I’ve got an exciting project to share with you today, and it’s all about turning trash into a beautiful piece of furniture. Let me take you through the step-by-step hack process of how I built doors and turned an old, broken IKEA KALLAX cube shelf into a stunning sideboard. This is a great way for anyone to turn their old KALLAX shelves into something beautiful, and it’s become one of my favorite easy DIYs!
What do you need to build doors for an IKEA KALLAX shelf?
- Loctite Power Grab Ultimate Crystal Clear Constructive Adhesive
- Wood filler
- Black paint
- 1×2 pine boards
- White paint (diluted with water for whitewash, if you want)
- Wood stain (your choice of color)
- Burlap (or caning)
- Edge banding
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Step 1: Salvaging and Repairing the IKEA KALLAX Shelf
The journey from landfill to living room for this old IKEA shelf began when I stumbled upon a large IKEA KALLAX cube shelf in my neighborhood’s bulk trash pile. It was a bit beaten up and in need of some TLC, but I saw its potential and had a great idea for upcycling it and giving it a new home.
To prepare the IKEA KALLAX shelf for the door hack, my first step was to repair the old edging that had come loose from the sides of this open shelving unit. My Loctite Power Grab was perfect for this task! I applied the Loctite and smoothed the sides back in place. This constructive adhesive grabs on right away, so it was an instant, permanent fix for the old edge banding.
Then, I had to tighten the bolts on the side of the unit as far in as they could go and fill in the holes with wood filler. If you do this before you begin refinishing, you will ensure that the bolts are invisible on your finished piece of furniture. This gives it a fancy, solid wood look.
Afterward, I sanded down the glossy sheen of the IKEA laminate furniture to prepare it for a fresh start. I used my orbital sander, one of my favorite and most-used power tools for this type of project. This step is absolutely essential when painting IKEA furniture to ensure that the paint will adhere properly to the surface. To make super safety certain that the paint would stick, I applied Kilz 2 Primer.
Now that it was all prepped and ready, it was time to begin giving this old shelf a whole different look!
Step 2: Painting the KALLAX Shelf
With the prep work done, it was time to add a new coat of paint. I decided to paint the frame black. I started with a roller, but quickly realized that it would take so many layers of paint to get the look I wanted this way. So, I opted to get out my sprayer to achieve a smooth, professional finish. I always hesitate to get the sprayer out because I don’t like cleaning it when I’m done. But I am always reminded of how much time it saves and how much better the finish looks!
I used my trusty Graco Sprayer for this project. Seeing the before and after of a new paint job is always the best part of any project. It’s incredible what a new coat of paint will do for any piece of furniture, even though it was black to begin with! A fresh coat of black paint made it look so shiny and new.
Step 3: IKEA KALLAX door hack
However, new paint wasn’t enough to give it the whole new look I had in mind. I decided to put a new spin on my favorite clever IKEA KALLAX hack and add custom wooden doors. I am not a talented carpenter by any means, which is to say that if I can do this so can you! The building process was fairly straightforward. To make the door frames, I measured and cut some 1×2 pine boards that I already had on hand. Because of the style of door I chose to make, to get four doors in total I needed eight frames.
To help with the assembly of each frame, I added pocket holes to all the cut-to-size 1x2s. I love my pocket hole jig! It makes it so easy for me to get the right angle and depth for each hole. I made pocket holes in every piece of wood all at once instead of assembling each door one at a time.
Step 4: Staining and Assembly
Once the pocket holes were all added, I gave the wood a whitewashed finish with white paint diluted with water. I did this because the wood had a bit of a red undertone that I didn’t love, and whitewashing is a great option for making wood a more neutral color to start from. I was able to do this for no additional cost because I already had the white paint on hand. If you are happy with your base color of wood, you can skip this step. For a cohesive look with the rest of the living space that my KALLAX shelf would be sitting in, I then used the same stain combo that I did for the mantel: a mix of Early American and Weathered Oak stain.
Now the 1×2 pine boards were really ready for assembly! I began assembling them to build the four doors, making sure everything was sturdy and well-constructed. Corner clamps are the best way to make sure everything is square. I used my power drill to put screws in the pocket holes. Once all eight door frames were assembled, it was time to move on to the decorative panels for the center of each door!
Step 5: Burlap and Loctite Glue
For this IKEA KALLAX door hack I decided to use burlap as the material for my decorative panels. It is much cheaper than caning, and I think it looks just as beautiful. I got two yards of burlap on sale for a total cost of $10! And of course, the magic ingredient that holds it all together – Loctite Power Grab Ultimate Crystal Clear Construction Adhesive. I used this incredible adhesive as the perfect solution for holding the door frames and decorative rustic burlap layers together. Here’s how you do it:
- Lay one frame on your work surface and run a bead of Loctite Ultimate Crystal Clear Construction Adhesive around the perimeter.
- Stretch the burlap across the frame and staple it in place with your staple gun.
- Run another bead of Loctite along the entire perimeter of your door frame.
- Lay the second frame onto the adhesive, and voilà! You have one door.
- Repeat this process three more times to complete all the doors.
Note: If your frames aren’t pressing flat enough together, use some clamps until the glue starts to dry.
I love the style of these doors because the fronts and backs of the doors look the same and you don’t have to worry about hiding one side of the door!
Step 6: Attaching the Doors and Adding Finishing Touches
Now the doors were ready to be attached to the storage cabinet frame. I used concealed hinges for a clean look, the same ones I use for all my KALLAX hacks. Pro tip: use a hinge template so that you know for sure that you are drilling the holes for the hinge in exactly the right spot before you begin.
Once the doors were attached to the cabinet with the concealed hinges, I added edge banding to hide the fact that they were made up of two different frames and give them a seamless, polished appearance. I’m sure you’ve seen me apply edge banding so many times! Make sure your edge banding is a bit wider than the edge you are covering. Use an iron to melt the glue backing and attach it to the door. Then, trim off and sand the edges so they are flush with the rest of the door. Then, stain it to match the rest of the door and you won’t even know it isn’t a solid piece of wood! Edge banding is an amazing KALLAX hack that is a must-have for a really finished look.
To complete this IKEA KALLAX door hack transformation, I attached legs to the bottom of the sideboard, elevating it and adding a touch of elegance. I tried screwing them in as directed, but I wasn’t confident they would hold. I ended up gluing them on instead (yay for Loctite). These legs were a perfect addition to make this piece of furniture seem more like a fancy sideboard and less like a KALLAX bookcase.
Step 7: Back and Final Details
To finish the back of the cabinet, I cut some utility plywood to size, painted it black, and screwed it on. I also added contact paper to the shelves for a sleek, clean appearance inside. Then, I added stylish new handles from Amazon to complete the look. To make the doors even more unique, I made the four doors into two! I attached two doors together with a piano hinge so that they fold against each other when open. I think this added a bit of fun and versatility to what would otherwise just be plain doors.
And there you have it, a stunning sideboard that started as an old, discarded IKEA KALLAX shelf unit. With a bit of Loctite glue and a whole lot of creativity, I turned trash into treasure. This project was not only budget-friendly but also immensely satisfying, proving that DIY can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. I love the overall look of my creation, and I think it would work for so many spaces! It would be perfect as storage space in a dining room, or in an office space to hold craft supplies or board games. I love where I decided to put it, in the hallway with some gorgeous accessories on top. It is the perfect closed storage for anything I need to hide!
So, if you ever come across a piece of furniture that needs a second chance, don’t hesitate to grab it and let your DIY spirit shine. With a little inspiration and the right tools (and glue), you can transform it into a masterpiece that adds charm and functionality to your space.
If you have now been inspired to make over your old furniture but only have 2×2 cube Kallax shelves, do not worry. With three old shelves, I gave them new life and turned them into this DIY craft table with ample storage.
SAVE FOR LATER!