DIY Project - Customising Ikea Boxes

If you’re looking for a DIY project to keep you out of mischief this weekend, here’s a super-simple one for customising Ikea boxes.

We don’t have a lot of storage in our Nest. And although we’re pretty good with the whole one in, one out concept, we still end up with oodles of random items that we don’t use every day, but aren’t quite ready to put out to pasture.

For example, Andre has an impressive collection of seemingly identical computer hard-drives, which he assures me are all absolutely necessary to his well-being and must not be disposed of. Equally, I have a box full of different coloured tissue papers that I am adamant will come in handy one day (the present-wrapping kind, not the nose-blowing kind. The latter would just be plain weird, right).

So our solution was to purchase a number of those plain white flat-pack Ikea storage boxes, which we now have stacked on top of various wardrobes, under beds, on top of bookshelves, and so on.

Now, I usually prefer to buy (or create) one-off pieces for our Nest, rather than mass-produced items. But when you are sharing your living quarters with a plethora of hard-drives and multi-coloured tissue-papers that are threatening darkly to take over your home, it’s hard to say no to the price of an Ikea storage box.

So the solution is to customize them. Here’s how six of the boxes looked before, sitting on top of a built-in wardrobe:

Blaaaah, right? You can barely distinguish the boxes from the wardrobe doors and the wall. I feel sad just looking at them.

Customising these boxes is simple. All you need is glue (I like Pritt-Stick), scissors, sellotape, and some lovely papers – these ones came from Paperchase. I chose textured, handmade papers in creams and ivories, with subtle flower patterns and leaves:

And here’s the finished product:

So, here’s why this project is so simple. Because I only ever see the front of these storage boxes, I only needed to paper the front of the box. Covering the entire box in paper would only cost more, and take more time. Sneaky, eh.

Here’s a shot of the box taken from above – you can see that I haven’t papered the top of the lid, either:

Some quick instructions – first of all, choose which side of the box you are going to cover. Then cut a piece of paper so that it is around 3cm wider on all sides than the side of the box. Cover the entire sheet of paper in glue, and then simply press it carefully onto the side of the box, smoothing as you go, and folding the sides and corners as if you were wrapping a present.

Next up, cut a long thin strip of paper to cover the front of the lid. I did think about leaving it white, but decided it would look better papered. Again, cover with glue, and press into place. I also cut each end of the strip to fit around the silver corners:

Here’s a tip – to make it easier to fold the paper neatly around the box, I carried out this project while sitting on the floor, with the box balanced on a chair in front of me and slightly overhanging the chair seat (so that I could easily fold the paper around on all sides).

Here’s the finished product – I think this corner of the room looks much happier now. And it’s nice to have something a little more interesting to look at when I glance to the top of the wardrobe. Apologies for how dark these photos look – it has been very gloomy with non-stop rain and drizzle in Manchester recently:

I’d love to hear about some other Ikea-customisation projects – if you have one yourself, or have seen some good ones online, please let me know!

Happy weekend, everyone!