Helmer Fug

hahahaha i am making out with myself over that title. (wait for it)

so here's a quick IKEA hackity/upgrade sort of project that i did recently. super easy plus wham-bamical impact.

before: IKEA HELMER drawer unit. red, metallic, labelable (hey, say that word out loud...such fun!) super useful and affordable plus the nostalgia of feeling like youre at your locker in between classes when you toss something in a drawer and hear that resounding steel GLONG noise, "gotta run! i'm late for German II! no wait, i'm 31."


also comes in lovely neutral shades, but if you think that 2 years ago keight was smart enough to select a neutral over FIRE ENGINE EYEBALL ASSAULT red, well, you just dont even understand how stupid i was or how far i have come in knowing my own style.

these units have been spectacularly useful in my sewing adventures. lots of drawers with just enough space to divide and contain many small collections of objects.  so when i kicked layla out of her room and into the closet (but not like that) and took it over as my big girl "Studio" (i'm very fancy: know this) i allowed the red HELMERS to come along even in their garish color,  for storganization if not style perfection.

hello, little friends. you'll live in this happy place now.

but finally we repainted this room. *note: painting OVER darkest grey is a royal bitch. it took like 6 coats to get the room white! i should mention that in a fit of lazy cheapsk8edness i opted for exterior paint instead of proper primer and this may or may not (but definitely did) affect the efficiency of the repaint*.

and of course, you may remember that one of these walls was extra special:


so with a nice sparkly new set of walls (which i'm not showing you today) my double pack of Big Red had officially worn out its welcome and needed to keep it tight to keep pace with my sexier-by-the-minute room.

so i opted to keep the function and spruce the form: a lil' paint project with ombre and pantone's color of the year as my inspiration.

i tossed the paper labels, took off the hardware and then roughed everything up with sandpaper (crucial or anything you paint on will come right off at the slightest scratch). 

then i painted the drawer-less frame with white spray paint,  and primed the drawers with spray primer.

here they are in progress as layla ponders morality after some grumpy disobedience. (just did a fast and dirty paint job on the inside since it should pretty much never be seen).

a closer shot. and a classic talking to from judah to layla, "layla, you're bein' really dark right now, but we're 'posed tuh shine like stars." seriously....this kid.

then i snagged a sample tub of the pantone color from lowe's for $3 (everything else so far i already had on hand).

shine bright like an...emerald.

i got out six disposable bowls and some white craft paint and added a little more white to each successive bowl (none in the first one and then lots in the 6th). then i added the emerald to each bowl (lots in the first, almost none in the 6th). and then i mixed them up to check the ombre-ness. this is kind of annoying and can take some time. use popsicle sticks in each bowl as your stirrers.

NOTE: this could have been done a lot faster but for a bit more money if i had just  bought a sample of each of the 6 shades i wanted in pre-ombre'd colors, like often come on a paint chip at the store.

see how the naturally dilute down in a perfect ombre effect? easy peasy to get them mixed and then apply straight to the project. 

but since i was just wanting a cheap makeover and didnt want to invest in all that paint, i just DIY'd the ombre. 

my drawer pulls got a quick zap of metallic gold spray paint (that i already had).

i replaced the paper handwritten labels with some cute vintage-looking cardstock scraps and stamped on the contents with a cute lil' alphabet set i snagged at michaels for 90 cents. 

a top coat of clear protector spray was the final touch...just in case i get rough or throwsy during one of my sewing she-hulk rages. cant let my outbursts leave scratches! 

i love how it all turned out!

im no photographer so the pic doesnt capture the real colors like i'd like, but i got fairly close to a perfect descending ombre effect. huzzah!

again, not great photo color, but i do love how i just willy-nilly stamped the letters on (trying to align them perfectly was a fools errand quickly discarded) for a little bit of fun.

my faithful HELMER is no longer Fug is is worthy of the ALMOST-completed studio (which i cant wait to show off).

obviously this will work on anything metal. i'm thinking thrifted lockers, an old filing cabinet, even trick out an old set of tool drawers (or just do your hubby's...he'll ADORE ombre in his workspace, obviously!)


  1. Looks amazing! Very impressed over here!

  2. Love this! We have several filing cabinets lying around, so this is inspiring.

  3. So fun! I love your craftiness =)

  4. Did you use a paint that is just for metal?