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IKEA hack – Rustic Hemnes Upcycle


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Click to watch YouTube Tutorial – 

I had seen that Ikea’s hack Hemnes draws were potentially made out of real wood and seen some beautiful updates like the one below. But quickly realised mine was not one of those. Mine was made out of MDF and laminate so I had to get creative if I still wanted to fulfill my dreams of upcycling it to be a beautiful wooden dresser to match my rustic industrial home.

This was the inspo post I looked at Saida Stiles – Ikea Dresser Makeover

So I wanted to try and recreate something like this, now if you follow me over on @TheWhiteThistle you’ll know I absolutely love Frenchic and use it for all of my makeovers, because it is a water based, self-priming, self-sealing and easy to use, it has self-levelling properties, meaning little to no brush marks. You do need to be a little careful with it for about 2 weeks after painting as the paint cures it get stronger.

For more advice, tips and inspiration join my Facebook Community: Upcycled & Flipped 

Tools & Equipment for this IKEA hack:

Step by Step IKEA hack:

  1. Start by painting two thin coats of Salt of the Earth it may look a little steaky but that’s ok as it only adds to the grain look!IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
  2. Once dry paint on a thick coat of Cream Dream
IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
Cream Dream
  • Immidiately use the Grain tool to score the paint – for best results run the tool from one end of the furniture to the other in one long stroke. Wiggle the tool back and forth as you drag it to get different effects and try switching the end you drag the tool from on alternate passes as it will give a more natural look rather than having the same pattern repeat. This will take quite a while to dry you need to leave it to fully dry as there will be thick parts to the paint that will take a lot longer. Feel free to take a hairdryer to the paint if you’re impatient like me. Trust me when I say it will look odd but you have to trust the process.
  • IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
    After grain tool through Cream Dream
  • While you’re waiting for the drawers and top to dry paint the body. I used Loof which is black but you can go for any colour you like.
  • Paint another coat of Salt of the Earth (you want this to be really thin) to do this dip your brush and use a spray bottle of water and spray the paint and brush. This should be enough paint to cover the entire drawer. If it looks too thick spray your brush again and drag some of the paint off.
  • IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
    Thin top layer of Salt of the Earth
  • Once everything is dry use Browing Wax to bring the paint to life and give it a more realistic look. Dip your brush in the wax and brush it on like paint – do not overload your brush, less is more here.
  • IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
    Finished with Browning Wax


    Q: Can you use other colours/waxes

    A: Yes I actually tried just cream dream and browning wax initially and it turned out lovely I just wanted a more contrasting effect colour on this piece.

    IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
    Cream Dream Undercoat
    IKEA hack - Rustic Hemnes Upcycle | The White Thistle
    Salt of the Earth Undercoat

    Q: Could you do this for a kitchen worktop

    A: having personally never done it I cannot comment honestly but if I were to do it I would make sure to seal it with a varnish like Osmo which is clear and matt after the browning wax had fully dried

    Q: Where is the painting in the frame from

    A: it is from a lovely lady I follow on Instagram @e.t.shown_home

    Q: Is the IKEA Hemnes dresser not made out of wood?

    A: Some are and some aren’t the simplest way to tell apparently (someone who works for Ikea told me) is you can see the wood grain under the paint of the ones made from wood and the ones that arent the finish looks shiny. And if in doubt you can always sand back a little bit and you will soon see

    For more advice, tips and inspiration join my Facebook Community: Upcycled & Flipped 


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