Confession time:   I am a big time IKEA junkie – specifically when it comes to the upcycling and decorating potential.  I could spend hours and hours walking through the different levels and imagining all sort of upcycled coolness.

So Hickory Hardware asked me to participate in an IKEA Rast makeover project, I was super excited!


I’m not joking when I tell you, it took me 3 weeks to decide how I was going to make over the Rast dresser.   I had SOOO many fun ideas (am I the only one, or is anyone else kind of ADD when it comes to deciding how to make over something? ) I sketched out a rolling craft/storage cart for the kids, I have a ton of chalk paint left over so I thought about some cool chalky finish options.

But then I came across this gorgeous $800 industrial dresser on Dot & Bo, and I decided I was going to turn my Ikea Rast into a high end inspired industrial dresser:


(I’m still trying to find an old vintage fan so I can take the same shot with my Industrial Rast Hack! )   🙂

The other thing that convinced me to take on this particular project, is that I’ve been dying to try the Black Tea and Steel Wool & Vinegar aging technique on wood – and let me tell you, it is the BOMB!!  I was pretty skeptical at first, but after seeing how it naturally aged the yellow coloring on the unfinished pine that comes with the IKEA Rast dresser, I was totally sold on it.

So, lets get into it, and I’ll show you how I created the Industrial Knock-off IKEA Rast Dresser.





Materials List:

  • IKEA Rast Dresser ($34.99)
  • White Vinegar
  • Steel Wool
  • Black Tea
  • Mason jar or other glass container
  • Aluminum craft squares  (3 x $4.99 each)
  • 8 x 30 pc decorative nails (8 x $1.99 each)
  • 4 metal or rubber casters  (4 x $3.49 each)
  • Spare 2′ x 4′ (Need approximately 12″ long piece that will be cut into 4 x 3″ pieces)
  • White/Grey paint (preferrably chalky finish) – use whatever you have, you won’t use much at all
  • Paint Brushes


Prep work

Fill a mason jar with 1 steel wool sponge (tear it into smaller pieces) and fill to the top with white vinegar.   Allow this solution to sit for at least 48 hours – more time if possible.   My solution sat for 3 days before it was used.

Step 1.  Pour a glass of wine, and begin assembling your IKEA Rast Dresser according to the instructions.   This should take about 20-30 minutes…  (Helpful Hint:  while it may seem fun to have your 2 year old help you assemble it, let me just tell you that wood screws that get shoved into holes where real screws are supposed to go – is not a fun problem to fix and will double your assembly time.



Step 2.  Once your vinegar/steel wool solution has had a few days to sit and process, you’ll want to brew a big pot of tea.   I used the stove, and 5 black tea bags.   I let it steep for at least an hour.    This step is necessary for woods that are lighter in color, because they lack the tannins of darker woods.   The tannins in the wood is what the vinegar/steel wool solution reacts with, to create the aging effect.   So woods such as pine or light maple that are much lighter in color, need a coat or two of dark black tea to add the tannins to the wood.   Take a cheap disposable paint brush, and paint a 1-2 coats of the tea onto the wood – you may not notice much of a difference after this step, but don’t skip it – it is necessary!   Here is how the dresser looked after this step.




Step 3:   Allow the tea to fully dry for at least an hour.   Once dried, you can open up your vinegar/steel wool mixture.   Pour out a small amount of the liquid into a disposable cup.   Some mixtures will look dark at this point, mine was still relatively clear with just a slight darkness to it – don’t worry either way, it will still work!   Use another cheap paint brush to paint the vinegar/steel solution over the tea.   I applied 2 coats, allowing each coat to dry for about 2 hours in between.   When it first finished, I was really not loving the result, it was a dingy color that looked just like dirty yellow pine.  However when I woke up the next day after allowing it to sit for about 24 hours, it looked completely different – it looked like gorgeous, weathered old wood!!    (the shot below was taken a couple of hours after painting on the vinegar – this was the look I was less happy with).





Step 4:  Once the weathering was completed, I opted to dry brush on some faint lines of white/grey/off-white chalk paint, to give it a bit of a whitewashed look.   This step is optional, but I really think it gave it a lot of texture and finished off the look I was going for.







Step 5:   Once the painting was completed, now came the real work.   I had some left over Walnut Hollow brand Aluminum Craft Squares from a project I did a few months back.   They were perfectly sized to place 4 across each dresser drawer, creating an industrial faux apothecary drawer look.   I nailed in 16 decorative nails around each one of the squares  – with 4 squares per drawer and 3 drawers total – that was 192 total nails.   I’m not sure whats up with IKEA pine – I was expecting the nails to go in super easy, but there were some knotty spots in the wood that were nearly impossible to nail into.   So make sure you have extra decorative nails, I probably ruined 30 or so in the process of doing all 3 drawers as they got bent trying to hammer them in.



Step 7:  Using a cardboard form to make sure my holes were drilled in the same spots, I attached the 12 beautiful nickel finish knobs from Hickory Hardware, to each of the silver panel areas.   I chose these as they were perfectly sized for the 4×4″ aluminum panels.




Step 6:   Cut a spare 2’x4′ into 4 equal pieces that will create an even surface along the bottom of the dresser, to secure your caster wheels.   I attached the 2’x4′ pieces using finishing nails.



Step 7:  Wheel into place, decorate with some cool vintage industrial decor, and enjoy!!




Check out that weathered wood grain!





Check out all the other great projects from the IKEA Rast Makeover Project by Hickory Hardware!



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