Thursday, 3 July 2014

Adventures in DIY - the Ikea Lack table edition

When we moved into this flat of ours it was unfurnished and whilst that sounds great in theory - a great opportunity to start building up a stock of furniture of your own, rather than being stuck with your landlord's cast-offs - it doesn't quite hit you quite what unfurnished means until you're standing in an empty flat realising that you don't actually own any furniture other than a super awesome comic book table that you made yourself.

Luckily for me Heather came to my rescue - she had an armchair that she no longer needed and then threw in an Ikea Lack table just for funsies.

At the time I didn't think that I really needed a table but clearly I was an idiot and it is our main coffee table. It is where my laptop rests when blogging, where cups of teas are left to go cold, where we sit back and put our feet up - in short, the centre of the room.

After writing this post for BEDM about creating some kind of colour theme and bringing all our furniture together under a beautiful banner of grey and yellow I decided that I really ought to do something about it instead of just talking and pinning about it.

I'd seen a multitude of blog posts and online tutorials about the wonders of Plastikote spray paint. You don't just paint stuff any more it would seem, you spraypainted stuff. That's what all the cool interior kids were doing and it was so easy peasy lemon squeezy that anyone could do it.

I decided I would do things by the book this time around. I am not a patient person and that's why painting and decorating is hard for me. You have to wait for a really long time until everything is done and comes together. I am always a person who likes to skip to the end immediately. But I steeled myself and reminded myself that I was going to do this properly and that meant priming first before anything fun could be done.

I got me some primer and set myself up with my newspaper and happily primed away, feeling terribly smug with myself.

Then I realised that I was going to have to wait for it to dry and I wouldn't even be able to begin spray painting for possibly days until there was a break in the weather or time to do it.

So I cracked on with a mini project - painting some brown coasters using some tester pots in varying shades of yellow and grey that I had picked up from Wickes. No priming this time. I needed to see some quick results.

The next day, with my spray paint clutched in my hand I ventured out on to the grassy area outside our flats which provided me with lots of room to wield my can. I had used the Plastikote website to work out how much spray paint I needed and had gone with their Fast Dry Enamel in Buttercup Yellow.

I felt a little conspicuous as a stood out on the grass, shaking my can which seemed to echo ominously and telling myself over and over again that no-one was looking out of their window and wondering what the hell that girl was doing with the spray paint.

It turns out that I am seriously lacking when it comes to calculating how much spray paint I need. One can of spray paint only managed to cover the top of the table and the outside of some of the legs before running out completely.


But I felt good about how good it was going to look when it was finished.

We took the table back upstairs to the flat and I went to the B&Q website and ordered two more cans. Only to be phoned up two days later and told that they had run out and would only be sending me one can of spray paint. Ok, fine, I can make my peace with that.

Except that when we opened up my one can the nozzle had broken off in transport. We decided we'd try and fix it and The Person dutifully stepped forward to sort it out. It mainly resulted in spray paint going everywhere, mostly all over our hands.

Half the can was wasted and what I had managed to spray had come out in glibs and globs and left splatter marks all over the table top and I still didn't have enough to finish the legs of the table.

I immediately threw a bit of a shit fit which very nearly culminated in tears and was only saved by the fact that I managed to stroke two random cats whilst waiting for the table to dry.

And back up the stairs we trudged with the table and I hit up Amazon this time to order yet another can.

This can arrived and guess what? The nozzle had broken during transportation.

At this point I was ready to turn blue in the face and blow up like Rumpelstiltskin but The Person assured me that this time he knew how to fix it and would do so with minimal loss of spray paint. His hands again ended up covered in paint but the results were slightly less catastrophic and I set out with one mission in mind - just to get this bloody table finished because there was no way on god's earth I was going to come outside again for the fourth time that week and be the Crazy Lady with the Yellow Table on the Grass again.

The finished result is by no means perfect. Spray painting is not as easy as they make out and it is hard to get a good technique going and not end up with big drippy bits of spray paint. The splatters on the top of the table are still kind of visible but probably only really to me.

And if it hadn't have been for having to order replacement spray paint twice the whole makeover would have taken hardly any time at all - the paint is touch dry within 45 minutes so if you got up first thing in the morning to prime and spray paint you could easily have it done in a day.

The cost of this is a bit of a hazy one due to a number of reasons:

  • Can 1 - free because somehow the man at The Range forgot to charge me for it, even though I definitely saw him scan it.
  • Can 2 - £3.98 because B&Q refunded me the delivery cost seeing as they could only send me one of the two cans that I wanted
  • Can 3 - £5.76 p+p
I'm not entirely sure how these DIY mishaps seem only to happen to me, it doesn't really seem fair but obviously the God of DIY doesn't shine his kindly face down on mine.

And my coasters look pretty damn cool either sitting on my new table or placed on the side tables that we have, slowly but surely starting to bring the whole scheme together.

At the moment I'm not entirely sure where I stand on painting vs spray painting. Unfortunately the speed and easiness of spray painting something has been tainted by the fact that I had to make multiple efforts to buy enough to cover my damn table, but it definitely isn't as easy to get a smooth coverage as everyone makes out.

My main lessons from this experience?

  1. If you want to do picture frames or other small items go for the 100ml Fast Dry Enamel, otherwise, you're gonna need a bigger spray can
  2. Don't buy your spray paint online - no matter how well it was wrapped both of mine from two different suppliers broke in transit
  3. If it does turn up broken, just send the damn thing back rather than trying to fix it yourself
  4. If you do fix it yourself be warned that spray paint does not come off your hands easily
  5. If you are not lucky enough to have a garden and have to do this out in public like I did, build up nerves of steel to cope with the abject paranoia that everyone is looking at you as if you are a total lunatic
  6. You have to spray paint outside. Being outside means bugs get spray painted on to your shit. I don't even know what you're supposed to do about that one
  7. I might want to consider calling in a professional for all other furniture makeovers I want to undertake.


  1. It looks SO good though - but yeah, I've got as far as priming the writing desk I was given when I moved in, um, 6yrs ago and still haven't got around to painting it.

  2. I was planning a spray paint project. I think I'm going to back away slowly from the spray paint now! Your table looks bloody brilliant, but I'm not sold I will be able to hand this much stress!

  3. Yellow and grey is such a lovely combination, I'm totally with you on this one. The table looks fab, so cheerful!

  4. Everyone has DIY disasters, but most aren't honest enough to confess to it.
    I do have a garden, but am still paranoid that the neighbours watch everything I do and have a little chuckle to themselves (although actually my neighbours are very nice - but you still can't help feel a bit 'on show')
    The table looks great to me!

  5. Oh this looks LOVELY, the colour is ace! I don't really do DIY but I want to paint something now!

    Maria xxx

  6. It looks really good! Love the coasters too. I spray painted something luminous yellow once... I didn't put enough sheeting down and we ended up with a fine mist of luminous paint around the edge of the sheet I'd put down (which was on the top of our chest freezer in the end room). Lesson learned.
    I have to admit to wanting to jump to the end bit of any DIY project, I hate the preparation, it took me weeks to finish my office. It is all worth it though when you can sit back and admire your handiwork.

  7. Considering all the mishaps it looks an awesome - I love the yellow. We've inherited a couple of random old vintage bits and bobs of the years that need revamping, of which i'm more scared about attempting to fix then I let on!

    Too many times have i tried to paint something that I left on the top of newspaper to dry and then end up having to struggle at my lame attempt of getting the newspaper marks of the then dried paint.

  8. Argh, I was on the verge of plastikoting our bathroom cabinet but I think I might just go for good old gloss paint now instead! The finished result is fab though so that must give you a warm glow? You definitely need a yellow and grey crocheted something to really bring the room together I feel ;)


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