Ikea Hemnes Hack- an ombre blue woodland dresser
Updated: Feb 3, 2021
I am so excited to share this Ikea Hemnes hack with you today!
I originally wanted to purchase the Tarva dresser for Lincoln's bedroom, but when they didn't have that in stock (I'm not one to wait) I quickly shifted my plans and found this white Hemnes. It was a similar size and I knew it could work. It was more expensive ($249 vs. $179) than the Tarva so that was really the only downside. I wasn't 100% sure of what I was planning to do to it, but I knew I wanted to paint it. I kept going back to some sort of ombre treatment...my only concern was it might be too trendy, but after I found this photo online I knew I had to go for it.
Seeing this pink version also gave me the confidence that painting only the drawers and leaving the frame as is was the way to go, I liked the clean white outlines. I chose three different blue colors for the drawers- I took the wallpaper (that is on the accent wall in Lincoln's room) into Lowe's with me to choose colors.
I ended up with three Valspar colors- Lighthouse Shadows, Silver Fox, and Cornflower Blue. Full disclosure, I didn't test any of these colors...I like to live dangerously.
I also knew I wanted to customize the knob handles in some way and started searching for ideas. I'm usually drawn to gold (literally everywhere else in my home), but this room doesn't have any gold in it so I didn't want to start adding it. That meant cute little gold or brass knobs were out. Then I found these and fell in love.
I know what you're thinking...well, these are gold, BUT I knew these would be a DIY I could paint in whatever color I wanted. So I headed to the store to hunt down some animal figurines. I would have loved to thrift these, but my impatience took over so when I found these at Michael's I knew immediately that they would work (here are similar woodland animal figurines I probably would have ordered if I had been willing to wait for shipping).
I laid them out in my cart to plan how they might be arranged on the dresser, taking into account how many drawers I had as well as the size of those drawers. There are four smaller drawers in the top row, two wider drawers in the middle, and then two wider and deeper drawers on the bottom.
I wanted smaller animals up top and then larger animals at the bottom.
I laid the animals out again when I got home and decided to face them in alternating directions. Like they are walking in little lines...kind of reminds me of this scene from the Lion King (*sings* everybody look left, everybody look right).
I also bought these threaded rods and hex nuts when I was at Lowe's to help turn my animals into knobs.
Next it was time to drill holes in the backs of the animals. I chose a drill bit that was the same size as our threaded rods.
At this point we also realized that our threaded rod was slightly wider than the pre-drilled holes in the Hemnes drawers, but that was an easy fix and Kris was able to use a slightly larger drill bit than we used for the holes in the animal's bodies to make the holes in the dresser fronts a bit larger.
Now it was time to prime all of my animals, I used this Rustoleum Bonding Primer.
It probably took about 4-5 spraying sessions to get every little nook and cranny on these guys since there were so many angles, but they were finally all white and ready to be painted. I decided to paint the animals the same color as the drawers for a subtle tone-on-tone effect. I spread out a towel to paint on while watching a Christmas movie so that made this task go by a bit faster (it probably took me an hour).
After that we used a wrench to help screw the threaded rods into the backs of the animals. Kris also cut our threaded rods in half so they wouldn't stick out the backs of the drawers too far.
This is the part of the project that it really helped that we chose the right drill bit to drill the holes in the animals backs- we tested out several sizes and went with one that was the. exact. same. size. as the threaded rods. I didn't want to rely on any adhesive to secure these in there (I had seen one tutorial suggest hot glue to hold the rods in place). These rods are actually screwed into the animals plastic and they feel extremely secure. Nothing would be worse than DIY knobs falling off every time you pull them. Next it was time to prep the drawers for painting, I gave everything a good sanding first to rough up the finish.
The one downside of the Hemnes vs. The Tarva is the finish...the Tarva is raw wood and would have easily clung onto paint, but the Tarva is a slick white finish and definitely needed some roughing up. I also put some bonding primer on the drawers to help with this as well. Then it was time to paint- I was so excited for this part! I used a mini 4" roller to roll on three coats of paint on each drawer.
A roller made it easy to grab the fronts as well as the sides of each drawer front. Each drawer got three coats of paint as well as a few touch-ups.
We had already assembled our drawers so that made painting a breeze, I just placed the drawers on their sides with the fronts facing up and it enabled me to reach every angle without having to wait for anything to dry.
It was at this point I got really excited, I loved how the colors were looking with the wallpaper and the wall color! But then I took a quick lunch break and forgot to shut the door to Lincoln's room and came back to this...
Both of my boys had decided to take the painting into their own hands. My eight year old Phoenix was blaming his three year old brother, but it quickly became obvious they had both been involved. At the time I was pretty frustrated- UGH!!! Not only were the drawers all painted the wrong color (which was an easy fix), but their rolling had gotten the finish on the bottom drawers all bumpy and it was no longer perfectly smooth... the only way I could have fixed it was to sand all the paint off and start over, which I had no intention of doing. I ended up scraping off the bumpy parts and rolled over everything with a few more coats. It's definitely not as perfect as I would have liked, but it's pretty smooth. Word to the wise- shut doors while painting. I let everything dry overnight and the next morning everything looked pretty good. It was time to add the hardware and put all the drawers back in!
And then I spent thirty minutes staring at the dresser and having everyone in the family come look at it.
This hadn't really been the project in Lincoln's room that I was most excited about. The wallpaper was always going to be the star...but this little dresser turned out really special. It's adorable. I love the animals, I love the tone on tone ombre effect. It's so much better than I ever imagined!
I can't wait to finish up Lincoln's room, style out this dresser, I have a few fun things planned to hang above it and I can't wait to see how it all comes together!
Let me know what you think- and I'm also curious, have you tried any Ikea furniture hacks?
Want to see more of Lincoln's Room Makeover?
Lincoln's Room- before photos and mood board
How To Hang Non-Woven Wallpaper