If you’ve followed our blog for a while you’ll know that we’re hardly strangers to an Ikea hack or two! There’s literally 1000’s of tutorials across the internet for different pieces, and today we’re sharing our tutorial on how to hack the Ikea Vittsjo.
The basic Vittsjo (available here) is actually quite attractive on it’s own. We purchased one in white (which they don’t seem to do anymore) a year or so ago, and gave it a mini “hack” at that time with some paint we had in the garage.
It served it’s purpose really well, but when our friends came to stay with their little girl earlier this year we realised it was very child unfriendly. You’d have thought that would have crossed our mind beforehand – with the sharp edges and glass – but funny how being pregnant suddenly opens your eyes to these things! Originally I just thought we could buy a new coffee table, but after a bit of half-hearted searching I realised I didn’t want to spend much money when there wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with what we already had.
I’d actually looked at a few different Ikea Vittsjo hack when we first purchased the table, but as I say we just decided to keep it simple at that point. Now though, with my money saving head on, I thought it was time we tackled a DIY and tried something a little different.
Having reupholstered things previously we did have an idea of where to start, but something we’d never attempted before was adding buttons. I found a great tutorial at Melodrama which really helped get us started.
Depending on whether you want to keep the glass the table comes with will depend where you begin with this tutorial. For us this wasn’t an option, so we used an old piece of MDF, cut to size, for the new top. We then started by marking out where we wanted the buttons to sit once the top was upholstered.
As you can see we went for a fairly straightforward pattern using 8 buttons. Once these had been marked out we cut our foam to size (which we purchased from Dunelm) and laid the foam underneath with the markings facing upwards. To keep the foam in place we used some spray adhesive, which you could probably skip if you don’t have any to hand. Once the foam was affixed to the wood Simon drilled through each of the holes and all the way through the foam.
In the process we somehow managed to get our foam filthy – good job that the next stage is covering it! Recovering a rectangle is really straightforward, just cut your fabric roughly to size, pull tight and staple as you go, kind of like wrapping a present. Once everything is stabled and secure I’d suggest cutting off any excess fabric to prevent it hanging down.
You can obviously use whatever fabric you like for this. I do you’d need something fairly thick to make the top feel cohesive and hide any difference between the foam and wood however. As we were purchasing our foam we came across one reduced curtain in Dunelm (not sure where the other one had gone!) so we only paid around £8 for quite a big, thick piece of fabric.
Once the top was covered we moved onto what was the trickiest bit of this hack. It wasn’t too difficult, but we’d never used self covering buttons before and the knack of covering them with the fabric was a bit fiddly. The ones we purchased came with a template to cut around to save any guess work with the fabric.
As you can see above you pull the fabric over the button and then secure it with another metal plate. There is something surprisingly satisfying about recovering buttons!
Once you have all your buttons you need to attach them to the recovered top. For this we used upholstery thread, a massive needle and a bit of patience! The tutorial I shared above explains it quite well, but you need to thread the needle, push it through the back of the top and out through the fabric. Once the needle and thread is on the right side of the top attach the button, loop it 3 or 4 times to hold it secure and then thread back through the hole to the underneath of the board. Finding the hole through the fabric can take patience, but we got there in the end!
To make sure our buttons were secure we tied a double knot in the end of the thread, before using a stable gun to hold the thread in place. We found that if you pulled it at different angles it helped keep everything tight.
Once you’ve secured all your buttons you should be left with a slightly abstract pattern – just like above. After this, it’s the moment of truth!
We didn’t use fabric with a noticeable pattern so we didn’t need to check which way our buttons were sitting. However, if you’re using fabric with a pattern then I’d suggest checking the button placement as you go. Once the top was finished we placed it back onto the frame, and Simon then drilled through the tabs (on the coffee table frame) and into the wooden base of the top to hold it secure.