IKEA Tarva Hack


Crafts and DIY Tutorials / Sunday, July 26th, 2015

tarva hack
I’ve been getting a lot of people asking for instructions on how I hacked the Ikea Tarva dresser for E’s room. Basically I built bookcases to go on top of the dressers (I made two) and they flank either side of her bed. I made the bookcases out of mdf and joined the pieces together with my kreg jig. Then added trim – the same trim I put around all the windows and doors in our house.

I didn’t take an insane amount of pictures – so bear with me.

What you will need:
1 – Ikea Tarva – if you’re reading this it’s probably because you’ve got one of these things and want some ideas on how to make it better…
1 – 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ mdf cut lengthwise into 11 3/4″ strips.
2 – 1″ x 6″ x 8′ mdf trim piece
2 – 1″ x 1 1/2″ x 8′ mdf trim piece
1 – 8′ long piece of 3/4″ x 1/2″ square trim
1 – 8′ long piece of crown
1 – 8′ long piece of baseboard
1 – sheet of beadboard (this was enough for two) cut to 29 1/2″ x 4′
All purpose paintable caulk
Crackshot hole repair or other nail filler that is sandable and paintable
3/4″ finish nails
1 1/2″ finish nails

Tools used:
Miter saw
Table saw (circular saw)
Finish nailer – I used an 18 gauge gun.
Kreg jig (You can just screw and nail your bookcase pieces together if you don’t have one of these but you should use a larger nail gauge if you do – at least 16 gauge for the shelves)

Step 1:
Assemble dresser according to instructions leave drawers out of dresser. If you are a super over achiever or a planner or have at least a fair amount of more self control than I have, don’t put the drawers together, until after you paint the drawer fronts – this way you can paint both sides without getting paint on the inside.
tarva hack2

Step 2:
Insert the bottom drawer into the dresser. Measure the width of the base of the dresser and, using your miter saw set it at 45 degrees and cut the 1×6 trim to wrap around the base and hide the legs. I put the drawer in so that the base trim fits just below it – not touching about 1/8″ away from it. Cut the same trim for the bottom sides attach everything with your nailer and 1 1/2″ finish nails.
tarva hack4
Once the initial base trim is attached then attach the baseboard the same way – wrapping all three sides that will show of the dresser. Just like the pic above.

Step 3:
Building the bookcase. Cut one of your 11 3/4″ boards in half so that you have two boards ~4′ tall. These will make the sides of the case.

Step 4:
Cut the other boards into 4 – 27 1/2″ x 11 3/4″ boards – these will be your shelves and top. If you have a kreg jig, using the 3/4″ setting make four pocket holes in each of these boards – two on either side. These will join the two sides of the bookcase together. Decide where you want your shelves and kreg jig them into place.
tarva hack1

Note: If you do not have a kreg jig, then screw the top piece into either side of the case counter sinking the screws and the bottom shelf the same way then go to the store and buy yourself a kreg jig. You probably should use three screws for each side. The other shelves can be nailed in – it’s the bottom and top that give the bookcase some structural integrity. I only attached my bottom and top shelves with the kreg jig. I have a shelf tool – also made by kreg that I used so that the other two shelves are adjustable.

Step 5:
Measure 4″ down from the top of the bookcase and kreg jig your top into place here – this will leave some extra meat for the top trim to attach.

Step 6:
Attach the 1×6 to the top of the book case using the finish nailer and 1 1/2″ finish nails, wrapping the top just like you did with the base of the dresser. See pic above. I wrapped all four sides, the back I used butt cuts not mitered cuts.

Step 7:
Measure and cut trim pieces from the 1 x 1 1/2″ to cover the exposed edges of the mdf case starting with the sides first and then moving on to the shelf fronts. Attach with your finish nailer and 1 1/2″ finish nails. I attached them flush with the outside edges so that the sides over hung into the bookcase. The shelf trim I attached flush with the top of the shelves.

Step 8:
Attach the crown and rectangle trim pieces with 3/4″ nails wrapping just as you did with the dresser. The rectangle trim can be cut just like the other baseboard, but with the crown make sure you cut it like you would crown molding – upside down and backwards. This is the trim I used:
IMG_3037

Step 9:
Fill all of your holes. Sand everything down with fine grit sand paper. Wipe it all down with a tack cloth. Caulk all of your seams. Prime everything.
tarva hack3

Step 10:
If you are painting your beadboard a different color paint it before you attach it, otherwise attach it with 3/4″ finish nails. Paint everything. Put it in place and enjoy!
tarva hack5

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