As you all know, I have champagne tastes (hence why I married a wine guy), BUT on a bud light budget. So I am was all over the Ikeahack learning tower!!
Here's the one I used!!
I must preface this post- I HAVE NEVER BUILT ANYTHING IN MY LIFE. I can paint a room, hang some pictures, use a staple gun, even kinda use a drill, and am GREAT at 'building' ikea stuff, but that's about it. Aka, I am 100% a beginner.
After an awesome trip to Ikea with a 2 year old. No really, it was awesome- we pretty much let her run and jump on anything that couldn't kill her and had a great lunch and ice cream cone:
On President's day, I dutifully wrote down all the dimensions that I needed and took them to Home Depot to get it cut. In black are the instructions straight from the Ikeahack blog. In RED are my beginner comments/issues.
The four posts are 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 17″ (cut four) – *** but I suggest that you place the stool by your counter to make sure that the height of the tower will not exceed the height of the counter if you use our measurements. Therefore adjust the height of these posts according to your counter height.
So, 17" high was perfect for our counters. But I couldn't find any 1.5" x 1.5" so I bought 1.75" x 1.75" thinking it would still work great!!
- We used the same 1.5″ x 1.5″ wood for the sides as rails in the centre of the tower – 7″ long (cut two)
Fail #1: Because my wood was 1.75 NOT 1.5- I should have adjusted the length of the center wood. This forced me to use a hand saw (again I am a beginner with no fancy wood cutting equiptment). This part sucked- and caused these pieces to be rough/totally cockeyed.
- The other rails are all 3/4″ x 3.5″ wood. The side rails on the top measure 9 7/8″ (cut two). The back rails measure 15″ (cut two).
In my opinion, 3.5-inches is pretty wide. Therefore, I bought 2.5" wide and it seems just fine!!
Fail #2: The Home Depot guy didn't cut the top side rails at 9 7/8" more like 8 7/8"- I guess I should have measured them before I bought them!!
Fail #3: Another Beginner Confession: At my Home Depot, the wood I bought was priced PER linear food- not priced per piece. While still only $2ish a foot- I thought I was getting the whole 8-foot long piece for $2ish. So that signficiantly upped the price. If I had know this, I would have bought the cheaper wood. I ended up with birch which was the middle of the road pricewise. (PS the 1.75" x 1.75" wood was priced per 8-foot long piece NOT per foot- so not sure what causes the difference. Next time, I'll look closer to the pricing labels.)
Fail #4: DO NOT buy two back rails measuring 15" wide. As you can see in the pic below from Ikeahacker, the top back rail (with the blue arrow) also goes across the top side rail. Therefore, the top back rail needs to be 15-inches wide, while the bottom back rail needs to be less. I don't know what this width is- I realized that mine was too wide, so I decided to just skip the need for the back bottom rail. I think this works for me because I have a 2 year old kid- who is pretty self aware- you may want this rail for a younger kiddo.
- Our dowel (5/8″ diameter) on the front measures 16 3/8″ and goes through all the layers of wood on the ends – *** but I suggest that you only drill holes in the posts (1.5″ x 1.5″ x 17″), then thread the dowel through to both ends and then attach the side rails which will cover the holes – in this case, your dowel should be 14 7/8″ long (cut one)
Fail #5: As a newbie, the only drill bits that I have came in a handy yellow set (see pic below). Thus, I do not own a 5/8" diameter drill bit. While I bought the 14 7/8" long, 5/8 round dowel, I could only make a 3/8 inch whole. Thus, a big fail. I could have gone a bought the right drill bit, but realized that again with an older kid, I didn't need the back dowel piece. As you can see in the pic below, I did attempt to make a 5/8" whole with my 3/8" drill bid- so yes, I have a big empty whole in one piece of wood. Another reason no one should look closely at my finished tower.
And since I am sharing Fail #6: Being a newbie driller- I successfully stripped two screws in the process and that SUCKED. Big time. See the stripped screw below. This forced me to abandon the project for a week, feel really bad about myself, and have a couple cocktails to console myself!
Here's my win-ish tower in use for the first time yesterday while making popcorn with Dad!!
Please note: Fail #1.5: See Hubby's knee area- the rail is not all the way on the edge of the step due to Fail #1. C'est la vie.
And if you want to follow me in 'real time' here's yesterday's instagram post: Ikeahack by Mom, popcorn by Dad, and selfie with scabbed up nose by Sugar Bear (and tired puppy for good measure). Follow me @sugarspicelivin
PPS I only shed a drop or two of blood in the making of this tower!! Seriously, I did slice my right middle finger and currently have a bandaid on it- apropos no?