Do you follow lifestyle blogs which feature gorgeous but hideously expensive coffee tables? Are your Pinterest boards jam packed full of vintage gems which have you wincing with envy? Do you browse Gumtree and eBay for Mid-Century treasures, only to find that none of them are for sale anywhere remotely close to you, and all are pickup only?
It’s a sad life for those of us with a hankering for retro style with a modern twist. Or so I thought, until I decided I would take things, quite literally, into my own hands, and bloody well make myself a coffee table in the desired style. When I say make, I mean update an existing table, and so I bring to you my very first IKEA hack!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 | A LACK coffee table (or similar)
2 | A little helper
3 | Wood glue
4 | Screws
5 | A drill (optional)
6 | Adhesive marble decal (that is wider that the table top)
7 | A hobby knife
8 | A cutting board
9 | Washers
10 | Hairpin legs
11 | A squeegee
Before we start, I have a few confessions to make. I didn’t buy a cutting board in advance of this project, and instead used one of the leftover table legs which just so happened to provide a large, flat surface. Don’t do this. Buy the cutting board. Also, buy the wood glue. Don’t screw the legs in place, only to have to unscrew them and add the glue the next day, after they’ve started falling out. It ain’t fun. Let’s keep this fun, OK?
Step 1 – Measure out the marble decal
Once you’ve removed the existing table legs, lay the table top flat on top of the marble decal. Following the grid on the back, mark the corners of the table and, using the hobby knife AND CUTTING BOARD cut a sort of plus sign shape out, so that there are flaps at each side. Remember, you’ll be wrapping the entire table top in this stuff, so you’ll need to keep some excess to fold over, onto the underside. Be very careful with the corner areas, as these will need to be as flush as possible to give a clean finish.
Step 2 – Cover the table top
This is the trickiest part of the project and, believe me when I say, it is not possible to complete without at least one extra person. So call in a favour from a friend, pester your neighbour or blackmail your other half, just make sure you have someone else on-hand to assist. Cats don’t count FYI.
Start with one of the side flaps. Peel back the non-adhesive paper stuck to the decal (what is this stuff called, seriously?) and carefully fold it underneath the top, as you’ll be peeling it even further back later to cover the upside of the table. Using the squeegee to oust any air bubbles, fold the decal over the edge of the table and onto the underside.
Next, flip the table over, so that its upside is facing, well, upwards. Begin peeling the main bulk of the marble decal and, using the squeegee, smooth the adhesive paper over the table’s surface. The side flaps will be uncovered at this point, too, so try to make sure they don’t get stuck to the floor during this process.
Once you’ve dealt with the top of the table, flip it back over and do the side flaps, lining up the corners as neatly as you can. You may need to very carefully cut away any excess paper with the hobby knife.
Step 3 – Attach the legs
Give yourself and your accomplice a pat on the back because the hard part is over! Next, you need to screw on the table legs. For a coffee table, you are fine getting 2 rod legs like I did; for anything heavier, you should probably go for 3 rod. I chose the unfinished finish as it was cheapest, and I like the industrial kind of touch it gives the table.
Mark the holes where you’ll be attaching the legs and, if you need a little help in the upper body strength department, use a tiny drill bit to drill a tiny hole on each mark. The idea is to drill a hole that is substantially shorter than the screw, so the screw can get a grip inside but has an easier entrance. If you’re stronger than the rest of us, you can always use a hammer or just, you know, start screwing into the wood without using the drill at all.
But do use the wood glue. Dab a bit into each hole, dip the screws in it briefly and use washers to make things all the more secure.
Has it ever been easier to get Mid-Century style in your living room? No, I think not. At a fraction of the price of West Elm and the like, doing it yo’self really is the way forward.
Have you completed an IKEA hack or other DIY recently? Let me know what you made in the comments!