the gigantically-amazing blue-&-yellow swedish-meatball-purveying super-design-store is opening in memphis in a few weeks, and we can’t wait! with the building taking shape just a short hop from the shop & studio, this seems like a good time to reveal our contributions to a fun book recently out, i modify ikea. the authors challenged us to create modified versions of a kallax bookshelf and skubb boxes (post coming soon.) the kallax proposition was to turn the shelving unit on its side and make it into a sideboard or credenza.
as always, step A: assemble the piece. thank goodness lauren and catherine were on hand to assist! they made quick work of it, and – huge accomplishment! – there were no parts or screws leftover…so gold stars for my girls right out of the box.
then, the fun really begins…starting with a trip to the hardware store for some basic plumbing parts. we decided to give our kallax re-do an industrial, masculine feel, from the legs up. four flanges, four elbows, two T-connectors and a handful of pipe pieces came together as a sturdy base. if you’re trying this, it doesn’t matter if you use galvanized or black parts – or even a mix of the two – since they’ll be painted. it is important, though, to remove all the stickers and to wash all the metal pieces down with a degreasing cleaner or soap, then dry them thoroughly.
setting the base in place, i made pilot holes so that i can easily secure it to one long side of the kallax once the painting is finished.
the next step is to apply a bonding primer on all the surfaces to be painted. since we’re adding gritty texture to the finish, roller marks won’t be a problem, and the foam roller saves a lot of time on large flat pieces like this one.
next come coats of metallic paint by modern masters in steel gray. (this color is one of their semi-opaque formulas, but it’s worth the extra coat or two required for full coverage.) over the steel gray, i rolled on a coat of modern masters’ oxidizing iron paint on the exterior surfaces of the piece, leaving the inside of the cubbies steel gray. if the coverage with the iron paint wasn’t perfectly perfect, no matter – having a little bit of the steel peek through will be just fine.
once the first coat of iron is dry, i attach the plumbing-pipe base with wood screw through the flanges, and then apply a second layer of the iron oxidizing paint, this time stippling it on with a gnarly old chip brush for lots of texture. (the paint is heavy-bodied, so this part is easy.)
when the iron paint dries, it’s time to apply the rust patina solution (part of the modern masters reactive paint line.) we like to drip and then spritz it on, but it can be applied with a sea sponge or a brush if you prefer. because the paint contains metal particles, the oxidation process is natural and authentic, and a little bit out of your control…you just have to let it do its thing! the modern masters products are all water-based, so clean up is simple.
for this piece, we wanted it to look as if water had dripped onto it over time, so we let some of the patina solution run down the sides and front, and didn’t worry about perfect, even coverage.
while the solution is still wet, i like to spatter it with a little hydrogen peroxide…the reaction makes crazy little pitted spots in the ‘metal’ finish that’s developing. it’s a bit of a leap of faith, since you won’t know the final result until everything’s dry. depending on the humidity and how much patina solution you apply, an overnight dry is usually sufficient to let the rust ‘bloom’.
to seal the iron finish, we always use the modern masters ‘permacoat extreme’ topcoat. it arrests the patina process and protects the painted surface from wear and moisture. over the permacoat, you can use a tinted wax if you’d like to for additional toning…we love annie sloan’s dark brown soft wax when our rust occasionally turns out too bright.
i’ll be sharing our skubb box project soon – stop by me & mrs. jones for your modern masters oxidizing paints, or to sign up for one of our patina workshops – we’d love to teach you how. for more details on this project, and 49 other inspiring ikea hacks, pick up a copy of i modify ikea at a local bookseller. do you have a favorite hack to share?