Turn your Ikea Rast into a Modern Dresser

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Recently we had someone ask us if we made dressers, and while we definitely don’t make any from scratch we do love a good Ikea hack! We were looking for a carved wood look that is so popular right now, but not the West Elm dresser prices of $1000+. We really loved this hack that Hunker did for a Tarva, but while back-to-school has been happening, Ikea has been sold out of most of their dressers. But not the Rast, which is $80 for 2 compared to $180 for the Tarva! So we got 2 units and took on the challenge to turn them into a modern dresser with a carved wood appearance.


Total cost: $180

Time needed to complete: 1 full day, or about 8-10 hours of work for 2 people

Step 1: Build Rast units

After a crazy experience at Ikea during college move in weekend, I was able to snag the last two Rast units! Maddie and I were able to build both together in about 30 minutes. We weren’t super impressed by how the drawers slide, but for $40 per unit it wasn’t the end of the world. We took out the drawers before continuing to the next step.

Step 2: Attach units to one another

We pushed the two units together and attached 2 mending plates to the back. We clamped from the front and back before screwing in the plates. Make sure you are not drilling the screws too close to the center because it will crack the wood a little, even when drilling pilot holes. From the front of the drawers, we drilled 3 1.25 inch screws (top, middle, and bottom) into the center of the unit for extra support.

Step 3: Map out lines on drawers

Next, we put all the drawers back in and laid the dresser down flat on the ground with the drawers facing up. We used our speed square to draw lines across the whole front of the drawers at 45 degree angles and spaced 1.5 inches apart. We drew them all the way down so that it would look like each dowel was one long line once they were attached. Try to get the middle ones to match in a V formation as closely as possible.

Step 4: Lightly sand dowels

We took the dowels outside and lightly sanded them to get any bad wisps off initially.

Step 5: Cut dowels

Next we brought out the miter saw and cut each square dowel many times! I would cut the tops off first at 45 degree angles, then Maddie would draw the next cuts I needed to make for the bottom and between the drawers. We had barely enough to get across the drawers (only half of one dowel was left out of the original 35)! Sometimes when we would cut, the dowel would split a little at the top, but we sanded with rougher grit sand paper at the end and that solved all our problems. This step was definitely the most tedious, as we probably made 200 cuts, but we cut 3 dowels at a time which sped up the process.

Step 6: Glue down dowels

We then glued down each dowel in the place we had laid it out. We used gorilla wood glue, which let me tell you is like 10 times better than the glue we’ve been using for our tables. It was way stronger and dried so quickly. It also dries white and not yellow which was great. When Hunker did this hack they used a spacer to make sure that they were evenly placed, but we found that when we lined it up with our original lines it was fine without one.

Step 7: Paint!

We took the drawers out and painted the fronts with a smaller paint brush and the outsides of the units with a foam roller. We used this zero VOC paint but there are definitely cheaper white paints out there. We did really like the satin finish of this paint, and it only took 2 coats to have great coverage. We also painted the insides of the drawers with the roller and brush.

Step 8: Attach hardware

After the paint dried, we put all the drawers back in their places and we got so excited about how it was turning out! We wanted to attach the hardware next just to see what it looked like. We got these super cute edge pulls, which were easy to attach and fit perfectly even with the dowels sticking up a little.

Step 9: Attach bottom

We got a 1x6x8 pine plank and cut it directly in half to make this bottom. It was a little short, but we were still able to put a nail on either side and two screws in the center, plus some wood glue.

Step 10: Attach legs

Final step!! We got some cute little gold hairpins and screwed them into the bottom. Just fyi, they did not come with screws like most hairpins do but we just used some extras that we had.

And the dresser is complete!! Wow I could not be more in love with how this turned out! It might even be my favorite hack we have done so far. Here are the final pics!


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  1. Fantastic, we are so amazed and proud of you! and Maddie. Glad you finally found the gorilla glue. 🙂

  2. You two are awesome!! Where do you find the time to do all this? So creative!

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