November 28, 2011

My Artful Ikea Expedit Hack



I have many unsightly items stored on my Expedit bookcase, including spiral bound texts, ratty library books and stacks of student papers, waiting to be graded. I love the little door we bought to hide the electronic equipment (bottom left) but those doors are expensive, so I DIY'd my own version.  I used painted canvases hung on hooks to hide my bookshelf clutter and the whole project cost about the price of just one Ikea Expedit door



Supplies:
  • 4mm Screw Eyes (Lee Valley - $1.90 for 100)
  • 1/2" Cup Hooks (Lee Valley - $2.70 for 100)
  • 12x12 canvases (Michael's - $29.99 for pack of 7, less with a 40% off coupon!)
  • Paint/paint brushes
  • Motivation (this is always the hardest to come by, for me)

Before Picking up a Tool:

1. I took everything off the Expedit.  Made a huge mess.  Started to cry.
2. I dusted and gave the Expedit a good, thorough clean. 
3. I put everything back on the Expedit and fiddled with the arrangement, taping up some paper to get a sense of where the paintings should go.


Then I marched down to the basement, also known as the pit of despair, and worked on a few paintings.  Two never made the cut, but the five that did were installed as swinging "doors" on my Expedit.


Install was simple:

1. We measured where the hooks should go, marking the measurement on tape instead of the shelf.
2. We installed the hooks using pliers, then removed the tape.
3. We added two screw eyes to each canvas - carefully measuring the distance each time because the canvases aren't 100% uniform.


The "doors" easily swing or come off to access what is behind, but hide the clutter and general ugliness perfectly.


Finished Product:




I tried to create some balance between covered cubbies, cubbies with books, cubbies with magazine files (like the ones I just painted) and cubbies with objets d'art (and tchotchkes). 


My chevron plans came to fruition!



My painted magazine files look just right

    53 comments:

    1. Wow! That looks great! And it's so subtle. I didn't even notice any of the painting immediately except for the chevrons. I love the colours you used.

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    2. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! This is really awesome! I certainly have a few less than magazine worthy items on my expedit. This is a great way to cover them up and add some chic. I'll be copying you for sure. Well done!

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    3. Such a creative solution! I may have to borrow this idea for our bookshelves. I don't like how messy my books can look, but I just can't bear to box them up and stick them in the garage. Thanks for sharing!

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    4. This looks amazing! Love the colors! We may have to try something like this. My husband has taken over a bookcase and stuffed it with DVD's. It looks awful. This might be a fun way to cover all that clutter and still let him get to the movies (and games) What a great project, thanks for the share :)

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    5. THAT IS JUST SUPER COOL! IT'S SO COOL IN FACT THAT I HAVE TO SAY IT IN ALL-CAPS! No seriously! I recently bought boxes from Ikea but they have a strong chemical smell and I need them for storing clothes. Every other thing I could think of was too expensive. I do, however, have tons of unused art inspirations and canvases! Wheee :-D

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    6. L.O.V.E it! Tanya, the idea is just awesome!
      I'm so going to copy it:)
      The book case looks amazing!

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    7. Everything is better with art. This looks awesome!

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    8. What a great idea! It looks fantastic! So orderly, artsy, and functional. Give yourself a pat on the back.

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    9. Sorry if I missed it but did you paint the art in this post? Would love to see pics of the small art. I love them!

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    10. Thanks for the positive feeback, everyone! I am so excited to hear that some of you might give this idea a whirl. Send me photos if you do!

      Renee: yes, I did paint the five paintings I used as doors. I am planning a post with a rough how-to with more pics so check back :)

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    11. Such a cute idea! Jenn and Joe went to Ikea yesterday for more boxes and doors for their Expedit, where they store books and toys. I don't think a 2-year-old could be careful enough not to loosen the hooks...but I'm wondering if something similar could be done with canvases and small hinges.

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    12. Hi Dana,

      The hooks are pretty sturdy because they are screwed right in. It would take some real tugging to cause any damage (things need to be tough for us not break them ourselves). But hinges would work too - might need a custom canvas, or be happy with an off centred look because the cubbies are about 13x13 but the canvases are 12x12. (It is hard to see the space in some photos).

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    13. Wow, this is too amazing for words. You're a genius!!

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    14. This looks amazing! How lucky that the canvases with the hooks hang perfectly centered!! Love your paintings too! Great idea!

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    15. Great idea Tanya. Simple, useful, and pretty too!

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    16. I love it!! Those paintings you did are gorgeous :)

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    17. That is such a great idea. Love those paintings. Are you thinking about selling your paintings? People would love them.

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    18. Clever girl! Way behind on my blog reading, but love this idea. Would have to commission you to do the artwork! M.

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    19. What a great idea! So creative.

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    20. Awww, Mandi & Beatrice, you're both so sweet and complimentary.

      I actually, for the first time, looked into an etsy page after I received some emails about folks wanting to buy my spiders, but I was scared away. I'm petrified my things won't sell, and etsy costs money to list - even if I don't sell the item. Eeek. Pressure!

      I'll try to post better tutorials on how I make my paintings. I just don't think of anything I make as good enough to sell . . . but thanks for your kind words.

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    21. aw, i love it! i'm definitely going to have to keep this in mind when i move to my condo, where i plan to get a 5x5 expedit. i have lots of things to store, but many are too fugly to be seen on a regular basis.

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    22. I LOVE this idea! Did you post it on ikeahackers.net? I'm sure other ikea lovers will go gaga over this idea.

      I'm pretty excited about the new store in our fair city, although I'm sure it would be a disaster to go there before or right after Christmas!

      Emilie
      www.liveeatsmile.blogspot.com

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    23. Tanya.......you are my hero!! I AM IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    24. great job! Everything looks so neat and put together!

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    25. Thanks everyone!

      Emilie, I did submit it to Ikea Hackers . . . we'll see if I'm hacker material. I'll be sure to share the feature.

      And I am totally avoiding our Ikea until the new year. How will that many cars even get INTO the parking lot?!? Madness.

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    26. This is Brilliant! My son has this same unit in his bedroom. Now he is going to get some canvases too! Awesome!

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    27. For those who commented and emailed, asking for better photos of the paintings, see here:

      http://dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-expedit-hack-paintings-close-up.html

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    28. I love the paintings to conceal stuff! Such a brilliant idea! My favorite is the bottom one to the right. Great work!

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    29. love this hack! and your paintings are inspiring me to try making my own!

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    30. love love love this idea!! Unfortunately I have zero painting skills... but you are giving me all sorts of other ideas. Insert Evil laugh here :)

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    31. Naomi: try wrapping a great fabric around stretchers, or paint a pattern (that just required some tape!) or even just stenciled letters. LOTS of options for folks not ready to whip up an abstract ;)

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    32. OMG, this is brilliant! I have a 3x3 version of this bookcase in my "Mom Cave" and it's screaming for something like this to make it more pretty and less ... messy. Thanks for the fab idea!

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    33. so clever and so pretty. great idea and execution.

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    34. Just found this blog, truly fantastic design. Wondering if you have heard of panyl as a diy design material and if so, do you recommend it?

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      Replies
      1. Hi Greg, thanks for your comment/question.

        I have heard of Panyl - they help customize many Ikea product with adhesive vinyl. I have never ordered from them or used their product so I can't recommend it. It might be a good alternative to painting Ikea furniture but then it may also cheapen the look with seams, etc.

        If you try it, let me know what you think of it! Sorry I can't be of more help.

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      2. Hi Greg and Tanya - this is Dan from PANYL. I'm glad you found our site!

        Our Expedit product is one of the easiest to apply, and I can say for certain that there are no seams - it's a very high-end design treatment. Please check it out at http://www.panyl.com/products/expedit-woodgrains.

        We'd love to know what people think.

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    35. Love this idea! I found your blog searching for expedit accessories. Your idea is by far the most brilliant yet!

      Lisa

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    36. This is so cool!!! What an awesome idea!!!

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    37. OMG You are a genius!! I am so doing this!!!! I am not a painter, can you give me more pointers on how to wrap fabric around stretchers? I have been looking for anything to cover up my books and papers!!

      Cat

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      1. Hi Cat! Thanks for the compliment ;)

        If you wanted to try your hand at painting, you could paint the canvas a solid colour (or leave it white) then apply random strips of painters tape, paint it allover and remove the tape for a graphic pattern! Like this:

        http://www.tenjuneblog.com/2011/10/scotchblue-painting-party.html

        Here's how I made the chevron painted canvases (another simple technique):

        http://dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.ca/2011/12/my-expedit-hack-paintings-close-up.html

        To wrap fabric around the canvas stretchers (you can buy empty ones at craft stores), I'd recommend doing it similar to how you re-upholster a chair. Pull tightly, and staple on the back. Do opposite sides. Fold the corners neatly and staple.

        This tutorial might help:

        http://howaboutorange.blogspot.ca/2007/10/how-to-make-fabric-panel-wall-art.html

        Hope this helps! Thanks for your question and good luck with your hack! I'd love to see photos :)

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    38. This is such a fantastic idea - I love it! I have baskets for a few sections (which really kind of works when it's stuff that is better contained in a basket), but I've been thinking of ways to do the same in other sections. It's so simple and straightforward - I can't believe I haven't seen it before!

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    39. Easy, so easy - now, why didn't *I* think of that? Thanks for the inspiration - I've just ordered a bunch of photo canvases for this project on my own bookcase.

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    40. I love this idea! I've been struggling with how to deal with the ugly books in my expedit bookcase, and this is the perfect project for me and my husband! thank you for sharing :)

      Noelle @ noelleandtorrey.blogspot.com

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    41. I just found your blog via Pinterest. I've been looking for ideas on covering up some unsightly items in our Expedit. I just love your idea of using a canvas! So much less expensive than many of the boxes & drawers at Ikea & whatnot plus a great way to personalize your own space! Thanks so much!

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      Replies
      1. I'm so happy this idea will work for you! I'd love to see photos of your own Expedit hack, if you have a chance to snap a few.

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    42. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and detailed information you provide.
      It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same old rehashed material.

      Great read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS
      feeds to my Google account.

      Look into my blog ... orquesta atraccion

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    43. I'me going to to do this with my 4x2 unit (use it on its side as a TV unit)

      I'll get 4 canvas, paint black and then push them together in a row. Then drip lines of paint across them in the colours that match my scheme. When hung, there we will be uniform and look asome

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      Replies
      1. That sounds like a great idea!! I like the idea of dripping paint to pull in colours from the room. I'd love to see a photo when you're done!

        I'm doing a new Expedit Hack and I'm doing all one colour too (turquoise) because I've rearranged my stuff and I'm trying to make it look very orderly and symmetrical.

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