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For my tarva makeover, I searched the depths of Pinterest for feasible hacks. My biggest hesitation about most of the tarva makeovers I saw was a lack of dimension, which doesn’t help the overall inexpensive look (in my opinion). So simply painting or staining the furniture was not an option for me. At the same time, I wanted a project that was going to be at my skill level (novice).
I was inspired by these two simplistic ‘hacks’:
From what was described, the biggest modification to these two pieces was the addition of simple molding to the drawers, followed by paint and hardware. Totally doable.
I purchased stain-grade molding from Home Depot (in the lumbar section). I made sure to measure how much I would need beforehand. For the 3 drawer dresser and the 6 drawer chest, I bought 52 linear feet. That gave me a few extra feet for testing the stain as well as allow for a mishap or two when making cuts.
Eric did most of the woodwork. After he cut the trim to frame each drawer front, we applied the strips with wood glue and held them in place with clamps for 30 minutes. Once dry and secure, I gave the newly applied trim a quick once-over with 220 grit sandpaper (to match the smoothness of the rest of the dresser).
I tested numerous stains and combinations on a leftover piece of molding. I was rather unimpressed by the Minwax Wood Finish stains compared to the Varathane Wood Stains. The Minwax Wood Finish stains were incredibly thin and had to sit for at least 10 minutes to get a decent amount of color (albeit, this may very well be due to the type of wood I was using). The Varathane stains, on the other hand, resulted in much richer and more even color. It was also easier to work with since it was slightly thicker.
I will say though, that I am a fan of the Minwax pre-stain conditioner. After applying the conditioner, I applied Provincial by Varathane to the drawers. I decided I wanted it a tad darker though, without enhancing the contrast of the grain (I highly suspected this was going to happen, as pine is a type of wood that does not achieve uniform stain coverage).
So in comes Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. It is not really a “stain” by true definition (a lot of DIYers use it to darken their kitchen cabinets or entry doors), it is more so a translucent paint that you apply and wipe off. I was able to apply varying amounts to the lighter and darker areas, which evened out the overall contrast.
After achieving the color and tone I wanted, I let it dry for 2 days (until the gel stain was no longer ‘tacky’), and then applied a couple of coats of satin-finish polyurethane. Note: you don’t have to apply the gel stain over a wood stain, but there are limited color options for the gel, and I wanted some added warmth.
Hardware was the final step and I never thought it would be so difficult. Well, what actually made it difficult was that I wanted all the gorgeous hardware from Anthropologie, but I refused to pay $8 to $12 per knob (I needed 18+ knobs total). After testing out several different options, I inevitably fell in love with the mercury glass knobs I found on the World Market website (2 for $7.98! + shipping), which is a total steal compared to the other prices I found online.
Love this! Thank you for sharing! Where did you get the mirror? That looks perfect!
Thanks Meghan! The mirror is from TJ Maxx 🙂
Great post! I gathered some great ideas! I would love to use your method of staining! Correct me if I’m wrong, but the steps to achieve the color were; 1- prestain comditioner, 2- provincial stain, 3- hickory gel stain?
Hi Alexis! Yes, exactly – condition, provincial stain, then gel stain. Thanks for your feedback!
Ruha Rahman says
I am a beginner is these diys. Im going for a white trim and mettalic inside for my drawers. Do i paint the pieces before the gluing and nailing or before ?
I really think you could do it either way. If it were me I’d probably paint the pieces first, and then touch things up after gluing/nailing. Good luck!
Did you have any problem with orange/red streaks in your pine? I’m staining an IKEA shoe cabinet and I can’t figure out how to get an even stain. The grains are crazy on this wood!
I really like the end result of your dresser. I think it’s the color I want to achieve – a medium tone brown. Provincial looks so orange though. Was this just the photo? Or did it look orange in person too until you added the Minwax gel?
The provincial wasn’t as orange as it is in the photo, but if you are trying to get an even stain then I would definitely either recommend the gel stair OR polyshades (which is what I used for our bed).
Hi! Question. I bought the whole tarva set for my bedroom. Long Dresser. 5 pull draw tall dress and 2 chests (like in this post) for night stands. Hacking them all of course . I noticed in one of the pictures of showing the fronts of the draws and the stain, you showed a full size draw and then a much smaller/thinner draw but that does not belong to the chest in your post . Would that happen to belong to the 5 draw tall tarva dresser? They have a small thin draw on top about that size on that dresser. So im hoping it is because I’m curious to see how such a thin draw looks with the molding? Made me little nervous that it would look odd. But I wanted all my pieces to match woth trim. Could you please let me know! Thanks so much!
You’re totally right! That’s some serious detective work:) Initially I was going to do the same finish on the tall tarva dresser, but I wound up painting it, I did add molding to the top drawer. You can see how it turned out here: https://www.effierow.com/creating/ikea-tarva-round-2/
Thanks for sharing! How thick is the wood pieces you added on? I’m doing this for my boys bedroom next weekend!