Man’s IKEA Hack of a Teddy Bear Computer Goes Viral After 20 Years

bear a byte ikea teddy bear computer
Image credit: Clint Basinger of LGR

In a heartwarming story of creativity and nostalgia, Peter Isaacson shared his incredible IKEA hack from over 20 years ago — transforming an IKEA VARLIG plushie bear into a functioning Pentium III computer for his wife. What’s more impressive is how this teddy bear computer — rendered obsolete for years — lives again.

According to Isaacson, it all started when his wife wanted a PC. But she also liked teddy bears. Putting two and two together, Isaacson devised his amazing IKEA hack when he spotted the large VARLIG plushie bear on a trip to IKEA. He knew he could hack it to create a “bear suit” for his wife’s computer.

The one and only Teddy Bear Computer

Image credit: Peter Isaacson

Isaacson put in about 40 hours in this mod. He started by splitting open the $40 VARLIG bear, hollowing out the insides of the teddy bear. Then, he inserted a baby AT tower case into the belly. Any displaced stuffing was relocated to the head and limbs. The hardest part of the hack was sewing the body to the PC case cover. The excess bear fabric was folded in as he sewed it to the case. The only part that was discarded was the tail.

Isaacson added faux fur to the faceplate for a fun touch. Sourced from a local fabric store, the fur was stuck on the front panel of the PC tower with spray adhesive. He followed that with a lot of trimming with a cordless beard trimmer to make the fur blend with the original hair of the VARLIG bear.

To address concerns about heat, the back of the case was left uncovered since Pentium III computers didn’t generate as much heat as modern computers.

The Bear-A-Byte served his family for years until it was ultimately rendered obsolete. The teddy bear computer was wrapped in plastic, taking up space in the garage. He eventually listed it on Craigslist, where it was purchased by Clint Basinger of the Lazy Game Reviews (LGR) YouTube channel. He’s known as “a person who covers weird old computers,” and this was right up his alley.

IKEA Teddy Bear Computer rescued

PC tower removed from the IKEA bear housing | Image credit: Clint Basinger of LGR

LGR first knew about the IKEA teddy bear PC through @compgeke, who posted on Twitter about the unique teddy bear computer up for sale on Craigslist. LGR was tagged on the Tweet thread, bombarded with emails from readers urging him to rescue the one-of-a-kind Bear PC from oblivion.

So he says, “Somebody had to save it, right? And I guess it may as well be me.”

However, the teddy bear computer was located on the other side of the country, in Los Angeles, California. After help from a viewer, the Bear-A-Byte was on his doorstep.

The Bear-A-Byte is what it is – a Pentium III computer crammed into the interior of an IKEA teddy bear. If this doesn’t win the IKEA hack of the year, I don’t know what will!

Isaacson is delighted that LGR rescued the bear, “I’m so insanely chuffed that of all the people who could give this thing a loving home, it turns out to be LGR! LGR, you’ve done justice to my PC. You’re truly the most perfect human to be the owner of my machine who will cherish and love it as much as me, my wife, and kids did!”

Clint gave the computer some much-needed TLC, starting with a good clean-up of 20 years of dust, corrosion, and grime. He also added a hard drive and Windows ME operating system and thoroughly tested all components. He needs to work on a few minor issues, but “I am pleasantly surprised that it works,” he concludes.

Bear PC goes viral

The IKEA hack has since gained attention on social media, with many users expressing their delight at the creative and unique transformation. LGR’s rescue efforts have garnered over 17K likes.

One viewer on LGR’s channel comments, “You need to patent this. A Pikachu PC like this would be cool.” Another says, “It is both a nightmare and a work of art. Junji Ito Body Horror meets Paddington.” “You’re a mad genius, and I almost want you to build me one,” says another commenter.

This story inspires us to think outside the box and find new uses for everyday items, even common household items. You never know what amazing things you can create with imagination.

Is anyone keen to hack this teddy bear computer in the giant IKEA DJUNGELSKOG brown bear soft toy? If you do, let us know.

See LGR’s restore the IKEA Teddy Bear Computer in this video.

Jules Yap