Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Happy Fun Time with Small Ikea Projects.

Even though our closest Ikea is only about 14 miles away it takes an hour to drive there if traffic is moving well.  Our first visit was on a Friday afternoon late last summer shortly after we moved here and it was packed.  When I decided return this past Wednesday I chose to go by myself and arrived just after their 10 am opening, carefully backing in to my parking space.

Previously we had parked front end first as we are used to in the US.  We were the only vehicle there parked like that.  Most drivers in Japan seem to back-in park.  I assume it is due to the population density and the number of people always walking and riding bikes.  It is safer to back in to a parking space where people are unlikely to be than to back out of that space where people are guaranteed to be.  Then when you leave, facing outward, you can easily see anyone moving.  I am grateful for our small car because backing in a right-side drive vehicle takes some a lot of practice after operating as a left-side driver for twenty years.

The number of shoppers this time seemed similar to what I am familiar with in the States so I was able to take my time following the path around the store.  I worked comfortably off my prepared list and found most of what I was looking for.  

Top priority on my list was the Bekvam step stool for our bathroom; I looked for it on our previous trip but it was sold out.  Various hygiene tasks are simpler to perform while sitting, such as clipping your nails.  The toilet lid is generally the default location to sit in a bathroom.  The plastic lid on our industrial/commercial commode, however, is too flexible and bends inward with any weight.  This leaves the bathtub edge to sit on which is not comfortable in the least.

Hence, the step stool.  Not only is it versatile enough for use an almost any room, at ¥1533 (~$15) it was one of the most inexpensive options.  

I chose the natural wood and stained the pieces outside a couple days ago with two coats of the Behandla glazing paint.  I put it together yesterday and am impressed with its solidity, not a creak or wobble at all, and it fits perfectly under the sink.

The shelves pictured here on the left are a future project.  I picked up the set for $5 but one of them must be cured of it's unfortunate white sponge paint.  I am considering whether to paint both or just the one, and what type of paint to use over the laminate surface.

The black Kassett magazine files are new also.  I have other pieces in the series and these were on my list.

Using the same Ikea glaze I stained these two small unfinished cigar boxes I picked up at our local thrift store for 75¢ each.  They had some cutesy decoration things glued on the tops that I gently, but easily, pried off.  Then I sanded off the glue residue.

You can also see here some of the Kassett series boxes bought previously that are no longer available.  I use them for storing medium sized photo prints and albums.

The remaining Ikea items I bought are photo frames.  I carefully measured the sizes I needed and researched the metric equivalent to find the appropriate sizes for my needs.  

We have a window at the top of our stairs with blank walls on either side demanding art.  Because the light is usually dim in this hallway I wanted some large but simple photographs to hang there.  I waited (and waited) until Mpix ran a sale and ordered 20 inch square prints of two macro photos I took this past spring.  The Nyttja frames are 50 cm square, about half an inch off, but since they are upstairs I can alter the framing just a bit and it won't be as noticeable.  We shall see how it works out when the prints arrive.


  1. Your step stool looks great! How did you apply the Behandla glazing paint? I am about to being a similar project using the IKEA glazing paint.

    1. Thank you. I just leaned the pieces up outside on a flattened cardboard box and applied the glaze with basic a 1-inch paint brush while wearing disposable gloves to protect my hands. The glaze is not water based so you will need a paint thinner to clean your brush and any spills. The stool looks nice but it does have a rough texture and slightly uneven finish because I did not want to sand the wood prior to painting; doing so would probably increase the feel and look of the finish. Since it is in a bathroom with a folded towel on top I am not too concerned with perfection in this case.

      If I had a garage to escape the wind I would probably of used a spray finish, but I still find a brush less messy. Have fun!