Last year for Christmas, Eric and I got Clara the LÄTT activity table from IKEA. At $20 for the table and two chairs, you really can’t beat the price. The set is basically a blank slate for anything you can dream up. We’ve had the set for almost a year, so I figured it was time to share my hack with you guys in case anyone was considering doing something like this for their little ones.
Clara’s table and chairs are in our office/playroom area downstairs (it’s actually the formal dining room, but we’ve never used it as such), and I wanted something that would go well with the rest of our decor but still have colors she loves. We painted and assembled everything before Christmas, but I ended up taking them apart later to finish the chair seats (that kitchen renovation got in the way of a lot of my Christmas crafting).
I’m super into “dipped” furniture legs and went that route here, too. I spray painted the table gray with paint I had leftover from another project. Once it was painted, dried and assembled, I taped off the legs and painted the bottoms with navy paint that I mixed from blue and black acrylic paints I already had. I tried to find a navy paint I liked, but none of them were dark enough. Mixing my own wasn’t so bad until I had to match the color when I painted her MÅLA easel. The pine soaked up the acrylic paint like crazy, and, in retrospect, I probably should’ve treated it with something prior to painting.
I went for a color block look to the chairs, using leftover white paint from our kitchen renovation and coral acrylic paint from Clara’s first birthday party. I also used the navy paint from the table legs on the backs of the chairs. Instead of “dipping” the bottom of the legs in a different color, I taped them off and left them bare, which is the same thing I did with the easel. I love the way the wood looks with the other colors. After everything was painted, I added a few coats of satin poly to keep everything nice and protected. This makes cleaning much easier, something that’s definitely necessary when it comes to kid furniture.
The seats are the real craft here. The LATT seats aren’t exactly comfortable feeling, and I wanted to add some type of cushioning to the seat. Most of the tutorials I saw added cushions to the top of the seat, but I wanted something more permanent. I came across this tutorial, and it was exactly what I wanted. Clara’s chairs have held up wonderfully the past year.
To make the seats, you need 1-inch thick craft foam, spray adhesive and enough fabric to cover the seat cushion. (The fabric I used is Joel Dewberry Herringbone in the color Lake.) Do this project once the chairs have been painted but before you assemble them. Cut the foam to fit just inside the seat piece, leaving about half an inch around the entire piece. I used the notches cut out of the corners as guides. Use spray adhesive to adhere the foam to the seat piece, making sure to cover whatever surface you’re working on because that stuff goes everywhere. Once the foam is attached, measure how much fabric you’ll need, taking into account about a 4-inch overhang on all sides. Place the foam covered seat piece (foam side down) inside the square of fabric (wrong side up). At this point, all you have to do is pull the fabric tightly to cover the seat. I used a staple gun to staple in my fabric from the bottom side of the seat. You can use a hot glue gun if you prefer, but I wouldn’t recommend the spray adhesive because it’s not really strong enough to hold the fabric in place. Just keep pulling and stapling until the seat is covered. Repeat with the second seat. If your fabric has a pattern like mine, take care to keep the fabric straight as you attach it.
I thought I’d have trouble assembling the chair with the extra padding on the seat, but it slid in much easier than I was expecting. I assembled the back and one side of each chair, then I laid each chair on its back. Using downward pressure, I slid the fabric covered seat into the slots on the side and back of the chair. Then I added the remaining side piece and front piece and screwed it in to finish off the seat. Ignore all the excess fabric, which I didn’t think to cut off while I was photographing the project.
I left the table top alone. It wipes off really easily, even when Clara gets paint/stamps/food/whatever on it. This table gets daily use – as an art table, a place to have a snack, a spot for me to take blog pictures, a surface to put together a puzzle, a kids’ table when we have friends over for dinner.
I’m obviously not a craft blogger, but I wanted to share this project since we’ve gotten so much use out of it, and I thought it might inspire someone to do a little IKEA hacking of their own.