Costume design, vintage sewing machines, painting

Anything IKEA can make, I can make better!

When you need some cheap and decent-looking furniture, you really can’t go wrong with IKEA, for a couple of years anyway!  Hubby & I purchased an IKEA LACK coffee table a few years ago; basic shape, functional, good size & ridiculously cheap (around $40).  After some abuse by toddlers, etc . . . The table was looking pretty sad.  One leg had broken off & was sloppily reattached with Gorilla Glue (my handiwork).  There was a deep gouge in the top as well as various bubbles in the veneer.  In the basement it sat, until I saw some great IKEA hacks online & decidied to do something about it!


I wanted to decoupage something, so I initially picked up some funky scrapbook papers & Mod Podge & went to work.  Well, I hated it.  The paper was too thin, and enhanced every flaw in the table.  So I ripped it off & went off in search of another material for the covering.  Since I have a tremendous fabric stash (that taunts me daily) I dug through and found a good-size piece of a beige/white striped twill upholstery fabric that I had used to recover a chair.  I also wanted to cover the side of the tabletop, & found a spool of twine in my stash as well.  The only thing I needed to purchase for this project was a 16 oz bottle of matte Mod Podge!


  1. First I cleaned the table with a strong kitchen cleaner that would remove any oils that would prevent the fabric from adhering to the tabletop.
  2. I then cut my fabric to be 1″ wider than the table all round. 
  3. I started applying the Mod Podge to the tabletop with a 2″ angled paintbrush, in a relatively thick application. 
  4. I worked in 12″ stripes, starting on one of the short ends. 
  5. After covering the first 12″ with the adhesive, I carefully laid the fabric over the adhesive, leaving the 1″ hanging over the edges.
  6. I smoothed the fabric down firmly as I worked.  The adhesive allows for a little bit of wiggle & shifting if necessary. If you’re working with stripes, it’s important to make sure your stripes follow the edge of your table, otherwise it’ll look wonky.
  7. I continued working in 12″ stripes until the table was covered & I was happy with the positioning.
  8. I then coated the edges of the table with Mod Podge & folded the remaining fabric down like wrapping a present.  Don’t stress too much about this part, it will be covered with twine. Apply a topcoat of the Mod Podge to the tabletop, and let dry for about an hour or two.
  9. Break time! Sit with a hot coffee, tea, or cocktail of your choice & give your back a rest!
  10. My fabric was very “toothy” and I was concerned about spills, so once it was dry, I lightly sanded the surface with a very fine grain sandpaper (120 is good), and applied a topcoat of polyurethane to help seal it.

OK, so far so good, pretty quick & easy.  The side trim, however, was a PAIN! This was primarily due to how thin the twine was that I chose to use.  I’d highly recommend using something wider (not necessarily thicker).  A trim that is exactly the width of the side edge would be ideal!! Check your local fabric/craft store, it would take roughly 5 yards of 2″ wide trim for this particular coffee table.  Back to reality, here’s how I did it:

  1. Starting at the top of the trim edge, apply a stripe of Mod Podge with a 1/2″ angled paintbrush along one side.
  2. Lay your trim over the adhesive, pressing firmly into place, move onto the adjoining side & repeat. You may need to use a small piece of masking tape to hold your starting edge in place.
  3. You are essentially wrapping the table in twine, held in place with the adhesive.
  4. It is time consuming, I recommmend frequent breaks & kneepads, if you have them.
  5. Keep going, and going, and going, I’ll be over here reading a good book . . .
  6. Done? Good, use another piece of masking tape to hold the end in place until dry.
  7. Let dry for a couple hours & carefully remove the tape.
  8. Apply a topcoat of the Mod Podge to the twine; this will fill in any cracks & make sure it’s good & stuck.
  9. Let dry & voila! A new-to-you table!

I have additional plans for this table:

  • I’d like to cover the under-shelf using the same treatment.
  • I’d permanently attach the undershelf to the legs using 4 small, decorative ‘L’ brackets
  • Since the rest of the table would be completely covered, I may eventually have to do something with the legs, maybe just paint them a darker color for contrast.

Parting words of wisdom: Don’t be afraid to paint, glue or recover ANYTHING, especially if it’s an ugly $40 table that’s been collecting dust!


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This entry was posted on May 3, 2011 by and tagged , , .