IKEA Hack: Sidewalk Sandwich Board


I’m a big fan of the website IKEA Hackers. I love design, I love being inventive, and I mostly love-hate IKEA. IKEA and I have the same relationship as a teenager and parent. I know I need them, they know I need them. I can’t really afford anything without them, but it doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

ANYhow. For the second time in my life, I found myself with a broken (albeit very poorly assembled) IKEA dresser ready for the trash. This time, it was the Hemnes 3-drawer, updated with Hobby Lobby knobs:


After letting it sit in our garage for six months, unwilling to trash something that (besides the broken drawer) was generally in good condition, Aaron and I finally decided to disassembled for the dumpster.

As we were breaking it down, I was holding one of the sides of the dresser up, and it dawned on me – the left and right side back to back look exactly like one of those chalkboards you see outside bars and cafes announcing the specials.

So we decided to make it into one.


I suppose this is the point where I should say that isn’t so much an IKEA hack in the strict sense, since it pretty much involves destroying said IKEA piece. But if you’ve already got a broken dresser (or find one cheap on Craigslist) well, this one’s for you!


  1. Chalkboard Paint. We decided against spray paint after reading a few reviews that it isn’t as durable, and thought it might be a little more manageable to get in the right places since not everything was going to be painted. Granted, the can of paint was $14, but for this hack we barely put a dent in it.
  2. Two Hinges. It doesn’t really matter what kind of hinges, they just need to be about 1.5 inches in length.
  3. Two Eye Screws.
  4. Some Twine. You’ll only need about a foot/foot and a half, so just use whatever you have around the house.
  5. Painter’s Tape. Scotch blue, NOT that Blue Hawk brand. I’ve done enough DIY painting projects to be able to tell a difference in quality/results.
  6. Cheap Paintbrush. Any kind. I think mine was about 2 inches wide.
  7. A Sharp Knife. Definitely wait until the paint entirely dries before peeling off the painter’s tape. Even so, you might have to score along the edge with a sharp knife before attempting it -the paint is thicker than most, so even with the good tape you might hit some patches where the paint wants to peel into the board area.

Total cost: About $20

How To:

  1. Take the dresser apart. Keep the left and right side panels and remove all the leftover screws and hardware.
  2. Add the hinges. Lay the two pieces face down with the tops together and screw in the open hinges. Make sure you don’t put them on backwards – you want the sandwich board to be able to completely fold flat when done.
  3. Add the eye screws. Drill a pilot holes on either side of the center bottom interior beam. Then screw them in and tie the twine to either end, to the length you want.
  4. Paint. Tape off the edges. When you start your first coat, you have to work fast so that it dries smoothly. I’d recommend painting one vertical section at a time, going left to right and making sure to swipe your paint brush from top to bottom across the whole piece when you’re done with that section, so the paint has minor vertical lines.
  5. Wait. Wait a full 24 hours before applying a second coat. And another full 24 hours before drawing on it with chalk.
  6. Write some drink specials. Then enjoy them. The end.








One thought on “IKEA Hack: Sidewalk Sandwich Board

  1. this is super cute. (I’d love to do the same thing, but I imagine a dry-erase board might be more useful in my apartment for programming discussions:) )

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