Perhaps you, like me, are inspired by all that creative repurposing happening over at IKEA hackers.
Perhaps you, like me, have some old IKEA furniture cluttering your basement. Like, say, this side table (above): an IKEA original, that we bought at a garage sale in 2006 for, I believe, $6.
Perhaps you, like me, have found yourself at home, with a car in the shop, on a rainy summer's afternoon with three kids who all thwarted their naps.
PREPARING THE SPACE:
It was an easy project to pull together, really. Once I took deep breath and realized: (a) my little side table would be funkified forever, and (b) it was going to be messy. In theory, I like messes. And funky tables. And Dear Husband was going to be home earlier than usual on this particular afternoon to help. So I talked myself into it.
- I set up a big blanket (an upside down quilt that we often use for picnics) in the middle of the kitchen floor.
- I set up the Learning Tower as the paint stand, with three paint brushes and a few bowls of water-based paint. I used acrylic paints, for the extra shine and texture, but you could also use tempera.
- I set the IKEA side table on the floor blanket. What a curiously fun three-dimensional thing to paint!
- I dressed the kids in clothes that didn't need to be recovered.
THE ART PROJECT PROCESS:
This one was very simple.
- Add children to the room.
- Explain to your three-year-old that this project is about painting the side table (not, ahem, the kitchen cabinets).
- Get out of their way.
THE CLEAN UP:
Once the enthusiasm for the painting project starts winding down, put out a sudsy bowl of water and some rags for clean up.
- Thank your lucky stars your husband just came home to help. Especially if you are simultaneously trying to photograph all of this for your blog.
- Help the kids clean up with a rag. Don't forget the bottoms of their feet!
- Corral them one-by-one into a "clean space" while you help wash the others. Note: your children might not like this part. (see the photo of Buddy Boy and Miss Bee protesting, below). Don't worry: they'll be okay.
The funky table actually turned out kind of pretty! My plan is to seal it up with some matte Modge Podge and probably some of that spray stuff that makes it not tacky-feeling. Then perhaps we'll find a place in our house to use it. Maybe the kids' bathroom?
After the kids were in the clean space and engaged in something else, I came back (before the paint dried!) and cleaned off the white kitchen cabinets. (A special shout-out to my landlords... Hi there, Jim and Judy! I got all the paint off the cabinets! And the floor, too! I promise! :) )
The rest of the mess on top of the blanket -- the drying IKEA table, the glass paint bowls, the wet laundry -- I left alone until after the kids went to bed.
I forgot to take a photo of the finished table, standing upright. And now the table is at home in Rhode Island and we're in California, still visiting my parents. Sorry about that.
This spontaneous "IKEA hack" art project turned out to be one of my favorites this summer. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I'm a big fan of experiential, play-based learning. There's few things I enjoy more with my kids than open-ended, process-driven art projects.
When I'm looking for new play-based learning activities to try, I often check out these two wonderful blogs: Playful Learning and TinkerLab. Perhaps if you are still reading this post, you'll enjoy the ideas over there, too!