DIY Gold Table Number Holders Using $0.99 Ikea Tolsby Frames

If you’re looking to save a couple bucks on purchasing table number holders, here’s a simple DIY tutorial on how to make your own golden frames to use as table numbers!

Main Supplies:

white ikea tolsby stand Rustoleum Specialty Metallic Gold Spray Paint
IKEA Tolsby Frame, $0.99 Rustoleum Specialty Metallic Gold Spray Paint, $3.76 each or $22.56 for a 6-pack

I had 26 tables so I ordered 28 frames (2 extra for testing/mistakes) and a 6 pack of Rustoleum Specialty Metallic Gold spray paint. I did a lot of research around which gold looks best and this one was generally the consensus for a bright, brassy gold. Anika’s DIY Life has great color comparison photos of 8 different gold spray paints if you’re looking for a different shade of gold. In terms of number of spray paint cans, I think I ended up using around 2.5 cans for all the frames. I used 2 other cans for spraying my 175+ geometric orb favors/centerpieces and my gift card box (posts to come!).

Supplementary Supplies:

  • A ventilator mask. I know there are high tech ones that look like hazmat suits but for such a small project, I just got this Chemical Odor Valved Respirator from Amazon. The extra valve helped keep my face from getting too hot and sweaty inside, which is what would happen if you used a simple dust mask.
  • Safety goggles (just to be sure none of the paint gets in your eyes!)
  • Tack cloth (to remove any dust/dirt from the frames)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cardboard boxes/plastic tarp

Instructions:

1. Slide out all the plastic frame covers from the Tolsby frames, and assemble the bottom stand with the frame.
unpainted ikea tolsby frames

Optional: The plastic frames should be smooth already but it’s nice to wipe off any dust/lint from your frames with a tack cloth. I didn’t do this before spraying and I noticed that you could see the dust particles on some frames (not enough for your guests to notice!) Instead I wiped all the frames with the tack cloth after they were painted just to get off that extra layer of dirt/dust that might have gathered from being outside.

2. Find a spot outside where you can spray paint without getting the paint on anyone’s car/property and lay down your cardboard box/plastic tarp. Spray painting outdoors is better for ventilation, and you don’t run the risk of having a thin layer of paint particles all over your house.

  • Important:Shake the can of spray paint for a several minutes before getting started to make sure the paint is mixed well. Do a spot test spray to see how far you need to be to achieve the color you want. I was about 6-8 inches away.
  • Side note: Don’t spray paint on a windy day. The first day I tried painting, my frames got knocked down by a giant gust of wind and ruined my first layer! Ideally temperatures should be between 65°F and 85°F, when it’s not very humid.

rustoleum specialty metallic gold spray paint on ikea tolsby frame

3. Spray the paint in a quick and even side-to-side sweeping motion. DON’T just hold the nozzle down to get it covered in one go. I noticed that when I got too close to “fix” a spot, the paint got too concentrated and it started dripping. When I was too far, the spray painted landed like dust on the surface and left a prickly texture. WikiHow has a great article with more details and animations on how to spray paint 😀

4. Apply second coats to cover any spots where you can still see the original white frame. Since it was a dry, sunny day, the paint dried pretty quickly so I was able to do additional coats 5 minutes after to cover any spots I missed. It’s a little tricky to get the bottom corners covered so I waited another 20 minutes after I finished the last one to lay them down all on their sides so I can spray the bottom stand and the bottom corners all at once.

gold spray painted ikea tolsby frame

5. Wait for the frames to dry for at least an hour before bringing them indoors. I was short on time so I only let them dry for 20 minutes. They felt dry to the touch but they actually ended up getting scuffed a little when being in carried up all together in a box. I knew I was only going to use these for one day and most people wouldn’t notice so I shrugged it off but the perfectionist in me was like “Noooo! Everything is ruined :(”

  •  Let the frames get completely dry for at least 24 hours before handling them. The next day I wiped them down with the tack cloth because I didn’t like the dusty texture and now that I think about it, the frames might have been dusty because I was spraying every new frame in front of the last ones, so the extra spray particles probably just stuck on the ones behind it like dust.

6. Finally, sandwich your two 4″ x 6″ table number cards between the plastic frames and slide it in through the top of the stand. And you’re done! Here is my table number next to our center piece and our also handmade golden geometric orbs holding air plants favor 🙂 Took me a long time to make 150 of those but it was well worth it. Maybe a tutorial to come? Let me know if you’re interested by leaving a comment!

Funny coincidence: At our rehearsal dinner, restaurant used Ikea Tolsby stands painted with a dark rust color for our table signs!

Hope this post was useful! Full disclosure: this was my first time spray painting so there was some trial and error. If you have any spray painting tips or advice, I’m all ears! 🙂


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