Ikea Build Your Own Shelf

Ikea Build Your Own Shelf – Hey friends! You know that top secret project I was hinting around? Well, I finally finished it! Today I’m bringing you a complete tutorial on my built-in library with remote lighting! Wow…that’s a long title! I can’t even tell you how long I’ve wanted a library wall. From day one of living in this house, I thought my living room wall needed some architectural attention. At first I was thinking of adding a board and wood 3/4 way to the massive space, but after much thought I decided to bite the bullet and make myself some shelves! I am so excited about how this custom made library unit turned out! So come with me as I explain exactly how I built this custom built in library!

Can you believe this is an Ikea bill book hack? Yes, that’s right! It cost me about $3,000 to have a piece built like this, and if I had a smoker contract. However, wanting to make my dreams come true, but not the high price, I went to research other options. I came across some library walls that I liked on Pinterest and quickly realized that I could start my vision with 3 bookcases and a lotta elbow grease! The whole unit (including everything) came to just under $400 and took me 5 days of sleep time (calculated in about 10 hours of build time for the fanny mom).

Ikea Build Your Own Shelf

3 billy bookcases and 3 wide units formed the basis of this masterpiece of a library! Found HERE and HERE!

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*all these measurements are specific to my exact design. This unit can be modified as you wish. Also, please take your measurements before making any cuts, as your measurement may vary slightly even if you make this exact unit!

Crown assembly – 107.5″ cut at a 45 degree angle on both ends (plus) 2 additional pieces measuring 11.5″ with one side at a 45 degree angle (you can see how to cut the crown edges HERE).

Board – 107.5 inches for the front piece at an outside 45 degree angle at the edge of the cut (plus) 2 additional pieces measuring 11.5 inches with one side at an outside 45 degree angle and one side at an inside 45 degree angle

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Let’s start with the hardest part…the Ikea assembly instructions! These bookshelves weigh about 100 pounds each. Trust me I know because I loaded those animals up and pushed them all over the barn with 2 kids and a baby in tow! I wish I had a video of this! So Ikea… 2 people are better than one when it comes to assembly!

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Once you master building a billy bookcase, the rest is cake! I made all 3 units and the expansion pieces in 1 hour. It’s really not that bad! I played around with the spacing of the bookcases a bit and finally settled on 6 1/2″ spacing between each bookcase. This allows an 8 inch piece of plywood to cover the gap. I’ll get to that later!

After I got my spacing right, I set the bookcase aside and used the measurements to cut my baseboard. I just bought this oscillator and I must say it has been really useful. I cut up my existing board and knew I would use it for the front of the bookcase. It helps me achieve that high-quality, built-in feel. * If you want to use your existing board, be sure to cut the wall at a 45 degree angle.

With the baseboard cut, I moved the bookcase into place and this is where the fun begins. I drove over to Lowe’s and had the friendly guy (whom I now know well) cut a sheet of plywood into 5 pieces (shown on the cut list). I gathered the rest of my supplies and headed back home to start building!

I used 1×2 boards to make the thin plywood pieces inside almost as stable as the frame. I nailed the boards around the top perimeter and at each corner.

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Using my nail gun, I put a 10 inch wide board on top of the drawers, overlapping the front by an inch. It ran almost the entire length, minus about 10″. I cut the rest and nailed it to finish the front. I then attached the side pieces that measured about 11.5″.

Now that I had the top panel built, I attached an 8 inch wide vertical panel to cover the space between the bookshelves. I glued the panel to the sides of the bookcase and nailed it using my permanent nail gun. I waited to nail the second vertical panel until I had the bulb lights on. That’s where I hide all the wires!

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I painted the top whisper white to match the existing molding in my house. I have found that a foam roller works best! I let the paint dry overnight and installed the bulb lights the next day. (Sorry this photo was taken after the lights were installed, but you get the idea!)

The bulb lights were hardwired, so I converted them to plug-in lights with cheap extension cords. (I’m not an electrician, but I’ll share a simple tutorial next week). All wires go to a power strip hidden behind the right panel. I grabbed a power strip that came with a remote and BOOM! – remote lighting!

Ikea Billy Bookcase Hacks

The black and bronze pendant lights were a great find online. They were only $25 each. You can find 10 other similar lights for $25-$50 HERE.

Now that I had all the important elements in place, I had this beast with crown molding and trim! Real change has happened here! I used a bevel along the 2 outer edges to smooth it out. I used the same thin trim to cover the seam between the bookcase and the wide unit.

I attached the crown to the top of the 1×2 frame using a nail gun. I attached a thin piece of molding to the bottom of the light panel to hide the seams and add more visual interest. If you’ve never cut a crown before like I did, be sure to watch the video I linked above! It was very helpful!

I finished the bottom with my original board. Luckily I had some scraps left over from the basement to use for the sides!

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Now that everything was assembled, I attached this built-in beast to the wall using the hardware that came with the billy cabinets. I anchored a bracket on one shelf to the bone and 2 more brackets for extra security. That’s a total of 9 brackets for the unit, 3 of which are attached to the bones. I have 3 little thugs running around my house and I want to make sure they stay alive and crazy!

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Finally, I grabbed my gun and went to town on all the shelves. I sealed the cracks in the crown and baseboard and all the trim work. I am always amazed at the healing power of kaul! Somehow it magically fixes all my mistakes and turns me into a pro!

A few coats of Kwal Whisper White Enamel Paint and Viola! My indoor bookcase library unit is complete! Remote lighting and all! I quickly decorated my new library wall with items I already had. I have a feeling these shelves are going to make a big difference!

I have to say this is one of my favorite projects ever! I learned so much making this beauty! What do you think? Are you brave enough to try it?

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The kids have had so much fun reading their books and playing in here and baby Lou loves emptying all her toys out of each box! A library wall adds so much charm and character to our home. I can’t wait to add more personal touches. I can say it was time and money well spent!

I always appreciate you sticking up for it! If you liked this tutorial and found it useful, please help me by liking the image below. Pin it so you don’t forget! I love to share my work and help others build their dream home.

Oh, and here are some clothes to wear in case you need a pair of well-worn pants!

But after tearing out the entire first floor of the house last summer and spending the last year rebuilding it, I was definitely running out of steam. And money. But don’t worry!

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The next best thing was just an IKEA trip away. This built-in Billy bookcase project gave me an affordable way to create a custom cabinet feel for our home library.

I’ve seen a lot of IKEA Billy bookcases in the blogosphere, so I knew how well these composite and laminate shelves would hold up after a little wear.


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