bedside table suited our bedroom well and probably won’t be going out of style any time soon. After picking up a couple of Rasts for $35 each at our local Ikea (which count as our July purchase per the furniture propostion, ahem!) we gathered the following supplies:

  • – Latex enamel paint (Valspar’s Gloss White)
  • – Stain + poly in-one (Minwax Polyshades in Antique Walnut)
  • – Foam roller
  • – Sponge brushes
  • – Fine-grit sandpaper
  • – Fine steel wool
  • – Cleaning cloths

For the first step, Jamie assembled the frame of the Rast only. The drawers shouldn’t be assembled yet since we’re going to paint the drawer fronts. We took the Rast frames and drawer fronts out to a tarp in the garage for a light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper, then wiped any sawdust away with a clean cloth.

Next, we applied the Polyshades using cheap sponge brushes we could just throw away when done.* This was our first Polyshades experience; initially I thought we were so smart by choosing this two-in-one product to save us time. Turns out this stuff wasn’t as great as we hoped. The thickness of the poly made it difficult to control the evenness of the stain. We may have had this problem due to the hot + humid conditions out in the garage, but in hindsight I would probably opt for separate stain and poly. Just my opinion!

*According to the Polyshades label, anything soaked in this product (sponge brushes, cloths, whatever) can spontaneously catch fire. Yikers! When finished, it’s instructed to immediately toss anything soaked in the product into a bucket of water before disposing. Be sure to read the entire label!

Here’s how things were looking after applying the first coat of stain/poly:

Next up were the drawer fronts. After a light sanding and wipe-down, we used the latex enamel to paint the fronts and edges with the foam roller. This was the funnest part — that foam roller is my favorite. The thought of painting our kitchen cabinets in the not-too-distant future is now much more exciting than dreadful.

After allowing the stain/poly and paint to set for 6+ hours, we went back to apply coat number two. Per the label instructions, Jamie lightly went over the stain/poly with fine steel wool first (to remove any bubbles) followed by a wipe-down to remove any tiny steel bits. In total, we applied two coats of stain/poly to the dressers and three coats of latex enamel to the drawer fronts before allowing them to cure overnight.

The next day, Jamie assembled each of the drawers while I screwed on these pretty knobs from World Market:

The brass rings from Aubrey + Lindsay’s project were neat but not really my thang, so instead we chose these ceramic, hand-painted knobs with cobalt detail (one of our bedroom colors). This knob came in two different designs so we bought some of each for a cute mismatched look.

Now for the finished product! Here’s my side:

And Jamie’s side:

We’re more or less thrilled with how they turned out! The pop of color on the knobs is my fave touch. Here’s a close up of the detail:

And oh man, the larger surface area on top and added storage space is such a luxury, let me tell you. I still have a drawer and a half to fill!

Since we just finished these up a couple of days ago, I haven’t gotten a chance to get used to¬†them yet. Every time I walk in the room it’s like a nice, little surprise. Oh yeah, that’s right — we have sweet, new nightstands! And for roughly $65 each after the cost of knobs and supplies, I don’t think you can beat it. Nope, don’t think you can!

The other nice thing is it’s incredibly¬†easy to transform this little chest into whatever you like. I can envision us re-painting, re-staining, and re-purposing our Rasts for years to come. To see other Rast-hacking projects via Ikea Hackers, click here.

In other news, we’ve actually made a decent amount of progress in our master bedroom over the past month or so. More on that at a later date!

[Unfinished Rast photo from here; knobs photo from here; and Rast hack inspiration photo from here.]

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