Tag Archives: Decor Ideas

IKEA Hack: Transforming Expedit Shelves with paint sticks!

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This piece is actually two EXPEDIT Shelves screwed together.  We purchased them individually five years ago, but you can purchase the larger size now. We have used this piece as our media stand, console table and now it serves as our entry way table.

I LOVE IKEA furniture, especially what it costs!   However, after five years I thought it was time to give this piece a little face lift.

During one of my routine visits to the local hardware store, I had a vision when I saw the paint sticks sitting on the counter in the paint section.  “Those suckers are free and they are 100% wood!  Hmmm….I could stain them all different colors and slap them on top for a cool effect!” So, without further ado, here is my little tutorial for embellishing your IKEA furniture…..

Here are the supplies you will need:


  • Miter box
  • Paint sticks (for my project I picked up apx 80- I made 5-6 different trips to the hardware store…or you could just ask an employee if you could have this many at one time)
  • 4 small cans of your favorite stain (I used special walnut, ebony, golden oak & dark walnut)
  • Liquid nails
  • Small old paint brush (I swiped one from my kids’ stash)
  • Fine sandpaper (I used 320 grit)
  • Old rubber gloves
  • Poly (I prefer a satin finish- not too glossy, not too dull)
  1. First you want to wipe down the top of the piece with soap and water. Let it dry (apx. 30 mins)
  2. Next you want to start sawing off  the “handles”IMG_4192[1]IMG_4196[1]

3. You should have a pile of these after you’re done…


4.  Since I used 4 different stains, I made 4 piles and started to stain (be sure to wear those rubber gloves!)
They will dry pretty quick (I was impatient and started gluing them on within an hour after staining)
Just follow the drying time on the back of the can (if you’re the patient-type)


5.  Time to add the glue…grab one of the millions of paint brushes on hand in your kids’ play room and brush on a line of Liquid Nails on the back of each stick.


6.  Start in a corner of the shelf and place one stick at a time down the “front” edge.  This will give you a straight edge to work from.  Be sure to alternate your colors for a “random” look. When you’re done with one row, move to the next row and be sure to stagger your paint sticks (or however looks best to you).  My kids only “let” me do two rows at a time so this project has been ongoing for quite some time.  That doesn’t bother me though.  It’s how I roll!


7. Once you’re satisfied with the look and all the paint sticks are straight and butting up next to each other, time to place some heavy objects on them while they dry (at least overnight).  I used a bunch of cook books.  You don’t need too much pressure on these sticks, as you don’t want to break them, just enough weight to be sure they stick to your piece.

8. You will have some gaps on the ends where your paint sticks didn’t quite make the full length of your shelf.  That is why I picked up some extra paint sticks so I could use for the open gaps.  Just measure the length of the open space on your piece, cut your paint stick to length and repeat steps 4-7.

9.  Once the glue has set now it’s time to seal it with a nice poly.  I like using a clear satin finish, water-base poly.  The sheen is noticeable, but it’s not too glossy.  Be sure to follow the directions on the back of the can, but I skipped the sanding in between coats (I applied two coats of poly) because I did not want to ruin all that hard work!  I suppose if you wanted a more rustic, shabby look you could sand your sticks a bit.


10. Let your artwork dry for the suggested time and enjoy your customized IKEA Expedit shelves!

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sitting pretty


TRUST ME….you are going to get a TON of people stopping dead in their tracks to admire this piece!!!

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