All posts by amandalathigee

Ikea Hack: DIY Light Table

I don’t know about you guys, but $300.00 as the average price for a light table seems a bit insane to me!  You may have seen these guys at children’s museums or kindergarten classrooms, but they’re starting to pop up in subdivisions as well!

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For my son’s 3rd birthday, I knew I wanted to invest in Magnatiles.  YAY for Target carrying the line!

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While basic play would surely be enough to entertain him, I wanted to add the light factor to enhance play time (and the educational bonus as there are SO many things you can do with a light table!).  You can clearly see the difference in playing with these type of tiles on a regular table verses a light table:

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I seriously could not believe the price tag for these tables when I started researching!  While several pinterest people made DIY light tables, they weren’t exactly what I was looking for.  Thankfully, Ikea and my husband’s handyman-ness saved the day!

We purchased the Ikea Flisat Children’s table for $49.99, and added two coordinating storage bins for $3.00 each.  Built as intended, the table has room for two children to sit and play together at the same time, with ample toy / craft storage under the removable table top.

We decided to keep one half of the table in its original condition for my soon-to-be first grader to use as a desk / drawing area / lego building station.  We used an acrylic sheet cut to size (Lowe’s will cut it for you for FREE!) to replace the second half of the table top.  TIP:  Keep the protective film ON the plexi glass or else you’ll have to use frost spray to duplicate the look.

Deciding on the lighting was honestly the hardest / longest part of this project.  My first thought was to use the LED puck lights you would normally place under a cabinet.  However, my husband really wanted to go with the LED strip lights, and once I saw them at the store, it was an obvious answer as to what we should go with!  This particular kind has a wireless remote control that can cycle through 16 colors in a strobe feature, or fade (my favorite), or just stay on one single color.

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This is where my husband took over the project.  He drilled a small hole in the plastic storage bin to slide the cord through, and then taped it to the outside of the bin.  The LED strips were self adhesive, and he lined them inside the basket.  Here’s where the protective film on your plexi glass comes in handy.  LED lights are BRIGHT (Oh, this also has a dimmer feature!) and can hurt little one’s eyes.  The film cuts down on the glare and allows for the child to stare at the colorful table top without burning his eyeballs out of his head.

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The storage on the other side of the table is a great spot to hold all of the tiles, and the table top just gently slides right into place when you’re done!

Since this is a birthday present for my son and it’s not quite his birthday yet, I let my oldest check it out to make sure it was as awesome as I thought.  She completely agreed and put her stamp of approval on it.  : )

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Price Breakdown:

Ikea Flisat Children’s Table:  $49.99

Two Coordinating Ikea Storage Bins:  $3.00 ea / $6.00 total

Two Ikea Mammut Children’s Stools:  $7.99 ea / $15.98

18″ x 24″ Acrylic Sheet:  $11.97

LED Strip Color Change Light:  $39.99

TOTAL:  $123.93

Not only did I save over $175.00 for crafting our own custom table, we also doubled the space that this particular brand offers!  Instead of “just” a light table, we have a fully functioning desk too!  It’s two tables in one!  With a pretty awesome light feature now : )

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Preteen Dream Room

My oldest children are female preteens with very different interests and personalities.  Only twenty months apart, they’ve been each others first best friends aaaaaand first enemies!  Let’s get real here:  two girls venturing into those teenage years together is hard enough … add in the fact that they have to share a SMALL bedroom and a bathroom?  Mercy.

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We compromised on color and added in their individual character to make a space that both can enjoy (sometimes together, sometimes NOT).  I started decorating with the color scheme:  Black, White, Gold Sparkle, and a pinch of pink & purple.

The main focal point is the gallery wall above their antique refinished dresser.  We painted the dresser black and exchanged the rustic bronze knobs for more modern touches.  The gallery wall is a mix of each girl, with dollar store frames and custom prints from my own computer!

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The top of the dresser is home to vintage perfume bottles and additional storage boxes, one for each of course.

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Next to the dresser is my FAVORITE thing in their room:  their vanity!  Found at Ikea, the Ekby Alex is showcased in an office as a shelf with small storage drawers.  However, I knew it would make the perfect dual vanity for my girls!  Each preteen has their own drawer to hold “makeup” (read:  lip gloss and hand sanitizer).  The dresser’s mirror hangs over, continuing the black & white theme.

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Discovered at Goodwill, I turned this old cookie jar into a bow holder with a glittery golden lid!  This was accomplished with just a few coats of gold glitter spray paint found at Lowe’s!

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Along the window wall, we have cube shelves from Target to create a library and lego storage.  My youngest preteen still has two “toy” baskets that are really just there for my sake, because I’m not entirely ready for this next phase.  Their stereo sits atop, along with pictures and owl accents (the oldest has a Harry Potter addiction).  My former living room rug was a great addition to soften the view from floor to ceiling, and that zebra chair?  I’ve found my daughter asleep in it on more than one occasion, book still in hand.

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They share bunk beds, which we found online at Walmart for a steal!  As much as I hated going back to bunk beds (they seem so childish to me), I really like these for the simple style and the fact that they separate to create two individual twin beds with headboards and foot boards when the time comes for them to split up.  Their bedding is also from Walmart, with gray and white chevron printed sheets and soft light gray comforters.

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We were able to create a comfortably chic room that both girls “see” themselves in …. and while we’ve made a few undocumented changes (magnetic dry erase board by each mattress and a canopy net surrounding the bed), they both say they wouldn’t change a thing.

And THAT’S something coming from hormonal little ladies! ; )

Upcycled Homework Room

When school age children rush through the front door at the end of the day, bags are tossed, shoes are kicked off, and the pantry is raided.  Having a separate, private space designated for homework assignments can save a life (and your dining room table)!  Luckily, you don’t need a lot of square footage to design such an area … but natural light definitely helps inspire little minds!

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We turned our unused “mud room” into a peaceful, tranquil homework room.  Having a door on each wall limited furniture placement, but with the space technically being the size of a hallway, we didn’t need much furniture anyways!

Using my little sister’s old childhood desk, I gave it a fresh face lift with new paint, compass draw knobs, and map accents.  I purchased the draw knobs at Hobby Lobby on clearance, and used a 40% off coupon at the same store for the world map.

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This particular desk had changeable drawer faces, so it was super easy to slide them out, attach the map with Mod Podge, and replace them without ever harming the actual dresser itself.

We had a few extra patio chairs stacked in the garage, so it was a no brainer to grab one for this space.  Originally, they came from Big Lots during a summer sale.

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I think maps are such an easy and inexpensive way to decorate, but they make a fun impact!  I painted a coat rack to match the desk top, and it instantly became a backpack holder.  Funny how paint can do that to an item.  ; )

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Have you heard of Katie Daisy?  You MUST check out her Etsy site!!!  I’m slightly obsessed.  The art hanging on the painted canvas are actually cut from an old calendar, and the pieces on the magnetic board are greeting cards!  This is another way of adding unexpected art and still be super budget friendly.  If you love the month of March in your calendar, cut it out, mod podge it to a painted canvas, and wah-lah!  Art!

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Overall, we were able to upcycle the desk, chair, coat rack, and calendar to create an inspiring room for my little people.  Although we no longer live in this house (we’ve recently moved cities), this space was well used and enjoyed by everyone in the family!  I even got some bill paying and grocery list making time in here ; )

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