Ikea Hack DIY Fluted Dresser

Next up on my journey to outfit my home with high end looks for less, I’m sharing my Ikea Hack DIY Fluted Dresser (or in my case I’m using the chest as a nightstand). The step-by-step, materials and lessons learned are all outlined below.

Turning this Ikea Tarva 3-drawer chest into a McGee & Co inspired look has been one of my favorite DIY projects yet. It’s so impactful in the space and it is a great beginner DIY project (as are a lot of Ikea Hacks). Documented this Ikea Hack on my Instagram stories and saved to a highlight. Be sure to follow @asouthernflare for more DIY projects, home styling and decor finds.

Check out some of my other DIY projects here.

I got the DIY home renovation bug in 2020 and went deep down the project rabbit hole. It all started with ripping up 20+ year old carpet on my second floor and installing laminate flooring. Everything just spiraled from there – but in a good way. I’m taking my time looking for just the right pieces to furnish and decorate my home and sometimes the look is a little out of my price range like with this McGee & Co Fluted Dresser <heart eyes> right? But the $2,700 price tag is out of my budget. Another inspo is this project is Scout & Nimble Daryl Dresser with a pretty $2,300 price tag.

If you time everything out right, this could definitely be a one weekend project. Bear in mind there are layers of gluing, sanding and painting that all have to dry before you can move on to the next step.

Here’s What You Need:

  1. Ikea Tavra 3-Drawer Chest
  2. Pole Wrap: I used 2 of these for 2 nightstands
  3. Miter Saw / Table Saw – If you don’t have these or want to invest in tools, you can use a handheld circular saw. I recommend purchasing a circular saw guide so you get straight cuts. Would NOT cut the pole wrap with a jigsaw.
  4. Liquid Nails
  5. Sanding Blocks / Sanding Discs (The lower the grit the more coarse, the higher the finer.)
  6. Clamps
  7. Tack Cloth
  8. Orbital Sander (If you don’t have many tools the Ryobi Tool Kits are a really great value. This one – has everything you need to complete this project.)
  9. Primer – I used Kilz Spray Primer but if I had to do it again I would paint Zinsser primer (not spray paint)
  10. Paint (The color on the nightstand is Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore)
  11. Paint Sprayer (or you could roll/brush it – personal preference) – Bought the paint sprayer on Amazon and it works great!
  12. These are my safety glasses

Okay, now let’s get down to business….

This is what we’re starting with:

The Ikea Tarva 3-drawer chest is a quality pine piece. It weighs about 60-70 lbs. put together so you may need help moving it around. You’ll notice a big difference in the leg height from my nightstand (left) and the Ikea stock photo (right). The legs are quite tall and since I was using this chest as a nightstand I cut about 4″ off the height of the legs before I attached them – which makes the height perfect for my preference. You can also completely remove the legs if you wish.

Step 1: Cut

Measure your drawer fronts, get your pole wrap & cut to size. I ordered this from Home Depot after some research of different types of fluted trim. I know some people really prefer the rounded edges of other styles of molding, but I wanted something that was a thin profile. If you don’t mind the drawer fronts being thicker you can certainly opt for different molding but the pole wrap is super thin and gives the same vibe in my opinion. Plus, it’s less work. With another molding you’ll have more cuts, probably have to caulk between the pieces, and may need wood filler work as well.

I needed 2 full pieces and 1/2 a third piece (width-wise) of the pole wrap to cover each drawer front. So I cut 9 pieces total. The first time around I just marked the cut and cut with the miter saw I got a TON of splintering at the cut lines – which was not going to look pretty on the dresser. So, I got smart and I used Frog Tape to tape the pole wrap where I was cutting. Made my measurement mark on top of the tape and got super clean lines.

Step 2: Attach

Use liquid nails on the front of the drawers to attach your pieces of pole wrap. Use clamps to hold in place to dry. **Use a baby wipe or damp cloth to clean away any excess liquid nails that might seep out of the sides.

I let these dry a good 2 to 3 hours before I started sanding to make sure they have solidly adhered. If any of the individual slats of the pole wrap appear to have come loose, use a little wood glue, clamp, and let dry to secure them down.

Step 3: Sand

No matter how precise I tried to be with my cuts, I still had some excess overhang on the pole wrap pieces. Used the orbital sander on the edges to smooth and straighten. I used an 80 grit sanding disc.

Use a sanding block to smooth the top surface of the pole wrap. I wouldn’t use the orbital sander because the pole wrap is very thin and you don’t want or need too much pressure. It’s just a light sand. I used 220 grit. Then use a tack cloth to get off any dust before priming.

FYI: You need to sand the dresser/chest as well. Since it’s pine it’s best to hit it with a fine grit on the orbital sander.

Step 4: Prime

I mentioned earlier that I used the spray paint version of Kilz. It is a great primer but ultimately I feel like it didn’t give me the best coverage and created some lines that I had to try and correct later on. I let the primer dry about 4 hours before I applied the first coat of paint.

You’ll need to sand again after you prime. I used a little elbow grease and a fine 220 grit sanding block to remove any bubbles and imperfections. Then wipe down really well with your tack cloth so you get a smooth surface for your first coat of paint.

Step 5: Paint

I chose the color Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams in a semi-gloss finish. I wanted a gray-black but not deep, deep black so this color is perfect. It’s really rich and very luxurious looking.

This was my first time using a paint sprayer. Do I wish I would have practiced a little more before I went full tilt on a furniture piece? YES! So my advice to you is to practice so you get used to the sprayer mist before you go for it if you’re not already a spray master.

Other than needing more practice – it was AWESOME! It was so fast. The finish is flawless. Ultimately I had to do a finishing 3rd coat of paint instead of 2 coats as I intended just because of inexperience. Also, don’t be fooled thinking you’re going to use less paint. Ran through the paint like water.

Also, I encourage you to do yourself a favor and read the instructions on your paint sprayer and live by them like the bible. This particular paint sprayer is affordable yet powerful. It is not necessary to thin the paint but you could if you wanted to make your paint go further. Additionally, you cannot just let it sit with paint gunked all in the spraying mechanism. If you’re done spraying – you have to clean it and I mean really clean it. CLEAN!

You can see I taped around the face of the dresser and used a trash bag to prevent overspray from getting inside the dresser. It was a personal choice not to paint the whole piece inside. If you do decide to paint the inside, I recommend removing the drawer slides so they don’t get yucky with paint.

I let each coat of paint dry for a full 24 hours. This was so hard because “it felt” pretty dry after a couple hours but I honed my patience and waited. Again, typically this project should only take 2 coats but I had to clean up some streaks with a 3rd coat so that equated to 3 days of drying.

Note: I chose not to add a varnish to this piece but you may want to.

Step 6: Drill Holes & Swap Hardware

The Ikea Tarva 3-drawer chest comes with pine knobs. You could absolutely paint these knobs gold or whatever color you like to cut costs. I purchased new knobs which elevated the nightstand 150% in my opinion. They did however add about $50 to the cost of the project.

I chose these knobs from Home Depot.

Since I added the fluted detail on the drawer fronts for this Ikea hack DIY fluted dresser, it covered up the pre-drilled hardware holes. I simply re-drilled the holes from inside the drawer to the outside. **Tip: Put a piece of frog tape on the front of the dresser where you expect the drill to poke through. It will help with splintering. I’m telling you…the pole wrap is finicky so when in doubt, be delicate with it.

Finished Ikea Hack DIY Fluted Dresser

Ikea Hack DIY Fluted Dresser Price Breakdown:

Optional or tools I already owned:

How does the Ikea Hack compare to the inspo pieces?

I think it looks really dang good. In fact, I may be biased, but I like mine a little better than both of these pieces! 🙂

Please let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to see how your pieces turn out if you try the hack!


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