Posted by Sheela Cooper:
Perhaps this post should be titled, “The Little RAST that Could.” If you’ve made a few rounds through home décor blogs, you have most likely come across an Ikea RAST dresser hack. It’s amazing how versatile this little $35 pine dresser really is, and even more amazing is the amount of creativity that talented DIYers put into making these dressers unique and upscale.
I decided the RAST would be the perfect size for nightstands in our room, since our existing ones were old and far too low for our pillowtop bed. So with a bit of work, the dressers went from looking like this, to this:
If you’d like this look for your RAST (or other piece of furniture), this tutorial will help you get it. And a bonus feature: the products I used are non-toxic, can be used indoors, and are easy to find at most craft stores! (No confusing trips to the home improvement store or fancy products needed!)
Here’s what you’ll need:
Another bonus is that all of these finishing materials will cost you only about $15 - $20 total (depending on whether you use craft store coupons or find a good sale). Three other supplies you’ll need are white primer, brewed coffee, and some inexpensive balsamic vinegar (don’t waste your imported Italian kind!)
Let’s get started!
Assemble your RAST dresser, but don’t put the particle board back on. Also hold off on putting the drawers, knobs, and stops into the dresser frame. This will make it easier for you to finish your dresser.
Brew some double strength coffee and cool it to room temperature. Using a foam paint brush, “paint” the coffee onto your dresser frame (not the drawers). Once it soaks in, add one more coat of coffee.
When the coffee is mostly absorbed but the wood still feels damp to the touch, apply the antiquing medium. Use a foam brush to place a small amount on one section of the dresser. Immediately rub the medium into the wood with a soft cloth (an old t-shirt works well). You’ll need to put some muscle into it to get a soft, uniform finish. You can use circular as well as back and forth motions to get all of the medium rubbed in with no distinct edges. Repeat in sections until entire dresser frame is covered. A little bit of the medium goes a long way - I used about 2/3 of that little bottle to cover both of my nightstands.
Allow dresser to dry completely (it doesn’t take long, maybe an hour). Fill a small bowl with balsamic vinegar. Using a soft cloth or strong paper towel, rub the vinegar in long even strokes onto the dresser. Wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. Allow dresser to dry overnight.
Dresser on right with the vinegar vs. dresser on left without:
Apply Mod Podge (Hard Coat finish for furniture) to dresser with a good quality paint brush. Don’t use a foam brush, or you will have bubbles in your finish. I used 3 coats and used the whole bottle for both dressers. You’ll need about 20 minutes drying time between each coat. When the final coat of Mod Podge is completely dry, nail the particle board back onto your dresser frame.
Prime your drawer fronts with white primer for your faux zinc finish. I used 2 coats of primer. You cannot skip this step; if you do, your finish will not come out right, and you’ll risk the pine sap bleeding through your paint job. Allow primer to dry thoroughly.
Mix the metallic silver craft paint with a good amount of black craft paint in one container to make a dark silver. I used Martha Stewart’s sterling silver metallic paint. Make another mix of the paints, but use less black to make it lighter than the first batch. There’s no perfect ratio here, but here’s a picture of my lighter paint to give you an idea of what mine looked like:
Using a soft cloth, wipe on the darker paint, working in sections (this paint dries quickly). Then wipe on the lighter paint, doing your best to have a smooth finish. This painting technique will NOT result in a totally smooth, glossy finish, which is a good thing, since we are going for the look of zinc, which has indentations, crinkles, etc. You’ll need a couple of coats of paint – if some spots looks too light, just go back over them with the paints. When you have good coverage (whatever you are happy with), allow drawers to dry. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the drawers as well. You do not need to apply any paint or finish to the outer sides or the insides of the drawers.
Here are mine after this step:
Mix up a light glaze using a 1:1 ratio of glazing medium to water. Add a small squeeze of silver paint and a small squeeze of white paint and mix it all together. Wipe this glaze onto drawer fronts using a soft cloth. Allow to dry. This process lightens the paint a bit while adding some depth. *Note – the glazing medium is the only product I used that doesn’t specifically say “non-toxic,” but it does conform to ASTM-D. It has a strong smell to it, but it goes away quickly once it’s dry.
Mix up a darker glaze using a 1:1 ratio of glazing medium to water. Add a small squeeze of silver paint and a larger squeeze of black paint and mix well. Use a soft rag to add darker detail to sections of your drawers – this is an important step, since this helps add depth to the finish so it looks more like zinc that’s developing a bit of patina. You can wipe it onto some areas, place small spots of it in other areas, etc. There’s no perfect way to do it, so just experiment until you’re happy with the look. Here’s how some of mine turned out:
Wax the drawers when the paint is completely dry. I used the George’s Clubhouse wax pictured, but if you have a different furniture wax that you like, use that.
Of course, the hardware on the drawers is the true finishing touch. Attach knobs of your choice to the drawers, place drawers into dresser frame, and add the drawer stops. You’re done! Step back and admire your gorgeous new dresser! And if you need to find beautiful hardware, homefromindia.com has some beautiful options.
I’ll leave you with a few beauty shots. If you try this look, please leave a comment and let us know about your experience!
Note: I have no affiliation with any of the products or companies mentioned in this post. I just like these products. Use caution and take necessary safety precautions when using any products and doing any DIY project.