Published on January 21st, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Ikea boxes as art supplies

I bought a few of those shadowboxes too and am also heartbroken that they are no longer available. Here is what Michelle’s husband did with his collection. She also shares a simple idea for a sensory table for infants.

Ikea art
Michelle says, “I thought I would share some art that my husband made using old Ikea shadow boxes. Unfortunately, the shadow box is now discontinued (sigh) but it was able to be used in many an art project between my husband and I when it was available. My husband, Matt Ritchie, used them to make 4 by 6 inch dioramas. Using hand cut wood acrylic paint, and the Ikea boxes. The boxes used to come with a heart or key inside, and were really hard to open since the glass in front was glued in. We had to tap (well, pound) the box on the ground to loosen the glue, and the glass would usually come out pretty easily. Anyway, I hope you like these little art pieces!

Rast sensory table
“I turned this little Ikea nightstand (Rast) upside down and excluded a shelf so i could add a small bin to it and make it a sensory table for my infant/toddler class. I put different sorts of sensory objects in the bin, like flour, dirt, sand, oatmeal etc, and the kids love to pour them from one cup to another. the shelf was just the right height for the toddlers in my class, and I made all four for way cheaper than one pre-made table. Then I used acrylic paint to add the flowers on the sides!”

More hacks on

Congrats to Martina and Sonic the hamster!
Kiss box

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".

19 Responses to Ikea boxes as art supplies

  1. Laurie says:

    You just saved my family about $250. I have a toddler that won’t stand up or walk, but will stand at a sensory table forever. This looks like a great solution.

  2. Maéval says:

    si vous avez fait cette table “sensorielle” récemment pouvez vous ne dire quelle boite ikéa avez vous utilisée ? merci d’avance

  3. Anonymous says:

    I made one today and also left both shelves on. Is it necessary to remove the bottom shelf? From the pictures above it looks like the bottom shelf was removed? Does either shelf NEED to be removed to place a bin?

  4. Shannon says:

    I just made this for my daughter! Thank you so much for such a great idea! Just to help some others, I was just at IKEA and couldn’t find the Slugis boxes. But I had an Antonius tub (part of the organization system) at home and it works perfect. I checked the price and they are $7.99.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Same question here, please! Would love to know which bins you used. Thanks! :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic idea!! I just made it today. I kept the bin secure by using velcro. It works perfectly and doesn’t budge with 2 toddlers playing with it. I assembled it with the shelf to make it sturdy and use it to store a second bin to hold their tools (spoons, funnels, measuring cups, etc.). Thanks for the great idea!!

    • Anonymous says:

      where did you get your bins? can’t find them at Ikea?

    • karwee says:

      Above, in the thread, the author said the bins are $5.99 slugis boxes from Ikea. It doesn’t seem like Ikea carries these anymore. If anyone has made this table recently, I’d love to know what bins you used instead.

  7. Faye says:

    oh wonderful idea. and so simple! you could easily cut the excluded shelf into strips and make it a lip on the front and back to hold the bin in place better. very nice though.

    i think i will make a play table for my son this way, and have a bin there when its time to do sensory or any play that a bin is needed. thanks! i will also add a bin underneath that rolls out to put his art supplies in. thanks for the idea again

  8. N. says:

    I love this idea too – easy to make! I wonder if you could add a small lip or something like that to the open end so the bin can’t be pulled out so easily. I’d be interested to hear on how durable and successful these were with the kids.

  9. inumidun says:

    I love these sensory tables. They look fantastic. I typically use bowls and bins for sensory play now I am seriously considering trying this project! I also blogged about them at:

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve priced sensory tables and was so excited to find this project! Did you add anything to keep the children from pulling the bins off the table?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Michelle here! I’m so glad everyone has enjoyed my little sensory table project. The boxes I used are indeed the white slugis boxes. I think they’re the ones for 5.99$ Thanks to everyone who said such lovely things! ~

  12. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful :)

  13. they look like that to me, too, but the slugis are not clear, and these seem clear.
    LOVE these!!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The boxes/tubs look like Slugis ones from Ikea to me:

  15. I would like to know abotu the tubs, as well.

  16. Andrea says:

    What a wonderful little table! Where did you get the tubs? They fit perfectly.

  17. DJinny says:

    Nice work! I love the nightstand turned into a “table” its easy to put something that would roll under!!

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