5 times, the IKEA Blue Bag carried the unexpected and the macabre

Photo Credit: IKEA.com

The durable IKEA blue bag is used to carry many things ranging from flatpack furniture to laundry, but its recent cargo may rank as one of the most intriguing.

1. A Stolen Van Gogh Painting

Vincent van Gogh, Spring Garden, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, 1884.
Photo Credit: Groninger Museum, Photograph: Marten de Leeuw ©Vincent van Gogh, Spring Garden, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, 1884.

A tipster used the large, 99-cent IKEA FRAKTA bag to return a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, to private art crimes detective Arthur Brand.

The artwork was bubble-wrapped and carried in an IKEA bag when handed over to Brand, who has been investigating the theft of the 1884 Van Gogh painting. Brand says on his Instagram account that he closely coordinated with the Dutch Police to recover the painting successfully.

The oil-on-paper panel was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum three years ago on Van Gogh’s birthday while it was part of a temporary exhibition on loan from the Groninger Museum. Video security footage showed a masked man breaking through the Singer Laren’s glass doors using a sledgehammer and leaving with the Van Gogh under his arm. At the time of the theft, the painting was “thought to be worth millions” but had since lost virtually all its value as the painting made its rounds in the criminal circuit.

Despite the nefarious intentions on the artwork, the Van Gogh has remained in a relatively good state. In a press release, the Groninger Museum explains, “The painting has suffered but is – at first glance – still in good condition. It will be scientifically investigated in the coming months.

The museum cannot yet estimate when the recovered painting will be displayed again. “It could take weeks, if not months,” it says.

2. Swans

Photo Credit: Secret World Wildlife

In 2017, the Secret World Wildlife Rescue asked its supporters for IKEA FRAKTA bags on its Facebook page. “We use these IKEA​ bags for rescuing and releasing swans and desperately need some more.”

Secret World Wildlife Rescue is a 24/7 rescue center for orphaned and injured wildlife in the UK. Trained volunteers sit a swan on the swan wrap. They hold the neck of the swan gently to keep it still. Then, the volunteers apply the swan wrap to protect the wings. The swans are placed in the IKEA blue bags and transported for further treatment.

IKEA responded to the call and donated their bags to the rescue mission.

3. A Bridal Gown

bridal bathroom helper ikea blue bag hack
Photo Credit: Tina for IKEA Hackers

In 2018, Tina’s clever IKEA hack for a typical wedding day problem went viral. With a long mermaid wedding dress, she was worried about “going to the bathroom and not being able to handle myself.” The alternative was to have a bridesmaid hold up her gown and help her with number 1, but that wasn’t ideal for her.

She chanced upon the idea of turning the 19-gallon crinkly blue bag into a bridal bathroom helper, enabling her to go to the bathroom on her own. All she needed to do was cut the base of the bag — large enough to go around her hips. She recommends the cut to be snug so the gown’s skirt doesn’t fall through. Place the longer straps on the shoulders to hold up the bag with the skirt tucked inside.

4. Dogs on the subway

The New York City subway allows dogs on trains only when they are in containers. Trust New Yorkers to get creative and come up with IKEA hacks for their dogs. The IKEA FRAKTA is popular for larger breeds of dogs. Cut holes for dog legs, and the bag becomes an IKEA dog carrier and walker. For small dogs, tuck them inside and carry on.

5. Skeletons in blue bags

In 2014, Kicki Karlén discovered the remains of around 80 people stuffed into a few sets of IKEA blue bags. “There were around 80 skeletons,” she told Swedish paper, The Local.

The remains were once buried under the floorboards of the Kläckeberga church. Nevertheless, it may not be as macabre as it seems. The man who dug them up, archaeologist Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, told The Local he was on the team called in to dig out the bones in 2009 as the church underwent a renovation. The plan was to rebury the bones, some dating as old as 500 years. But the reburial was delayed, and the bags of bones were left in the IKEA bags, covered by a tarp.

Papmehl-Dufay has this to say about the cost-effective storage method: “It’s not standard practice, definitely not for archaeologists, but the IKEA bags aren’t actually that bad. They’d be great for stopping the molding process. But it can’t be that good to have them in the basement for so long.”

IKEA hackers have long found the bags to be one of the best things from IKEA. They’ve used the IKEA FRAKTA bags, including making DIY hanging planters and a convertible diaper bag.

This originally appeared on IKEA Hackers.