Published on February 2nd, 2009 | by Jules Yap


Adding interest to a plain Vika tabletop

Marleen decorates her Vika Amon tabletop kitsch style.

She says, “I had an old white Vika Amon tabletop with square wooden legs (which they no longer seem to sell, can’t find them on the site). It had spent a few years as a desk and then a few more as a dining table, and was getting ugly – deep scratches, and the finish was flaking off. So I did the following to it.

(Note the preparatory drawings on the left – and the chair on the right, which is an old Ivar chair whose bottom was cracked, so I upholstered it with an old pair of jeans. Oh yes, and I did ‘hack’ the table slightly – one leg has been moved in to make it easier to sit on the bench.)

Here it is in its full glory!

Getting there:
1. Painted it blue with spray paint for a slightly cloudy effect.

2. Cut out lots and lots of pictures and arranged them according to my guides, drawn on the (dry) paint with chalk – a few from magazines, and some postcards, but mostly those glossy ones kids have collected since about the dawn of time. (Had fun shopping for them!)

3. Glued the pictures down with regular white wood glue diluted with a bit of water – press them down with a very slightly damp sponge so they won’t curl up! The magazine paper is really too thin, it wrinkles up hopelessly.

4. Covered the whole thing with 5 layers of polyurethane varnish, letting them dry about 12 hours in between (and a week before using the table!)

5. Voilà! (That’s an Ikea rug on the wall, too)

Took me an entire weekend, but I think it was well worth it! Visiting children love it. (The adults spend quite a while looking at it, too) Any more of this thing in the place would be a kitsch overload, of course, but within reason… I even took one of the pictures, straightened it out, and use it for wallpaper on my laptop. One of my professors thought it was a Klimt. Thanks to the varnish, spills are no problem, though I’ve not tested its heat resistance yet!”
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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

14 Responses to Adding interest to a plain Vika tabletop

  1. epdrama says:

    awwwww.. i love the cloudy and dreamy effect =]

  2. Marleen says:

    I’m not sure photos would work, because the ink on whatever you use needs to be water resistant, both for pressing them down and for varnishing later. If you want to print your own, you’ll probably be out of luck – do a test print and drip some water on it, but I’m afraid it will run. You might be more successful with commercially printed photos.

    Of course, you could simply make a collage on the underside of a glass table or something, if you really want to use photos. :)

  3. Jojaye says:

    For Cuddly Family

    I have one of those I too got sick of constant crumbs in the gaps. We fixed it with white paintable adhesive/sealing caulk.
    Then used a sander with fine grit to rough up the finish, cleaned off with tack cloth. Painted with thin coats of water base floor white paint. Wait 12 hours between coats ( label says 6 hours untrue) wait 24 hours then coat with the polycoat for floors water based. Wait the 12 hours between coats – it takes time – however the results are worth it! We used a power sprayer by Wagner to apply paint & sealer.
    Sorry we have no photo of finished fixed table. No camera currently
    Good luck

  4. Pickel says:

    Marleen, Any idea if photographs would work well with this?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Marleen… Thanks so much… I’m not sure we have as many of these in the states as you do there… they’re beautiful! I’ll have to start looking more closely.
    Thanks again, Emie

  6. Marleen says:

    I had no idea how to translate those – they’re known variously as Glanzbilder, Oblaten, Poesiebilder, Vielliebchen, and Lackbilder, and that’s just in different parts of Germany! None of the dictionaries will offer much help, either.

    The closest equivalent would probably be Victorian die-cut scraps, though over here, the images aren’t always Victorian. I even saw some Pokemon ones!

    They’re just A4-sized sheets of glossy, embossed, printed paper, with the images cut out using a die, except for narrow strips still holding them together. Sometimes, they have glitter.

    They can have religious themes, more often children and flowers and animals. They were most popular when children still had friendship/autograph books rather than facebook accounts, but you can still find them now. I simply bought them at the toy shop and the stationery shop.

  7. Marleen says:

    No need to apologise for not liking it! Not everybody has the same taste, which is quite fortunate, really.

    But thanks for being polite about your difference of opinion. The internet needs more people like you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Love this table!!! Question tho… what are these glossy cards that kids have been collecting? I’m nost sure I know about them.
    Thanks for sharing, Emie

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, but that looks pretty awful to me. I think it’s the blue and the odd shape it makes. Not my style I guess but glad you like it and you should be proud of your work.

  10. Marleen says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you like it – I have one friend who just said “Thank goodness for tablecloths”…

    The PU varnish was just from the hardware/DIY shop. I used the kind for stairs because it’s especially hard and doesn’t scratch so easily. It’s water-based, so the brushes are fairly easy to clean if you don’t let them dry out, and no fumes. I think I paid around 5€ for the tin.

    Moisture – condensation from glasses, spills, wiping with a wet rag – will sometimes leave white spots, but they disappear within an hour or two as it dries out again.

    As for the problem table – how about simply covering it with a wipeable vinyl tablecloth for everyday use? Seems simplest to me.

  11. Ruthie says:

    Marleen, you did a wonderful job! Your table is beautiful and inspiring. Thanks to you, I’m looking at my kitchen table in a different light now!

  12. Rane says:

    Where do you get the
    polyurethane varnish?
    How much does it run on
    cost? I want to do this
    but have never used this
    product before!
    Thanks a million!
    iremembersleep (at) yahoo (dot) com

  13. I have a dining table, white, extendable, unfortunately I cant remember the name of it haha.

    I hate the gaps that collect food so I have to clean it constantly.

    anyone have a “hack” so I can seal it up and keep it easier to clean. It’s a good table otherwise, dont really wanna sell it or anything to get a new one.

  14. Adam Snider says:

    That is so cool! I’m in need of a new kitchen table, so I may do something similar to this.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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