Hacking the IKEA Rast Using O'Verlays and PANYL

It's one of these things that you don't notice at first, but then once you do, you see it everywhere (one of my college roomates insisted this was the case with the number 47).  In this instance, it's the IKEA RAST hack.  From the picture below, you might justifiably wonder what all the excitement is about. However, the concept of elaborately modifying the IKEA RAST has taken on a life of its own online:

This $35 untreated, solid-wood 3-drawer IKEA RAST dresser has provoked a frenzy of online DIY one-upmanship. 

Although the RAST trend may not be as big as LOLcats or those Rick Astley videos,a quick Google search will show that it has become inexplicably pervasive among a certain arts & crafty crowd.  There are examples of it all over Apartment Therapy, and they are pretty much everywhere on Pinterest.  The sheer quantity of RAST hacks is impressive, and in many cases so is the execution.  Take Nancy Marcus' masterful Dorothy Draper impersonation, and this gorgeous Ming-chest inspired showpiece by Naomi Stein of Design Manifest.  These are just two examples, but it would take you a long time to surf them all down.  

Draper-inspired RAST hack from Marcus Design, Inc.

Draper-inspired RAST hack from Marcus Design, Inc.


Asian-inspired RAST From Design Manifest

Asian-inspired RAST From Design Manifest


What I love most about the RAST hack phenomenon is how aptly it embodies the IKEA hacker mindset; something like, "How can I take the plainest, cheapest, most boring thing in this entire store and turn it into something unique?" The RAST has it all: it's dirt-cheap, super versatile and devoid of embellishment. One wonders, could the $35 RAST be anything but a direct dare from Ingvar Kamprad himself?

PANYL is admittedly a bit late to this RAST-hack trend. Plus, we've been super anxious to consummate our double-crush on Cheryle and Danika of O'Verlays.  So naturally, we began thinking RAST-y thoughts...

In the end, I used the  "Lolita" Overlays pattern on top of Slate PANYL.   Prior to assembly, I completely PANYLed all of the wood RAST pieces, and spray painted the Overlays a semi-gloss light gray.   Once dry, I used the Overlay fretwork to trace the diamonds onto the PANYLed drawer fronts.  Then I cut scraps of Tangerine and Hot Pink PANYL into diamond shapes that were slighly larger than the tracings.   Because PANYL easily peels off without leaving any marks or losing its adhesion, I was able to adjust the position of the diamond shapes until they were in exactly the right spot beneath the fretwork.   The final step was to glue the Overlays in place with Liquid Nails.

Whoever started it, the RAST hack is the closest thing there is to an IKEA hacking right of passage. And I haven't been this excited since my Bar Mitzvah!!

Would love to hear your comments...