The Ultimate Ikea Rast Hack

This one is for all you DIY Lovers out there. It’s time to channel your inner Chip and Joanna and get out the power tools, because Trev, his dad and I are bringing you the Ultimate Ikea Rast Hack! Now why is ours the ultimate? Because it’s the most in detail one that we’ve seen. (And no. That doesn’t mean the other ones are bad. Their finished products are actually pretty awesome!)

When we first started trolling Pinterest to find the perfect tutorial, we realized something very quickly. Yeah, a lot of them showed the steps, but they didn’t tell us exactly what they used. Or they didn’t give the little details that we wanted to know. So we came up with our own plan. And two weekends ago, we headed out to Trev’s dad’s workshop. While the boys worked, I took notes.

Pages, and pages of notes. Now don’t worry, I promise to have them typed up nice and pretty for you on here. I won’t make you scroll through my nonsense πŸ™‚

From what we saw out there, everyone will tell you “this hack is super easy”.

Well, it’s not. Y’all need power tools, and Jesus for this DIY. (Seriously. If you aren’t patient, this could turn out to be a disaster.)

It wasn’t that hard. 

Says the guy that threw a piece of moulding across the garage when we cut it wrong. (Insert eye roll here.) I’ve brought Trev along for this blog post, and I’ve got my father in law on speed dial so I can be sure that it’s written exactly right for you!

Hey Guys! Long time no talk. I’ll be here making sure Savannah knows what she’s talking about! 

Who’s ready to get started? Let’s take those Rast dressers from this…

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… to this!

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Ahhhh! SO pretty! Right? 
First things first. You need to make a trip to Ikea and Home Depot. (Or Lowes. Whatever is more convenient for you. All of our products will be linked to Home Depot though, because that is the store we went to.)

Oh. And this shopping list is for two nightstands. Not one.

Shopping List

  • Rast Dressers (Ikea)
  • New Drawer Pulls (Your choice! You can find some great stuff at places like Target and Home Depot. But we chose to order ours from Amazon. We ordered these beauties off of Amazon and I highly recommend them! Not only do you get a 10 pack for the price you’d pay for 3 at other stores, but they are really beautiful in person. We are so happy with them! And bonus… They are on BIG SALE right now. So if you’re interested, order them ASAP!)
  • 2x4s (I would get 2 or 3… it depends on how confident you are in your ripping skills!)
  • 3/4 inch by 16 inch by 8 ft board (Ours was pine. But you can get any type of wood your prefer.)
  • 3/4″ round moulding (You need 2, 8 foot pieces.)
  • Behr Marquee Interior Matte paint in Ultra Pure White (We only bought a quart, and had plenty left over.)
  • Polycrylic Top Coat (Buy the smallest your possibly can, because you barely need any!)

    Now the rest of this stuff, you might already have. We did. So, if you own it, dig it out! If not… head to Home Depot! (Or Lowes. Or your hometown hardware store.)

  • Pencil
  • Large piece of cardboard, that can be cut into a template
  • Hammer
  • Center Punch (Or other sharp object)
  • Staple Gun and Staples 
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Putty
  • Measuring Tape (Obviously!)
  • Hand Sander with a medium grit sand paper 
  • Planer (We had one, and it saved us time. It’s not necessary!)
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Radial Arm Saw 
  • Power Drill and Screws

Eeek. That’s a long list. I hope we didn’t forget anything!

Kick off your project by putting together the dressers. Just don’t add the bottom piece. Set it aside for now. You’ll need it later. You can also sand them if you’d like. It’s up to you.

Then, we are going to make our template for our drawer pulls. This might seem weird, because the handles are the very last thing you will put on, but you need to make your template before you start adding wood to the drawers. (The Rast dresser comes with two holes for little wooden knobs that are included. We filled them in because we were going to be using a single pull instead.)  Cut your cardboard to fit your drawer front. Find the center of the drawer by measuring the width and height of the drawer face then dividing them in half to find your center point and mark that on your cardboard template. Once you’ve got the center of the drawer, you’ll have to find the center of the drawer pull. For our pulls, we needed to drill holes that were 10″ from each side and 4 7/8″ from the top of the drawer. (There was a lot of measuring and math involved here so if you decide to go with a different pull, you’ll have to figure out where the center of the pull is, align that with the center of the drawer, and mark where your holes need to be drilled.)

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Take the the template, lay it on the drawer, and make a dimple with a hammer and a center punch (or anything sharp enough to make a small indent) where you will eventually drill the holes for the new handles. Do this on each drawer, then set aside.

Now it’s time to create supports to level out the original top because the dresser has a small lip on each side. We ripped a 2×4 and put 3 strips on the top of the dresser so we had a flush surface to attach our top piece to. This was also to ensure there was no chance for the top to bow later on, when we set things on top of our dressers. Glue your strips on, and then use a staple gun to make sure they are good and sturdy.

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Next, you need to make notches on the dressers for the moulding to sit in. Measure 3/4 inch down from the top of your new supports on each side of the dresser. Make a mark, and saw out a small notch. Sand it down, and your moulding will sit perfectly.

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Go ahead and set the dressers aside.

After your dressers are prepped and ready to go, you need to make a design decision on the trim for the front of the drawers. You’ll notice that there is a bevel along the edge of the drawer face. You need to decide if you want the trim pieces that you are about to put on your drawers to end at that bevel, or at the side of the dressers. I liked how it looked better when the sides covered up that bevel, and met the side of the dresser. This is literally a decision based on personal taste, more than what is easier or what works better. If you don’t mind the most minuscule gap on the side of the dresser drawer between the top piece you’re adding and the actual drawer, I personally think “covering” the bevel looks better. By doing it this way, the drawers end up being flush with the sides of the dresser.

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See what I mean? 
Once you decide, which might take awhile if you have a wife that can never make up her mind… not that I’m pointing fingers… 

Not funny Trevor.

It’s now time to start cutting your wood for the front of the dressers. We used 2x4s and a table saw to make the pieces for the front. Many of the tutorials we saw said to pick up Lath wood from the store. I didn’t like how the wood looked when we got there. (You guys. It was all jagged and had holes in it. Not what I wanted for the front of my soon to be night stands!) If you want to use the lath wood, you will need to dedicate a lot of time to sanding it. For us, we thought using 2x4s was much easier.

  • Use a table saw to cut the 2x4s slightly over 23 inches (like only a fingernail over 23 inches!) Ours were cut to be 23 3/16″ to be exact. Leaving this slight edge let’s you accommodate any variances in the length of each individual drawers.
  • Now, rip the 2x4s 1/4″ flat, and run them through a planer to smooth them out.
  • We cut 15 pieces all together. Set 3 aside. (These will be the vertical pieces on the drawers. But we’ll get to that a little later.)

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Once your wood is cut, go ahead and LIGHTLY sand each piece of wood. Just to get the extra gunk off. This is where we decided to run the trim pieces through the planer. But if you don’t have one, you can easily use a hand sander.

Now it’s time to start transforming your drawers!

Start by attaching the longer horizontal strips. (You’re going to want to attach these first,  before you cut the smaller pieces to be sure you have just the right size.) Quickly check to be sure your boards are the correct length. When you have them just right, add wood glue to the back and place them down. It’s helpful (but not necessary) to then clamp them down. It will help keep them even when you use the staple gun! Speaking of… go ahead and use the staple gun to put a few staples (no more than 5) to give the board some extra staying power.

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When all the long boards have been placed, go ahead and cut the smaller pieces. Grab the 3 pieces of wood you set aside. Remember to measure each individually before cutting! Use the last 3 pieces to make the smaller, vertical pieces for the drawers. Use a miter saw to cut these pieces to approximately 4 7/16″ and glue and staple them to the drawer. (The size will probably vary a bit for each piece you cut. You will make multiple trips between the saw and the drawer making sure they are sized correctly.)

Pro Tip! While we waited for the drawer fronts to finish drying, I reinforced the plastic drawer runner with a small tack to keep them from wiggling around. This is not necessary, but doing it helps to add to the longevity of your nightstand. 

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Now comes the hard part… the moulding and the top piece.

The moulding was going to be the death of us. I was sure of it. 

Drama queen…

This next part may be a bit confusing. You are about to figure out how big your top piece is going to need to be. But before you can do this, you have to deal with the moulding. When you add moulding, you’re basically extending the length of the dresser. So you have to have the moulding cut and attached, before you can measure for the top. 

When it comes to the moulding, you kind of have to just wing it. It really turned into a guessing game for us. You just have to measure and cut until it looks exactly like you want it to. You’ll need to measure from the back of the dresser to the front but add an extra 3/4″ to account for the extra moulding that will eventually be on the front of the dresser. You’ll also need to add an extra 1 1/2″ to the width of the dresser for your front moulding piece.

 

Now, it’s time to actually attach the moulding and the top. There are many ways that you can do this, but this is what we found worked best for us! Flip the dresser upside down, and set your moulding in place. When it’s exactly how you want it, use some wood glue and a staple gun (with one inch staples) to attach the moulding.

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Good news! The hardest part is officially over!

Flip your dresser right side up… it’s time to add the top! Measure the new dimensions of your top with the moulding attached, ours came to 12 3/8″ deep, by 25 15/16″ wide. Grab your top piece (the 3/4 inch by 16 inch by 8 ft board that we had cut in half) and rip it with the table saw. Then use a radial arm saw to cut your board to the new width dimensions you took with the moulding.

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Grab your glue and put it all over your moulding and supports, then set the top down carefully. Once it’s dried a bit, go ahead and flip the dresser back over. You’re going to want to reinforce the top, to be sure it stays put. To do this, drill a screw into each inside corner. Don’t worry, it won’t hang out the top! (As long as you use a screw that isn’t too long! Be sure to measure. Our screws were about an inch and a quarter long.) By doing it this way, you won’t have to drill ugly holes in the beautiful new top of your dresser!

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The last piece is the decorative piece at the bottom. We found this awesome pattern on Pinterest! We just printed her pattern, cut and traced it on to the original bottom piece that came with the dresser. Once we had the pattern traced, we used a table saw to plunge cut in the middle of the pattern to make sure we had a straight cut from one side of the pattern to the other since there isn’t any fancy detailing other than on each side. We finished the pattern with a jig saw and sanded any rough edges. To set the piece in place we used a little bit of wood glue and a few staples into the sides of the dresser to hold it in place. We also decided to add some support to the back of the dresser. We cut some leftover wood to about 23″ (we cut it just over that and trimmed it down a few times to make sure it was snug) and attached it just like the front patterned piece, with some wood glue and staples.

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Guys… we’re almost done!

Now is also the time to use a nail set to get the staples below the wood, so we can fill them with putty later. This way, you won’t see them through the paint. Simply use your nail set and a hammer to sink all of the staples that might not have made it deep enough into the wood.

Pro Tip! Don’t glob on the wood putty. It dries really hard, and will be a lot harder to get off with the sander. Savannah put it on like she was adding frosting to a cupcake (you know… the more the better.) That much wood putty, doubled the sanding time. Be light handed! 

We spent A LOT of time sanding, filling cracks with wood putty and sanding some more. In fact, I bet you and your sander will be BFFs by the time this is over!

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Now, I apologize for the lack of photos for this next part. But luckily, it’s pretty self explanatory! Our time in Blissfield was up, and we still weren’t finished with our night stands. So I lugged them up to Manistee with me to paint them at my parents house in my basement dance studio. HAHA

You can choose any type of paint and any color you want. We wanted white, so we bought the Behr Marquee Indoor Matte Ultra White paint. I love this because the finish is beautiful and you don’t need a primer. I ended up putting 3 coats on. It really only needed two, but some spots were a little bit spotty. (My fault… not the paints.)

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The next step is totally optional. I added a polycrylic over my paint. I was sad because it did make it a little bit shiner, but I did it because I knew that it would help protect my paint. (We live in an apartment right now, and know eventually we will be moving out of it. We know that moving is rough on furniture, so I thought a little extra protection wouldn’t hurt!) If you do decide to do this, be sure it is a polycrylic that you use, and not a polyurethane. Polyurethane tends to leave a brownish tinge when it dries, a polycrylic will dry crystal clear!

I let it dry over night, then had my dad attach the handles for me using the screws that came with them. 

And voila! We have BEAUTIFUL new night stands that we absolutely love!

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These Rast dressers make the most perfect nightstands. Having drawers to throw our stuff in has been so amazing! Now, we don’t have stuff just laying next to our bed… it gets thrown in the drawers, keeping our bedroom looking nice and neat.

All those ugly little Rast dressers needed was a little TLC. And now every time I walk into my bedroom, my heart is so dang happy.

Are you planning to try out a Rast hack? If so, let me know! I’d love to hear how they turn out πŸ™‚

I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about mine. Happy Saturday!

Xx.
Savannah (And Trev too!)

PS… A HUGE thank you going out to Larry for spending his Sunday working on these with us. They turned out so perfectly, and honestly, we couldn’t have done it without him!!! He’s the best!

 

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5 thoughts on “The Ultimate Ikea Rast Hack

    1. I’m so glad you love it! Be sure to let me know how yours turn out πŸ™‚ And we got our lamps from Target! It’s the “Washed Wood Box Lamp” in the largest size. We absolutely love them!

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