There’s are tons of way to take the affordable Rast chest and upgrade it. I personally think it’s perfect for a kid’s space. I’m going to turn it into a hutch for storage. It’d also be cute with a play kitchen and a tea set! Buckle up because I’m going to show you how to make a arch shape on top for a unique Ikea Rast hack!
ikea rast hack diy
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Rast 3-Drawer Chest
- Drawer Pulls- Brass Card Holder
- Limeade Chalk Paint or Spring Grass by Behr
- MDF Hardboard Tempered 4’x8′ Panel (for the arch)
- Plywood 15/32 4’x8′ Sheathing (for the back and shelves)
- Drawer Trim 3 pieces
- Base Trim 5′
- Wood Filler
- Shelf Brackets (4)
- Screws for Shelf Brackets (3 bags)
- Construction Adhesive
- Table Saw or Circular Saw Guide and Circular saw
- Miter Saw
- Nail Gun
- Finger Sander
- Measuring Tape
- Paint Brush
before and inspiration
The hutch will be going in my son’s playhouse. He was recently asking for more storage, so I thought this would be perfect!
For this project, I found inspiration from Collective Gen who did a project with the Rast and made it into a desk. I’m putting my own spin on her creative idea.
The hutch I’m making will go in my son Don’s playhouse. It’s a paleontology lab and museum theme. So the hutch will be for additional storage he’s been asking for. This is the spot it’ll go.
And a sketch for what I’m envisioning.
step 1- assemble the chest
Start by assembling the Rast chest according to the directions from IKEA.
Tip- on the base kick plate, don’t put that in where there’s holes for it. Instead, move it up so it sits flush with the front of the dresser. Attach with a nail gun.
When the toe kick is recessed, it creates a visual shadow and dead space. By moving it forward, the base can later be wrapped in trim for an elevated look.
step 2- cut out the arch for the back
Next, use a table saw or circular to cut the plywood backing for the hutch. Start with a rectangle that’s 57″ long and 24 3/8″ wide. This will create the height of the hutch and it matches the width of the Rast dresser.
Once that’s cut, it’s time to draw on the arch that’ll make the top of the hutch. To do that, measure the center of the board at 12 1/8″ over. On each side, mark 12 1/8″ down and mark with a pencil the center again from that point. Where that center point is, put a push pin in. Use a string tied to a pencil. Make it so the string length allows the pencil to hit the top center point.
Then, slowly draw an arch from the side to the top and from the top to the other side. This will create a perfect half round shape.
Next, use the jigsaw to cut out the arch along the pencil line.
Now that the arch is complete, use a sander to smooth the wood especially on the cut line.
Finally, use screws to attach the backer board to the chest.
step 3- make the arch with MDF
And now, the trickiest part of this project- making the arch with the MDF. To begin, cut the MDF so it’s 12 1/8″ wide by 8′ long.
Use screws to attach the MDF on one side of the Rast chest. This is important to get the wood to stay in place as it bends. I also suggest adding construction adhesive to the side of the dresser and along the edge of the backer board before bending the MDF (we didn’t do this, but wish we had). Carefully bend the MDF around the arch back and use the nail gun to attach.
The MDF doesn’t completely cover the Rast dresser. Cut two smaller pieces of MDF and attach with nails so the side of the chest is completely covered. Later, wood filler will hide where the two pieces of wood meet up.
Note- it seemed to work best to bend the MDF with the smooth side on the inside and the textured side facing out. For some reason, this gave us the most flexibility from the wood.
step 4- add shelves
Next, cut wood for two shelves for the back of the hutch. The measurements for these is 24 1/4″ x 8″. Use a table saw to cut the shelves. Once cut, sand them smooth.
Then use screws to attach metal shelf brackets to the back of the hutch 10″ up. Attach the shelf with screws as well. The second shelf goes in 10″ above the last one.
I know the brackets aren’t the prettiest, but because the side is so thin, the only way to attach shelves is by attaching it to the back of the hutch.
One nice thing about the shelves is that they give more structural stability to the arch. Using construction adhesive on the ends and nailing the arch to the shelves gives the arch more rigidity.
Note, I suggest adding shelves before making the arch with the MDF. Why? This adds another surface the arch can be attached to so it’s more sturdy during the assembly. It’d also be easier to attach the shelves without the arch in the way.
step 5- trim out the drawers and base
Another way to make the Rast look more fancy is adding baseboard trim to the bottom. To do that, start by cutting the trim to fit around the chest.
For this project, we bought 3-1/4″ trim (a standard size). It’s sadly an 1/8 of an inch too tall. So to shorten it, trim it down with a table saw.
Then, use a nail gun to attach the trim to the base.
The next way to upgrade the aesthetic of the Rast is by trimming out the drawers. To do this, use a miter saw to cut trim that’ll make a rectangle around the drawer.
Once cut, attach with a nail gun.
This adds some nice detail to the drawer!
step 6- finishing touches
Finally, let’s finish this IKEA Rast hack off! We had some extra trim from the drawers, so Preston nailed it to the front of the shelves to give them a pretty detail.
The first order of business- finish work. I like to start with wood filler for all the nail holes. I do one layer, let it dry, and then layer on a bit more so there’s no visual indent where the nail goes in.
Once the wood filler is dry, sand it smooth.
Next, use caulk to fill in all of the seams of where two pieces of wood meet up. I add a bead of caulk and then run my finger along the caulk to smooth it out. I like to keep a damp rag handy so my finger can be moist as I push the caulk into the seam. This helps it to be perfectly smooth.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, paint! I’m using a chalk paint I had on hand because it matches all the existing pieces in the playhouse. With chalk paint I like to do a few really thin layers for a smooth paint job. Note, painting the textured side of the MDF arch was tricky. It sucked up paint and I wish I’d primed it first.
While painting, I decided to add some flexible molding to give the arch a thicker edge. So we taped it on to get a good visual and measurement for cutting it.
Taping up the trim helps it so it’s easier to mark where the trim needs to be cut. To cut it, use a chop saw.
Then we used construction adhesive and nails to connect it. While the glue dries, we choose to use painter’s tape to hold it in place.
After a few hours, it’s time to remove the tape, caulk, and paint the trim.
Next, the drawer pulls are added. I went for a card catalog look to go with the museum vibes of the playhouse.
For inside the pulls, I made little card with Latin words for things like fossil, skull, etc.
One of the inspirations for this project is the Paleontology museum and they have labels for the different specimens.
The whole museum is so gorgeous! It’s fun to add some similar touches.
Once done with the hutch, we moved it into the playhouse. And it looks so beautiful!
I had the best time styling it. Don (my son) has collected some really cool stuff! It’s really fun to show off.
It’s fun to see that this Ikea Rast hack go from a boring chest to the sweetest hutch!
Wouldn’t this be so cute in a playroom with a play kitchen to hold a tea set?!
I think the little hutch looks beautiful in the room. It is really the focal point in the room now. It’s perfect for holding all the bones and fossils and other curiosities my son finds!
The best part of this project is that Don really loves it! He came home from school and made some changes. We looked through his curiosities and it was fun to see his favorite ones. I’m so glad he likes it!
Here’s a price breakdown for how much this Ikea Rast hack cost. The Rast 3-Drawer Chest came to $65. The Drawer Pulls- Brass Card Holder cost $13.50. The MDF Hardboard Tempered 4’x8′ Panel (for the arch) cost $14. We also bought Plywood 15/32 4’x8′ Sheathing (for the back and shelves) for $25. The Drawer Trim cost $20 and the Base Trim came to $10.
In total, this project cost $160.50
In conclusion, I’m really thrilled with how the Ikea Rast hack turned out! It’s perfect for a kid’s playhouse. What do you think of it? Would you try making this? I’d love to hear in the comments! Let me know if you have any questions as well.
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