October 30, 2012
It occurred to me recently that there are similarities between IKEA-hacking and making Halloween costumes. After all, they both let you save money, and get exactly what you want instead of settling for what’s available. In any case, this year they became one and the same for our family.
After flying on Singapore Airlines to visit her grandparents this summer, my 7-year old was star struck by the glamorous female flight attendants. She begged me to buy her a traditional Malay Sarong Kebaya so that she could be a “Singapore Girl” for Halloween. In retrospect I think she knew that if she mentioned Halloween, my costume-hacking impulse would take over and I wouldn't refuse. Smart girl! I bought her the Kebaya.
Earlier in the summer, a PANYL customer had inquired about using PANYL to decorate the IKEA HELMER rolling drawer unit. Before we even took off from Singapore it dawned on me that the HELMER was exactly the right size to serve as a miniature in-flight service trolley. Unlike the typical timber-based IKEA products, the HELMER is made of lightweight, stamped metal. You put it together like a paper model, by folding the flat metal pieces along perforated seams, inserting small metal tabs into pre-cut slots, and then bending the tabs down to keep parts in place.
To turn the HELMER into a beverage trolley, we left the drawer front off of one of the six sliding drawers. In place of the drawer front, we fastened a piece of 1¼” PVC tubing between the sides of the drawer. This would be the handle used to push the cart.
We then affixed this drawer to the top of the HELMER to hold the tall beverage containers, cups, etc. (If I'd planned a bit more ahead, or had a bigger budget, or was willing to let my daughter immerse herself even further into the role of flight attendant, we could've added some ANTONIUS units to the drawers like this enterprising hacker.)
The other major modification was to replace the stock casters that came with the HELMER with larger, 1 ¾” wheels to better withstand the bumpy Brooklyn sidewalks.
Lastly, we used the PANYL vinyl cutters and some gold and blue scrap material to cut out some corporate decals to decorate the sides.
This evening's menu?
Road test... It works!
HACK OR TREAT, everyone!