We love IKEA and we love hacking their basic and affordable pieces to make unique and custom storage solutions (like this one we just finished in our entryway). Building from scratch is really satisfying, but using pre-existing furniture to create what you want can be just as satisfying AND a lot faster (and sometimes costs less, too!). Our reader Kristin sent in this IKEA hack bookshelf, inspired by the modern rustic console here. She used the uber affordable IVAR pieces to save some time and money and make a bookshelf to fit her space — THREE bookshelves, actually!
Kristin took pictures as she built and so graciously agreed to share her detailed instructions with you — leave her some love in the comments and I’d love to hear what your favorite IKEA pieces are… to use or to hack 😉
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Rustic Modern IKEA Hack Bookshelf
by reader Kristin
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I had seen this project and was planning to do it, except in a smaller size (to fit a 40 in space). As I was adjusting measurements, my husband said “what if we used the IKEA Ivar shelving pieces”. We had several of them in closets for storage so we knew they were pine and super easy to use. Benefits are that the pieces are cheap ($10 for a 70” side support, $5 per shelf, $5 for cross bar) and the shelves are adjustable. Because I wanted a thicker top I did build that myself. But using these plans as a base, I bought and learned to use a KREG-JIG tool. I also spray painted the sides and the ends of the shelves in black, like your plan. And I stained it in a dark walnut, which matches our house theme.
I wanted 2 matching bookshelves, one for each side of my dining hutch.
I purchased 2 IKEA Ivar side units, only $12 each.
Note: My original plan was to purchase the 70” high ones but I accidentally bought the 89” high ones (which turned out to be a lucky mistake as I built a 3rd smaller version with the left overs).
I cut each side piece 31 1/2” inches from each end, leaving a 25” leftover piece from the middle. So I have 6 pieces at this point.
Note: If you only wanted to make one shelf you could but the IKEA side units do not have the “cross supports” equally distributed so you would have to be okay with them being at different heights on your one bookshelf.
In order to be able to attach them to my top piece I added an extra 1” x 2” screwed across each piece. I cut this exactly the size I needed to fit my top.
I primed those and then spray painted them all black.
For the 2 larger shelves I bought 4 IKEA Ivar 12” x 33” shelves, only $5 each. For the smaller bonus shelf I bought 2 IKEA Ivar 12” x 17” shelves, only $4 each.
I bought a 12” x 8’ pine board for the tops. I had Home Depot cut it into two 37” pieces and then had my leftover 22” piece (perfect size for my smaller unit). This board was the most expensive piece at $40.
I bought enough 1” x 2” boards (some 6’, some 8’) to make the borders around the tops. I used wood glue and the KREG tool to attach all the pieces.
I primed and stained the top pieces and all the shelves.
I also spray painted the ends of the IKEA shelves the same black.
I bought 2 IKEA Cross Bars to make the larger bookshelves sturdy, $5 each. They were too big for the smaller one so I used picture hanging wire and ran it across diagonally to look like the IKEA cross bar, looping it over itself in the middle. I spray painted all these black as well.
I installed the shelves (to help get the width correct), screwed the sides to the tops, attached the cross bars, and I was done!
I use the 3rd smaller shelf as a TV shelf in the master bath.