ikea DIY: chalkboard + magnetic easel.

Hello, August. I'm looking forward to what you have to offer. Things like... taking advantage of summer peaches before it's too late, making sure to make more popsicles, all things back-to-school and the kickoff of football season. I'm also anxious to take advantage of this second trimester and do some major DIY / home projects.

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.
This is a simple DIY. Since everything IKEA comes disassembled, it's ready for you to tape up and paint. On the opposite side, I covered the whiteboard that comes with the easel with a piece of cut-to-size galvanized magnetic steel for Mari to have some magnetic fun (and take the burden off of our refrigerator (read: bonus for me)).
All you need:
+ 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.
For the magnetic board, make sure you test the piece of steel with a magnet before you walk out of the store and find out how best to cut it. If you don't own some sharp snippers, find out what you may need to buy. Once we measured and cut down to fit exactly (it took several tries of perfectionism), we wiped down the board with a damp paper towel to break it in, and used sticky velcro tape to adhere it to the easel. I love velcro tape almost as much as I love painter's tape.

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!
Weeks later, Mari is still loving the new, creative addition to her room, and so am I. I do most of the drawing and she does most of the chalk arranging in the tray. She's very busy and likes to make sure the chalk is happy in its new home.

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!


Natalie said...

I love this! I am DIY crazy. Colton already has a chalkboard/whiteboard/magnet thingo in his room, but this would be a fun project for our baby girl, who incidentally, should be arriving this week!

Hope you're feeling great. xoxo Nat

Karen said...

What a great art station for Mari. I'm sure this will serve as solid entertainment for years to come.
Great job, Dick. :D

Casey Gruber said...

I love the idea of galvanized metal! I used magnetic paint and then painted over it with chalkboard paint on a few Ikea frames to put up the kids art projects. It works ok but it was a little bit rough, I think I needed better brushes. What a great gift idea!

paper{whites} said...

Casey - thanks for the feedback (and great idea w/the frames) - is the magnetism strong even with the paint over it?

jelly andrews said...

Oh my! This is so cute. I love this project. And I am inspired to do this project too. It would be a great way to have my favourite photo on display.

Sarah said...

Love this!! Where did you find those cute magnets?

Hal & Chelsea Kuepper said...

Your transformation is beautiful!! Do you remember what size you cut the metal? I am a kindergarten teacher looking for a way to magnetize my easel, but don't want to mess with the paint either! :)