Speaking of, I was able to piece together an IKEA hack job for Mari's birthday, with the help of my handy dad. While Eddie was traveling in the weeks leading up to the big day, my dad helped me transform an IKEA favorite, the Mala Easel, to a brighter, more personalized piece for Mari's room.
+ white spray paint (I like a white satin or semi-gloss)
+ painter's tape and newspaper to cover what you don't want painted
+ piece of galvanized magnetic steel, which you can find at your local Lowe's or Home Depot (you may have to cut it on your own, so make sure you have the right kind of snips as recommended by the sales people)
+ heavy duty velcro tape
+ contact paper of your choice (see notes below)
+ for the finishing touches: lots of chalk and magnets
After we taped off and sprayed the easel, I let it dry for a couple of days to really harden before doing anything else.
Onto the tray: To get a two-toned look that blends well with Mari's room, I left the tray in natural wood, but covered up the bright red paint that lines it with sticky white contact paper. I covered the white paper with a removable piece of clear plastic ribbed shelf liner, which has been amazing. Whenever it's looking a bit too chalky, I take it out, wipe it clean with a sponge and it's brand new. This discovery came from a conversation with another friendly shopper while in major indecision mode at Target.
By the way, I know there is such thing as magnetic spray paint. After reading lots of online reviews, I opted for the real steel deal which is said to have a much stronger magnetic charge than any kind of paint. If you have ever used magnetic spray paint, I'd love to hear about it, so do tell in the comments!
A note on painting while pregnant: you need a helping hand. Not even a mask will do with the harsh chemicals of spray paint, in my opinion. That's when your dad who subs in for your traveling husband comes in really handy. Thanks, dad!