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Ikea Kallax Hack: Add a Shelving Unit for Cheap!

Learn how to add a shelving unit to a cubby in this IKEA Kallax hack! Whether you have an IKEA TV stand, Expedit, or Kallax cubby, adding some shelves is super easy!

If you are a hoarder of have a ton of craft supplies like I do, then you probably understand how craft supplies get EVERYWHERE!

I turned my guest room/office into my craft room a few years ago but things still to spill out into the kitchen… living room… family room…dining room… really anywhere there is an open surface is fair game (IMO!).

Since I have been recording a lot more videos for my blog and YouTube channel, I have turned our dining room into my recording studio. I know… I’m sure my family loves me taking over room after room!

ikea kallax hack

I just didn’t have enough room in our craft/office since my youngest is in there a lot and has his stuff everywhere. Plus there wasn’t enough room for me to get around my lights and have a specific filming area.

Don’t get my wrong, I LOVED my dining room! It was probably my favorite makeover of my entire house. I moved my DIY farmhouse table into my kitchen for our dinner table and now use our cheap old table to craft on.

I taped a vinyl photo backdrop over my antique window decoration and used that as a backdrop for videos. But it got really annoying walking back and forth to my craft room to actually get my supplies. I knew I needed to add some craft storage into my dining room that didn’t stick out too much.

dining room before

A million different ideas went through my head, but I always try not to spend much money and stress my hubby out. I had great plans to build some DIY shelving unit and craft table, but then the reality of lack of time set. I scanned our local FB marketplace and happened to find a used IKEA kallax like TV stand for only $70 including basket inserts.

ikea tv stand before
FB Marketplace photo of IKEA TV stand

I knew this would be much easier and cheaper. I did plan on painting it white since I really wanted a light and colorful background for my videos but I knew that would stick out and this is the first room you see when you come in my house, so I decided against it.

dining room craft storage

My house is very farmhouse themed and I wanted to keep my mudroom wall I built a few years ago in the same room.

IKEA Kallax TV Stand Makeover

I did want to add some color and lighten it some. So once we got it in my house, I got busy! It is the same size as the 72 5/8 inch IKEA Kallax or Expedit cubbies.

ikea cubby makeover

First I cut a spare piece of fabric I had to fit inside the TV opening. I just used my tape glider to add double sided tape to all sides of the back of the unit and stuck the fabric on it.

ikea kallax makeover
ikea tv stand makover
ikea storage makeover

Starting to look better already, right? I had two IKEA pegboards on the opposite wall so I unscrewed them and simply screwed them into the back of the TV unit.

ikea craft storage idea

Then came the fun part… organizing my craft supplies! I moved the majority of what I use the most from my craft room to my new craft cubby storage.

ikea expedit hack

I actually love that this was a TV stand since it has a middle shelf. It fits my Cricut Maker and accessories perfectly. The cubbies hold my EasyPress 2 machines I have.

Since there were two thinner shelves, I could put rolls of iron-on vinyl and then some bins of stuff. I also have a few IKEA rolling carts that I have on each side of the cubby.

craft storage ikea tv stand
The lighting in this room is horrid!

I have a lot of cardstock and wanted to bring some out from my other room so I knew I needed some additional shelves but I didn’t want to pay much.

IKEA Kallax Shelf Hack

So let’s talk about a quick and easy IKEA Kallax hack instead of buying the costly Kallax shelving units or inserts.

This will work on any of IKEA’s cubby systems! All you need is a few tools.

Materials Needed to Add Shelves to IKEA Cubby

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ikea kallax shelving unit hack

So first I decided on how many shelves I wanted. This was kind of based on how much wood I had for the shelves.

I had some leftover MDF that I used to make a bunch of signs for my house and then I also found some signs I made that I don’t use and used those too! Luckily the wood was already about 12.5 inches wide. Ideally, a little wider would be better so they secure on the shelf pins better.

You can use a ruler to measure down the same distance of both sides. But I remembered I had this handy cabinet drill mounting thing that I used for my medal signs.

Side note: There are actual shelf pin jigs that you can find here and that I almost bought, but I didn’t want to spend the extra money since I wasn’t planning on making a ton of shelves.

It has an edge so I lined it up with the top and side of the cubby and used it to drill a pilot hole about 3 inches down. I used the middle hole below and drilled a small hole while I was holding it up (no pencil marking needed!)

ikea kallax hack

Once I had the first hole, I lined that hole up with the top hole of the template and again drilled a pilot hole. I kept lining the holes up that way and drilled them on the fronts and backs of both sides (so I had 6 holes for 3 shelves on each side).

Once I had the pilot holes drilled, I went back and used a 1/4″ drill bit (fits these shelf pins perfectly) and drilled a bigger hole.

ikea kallax shelf hack

Since the outside wall was thicker, it wasn’t really an issue of when I should stop drilling since I could eye it. But I knew for the middle sides I would have a harder time knowing when to stop drilling.

Now I know there are fancy things that do this, but I held up my drill to the thickness of the wall and used blue painter’s tape to tape off where I needed to stop.

ikea kallax hack

Then I drilled the hold until I hit the blue tape!

ikea kallax shelving unit hack

Once you drill the bigger holes, push those shelf pins in.

ikea kallax shelf hack
ikea kallax shelving unit hack diy

Now all is left is some shelves. As I mentioned above I found some 1/2″ MDF boards (which is actually 3/8″ thick) that I cut to the depth of the shelf and then I painted them with white chalk paint.

mdf for shelves
painting shelves for ikea expedit

You could also use plywood. Ask around, people sometimes will have scraps of plywood pieces that they don’t need. That’s how I get most of my wood and MDF!

Use a table saw or jigsaw to cut the pieces to size or if you buy a large piece of plywood or MDF at a hardware store, ask them to cut them for you. The inside measurements across are 13 inches, so you’ll want slightly less by that to make sure they go in (by 1/8″ to 1/4″).

Measure how far back you want the shelves to go. I cut mine to 15 inches long. The actual depth of the Kallax storage cubby is 15 3/8 inch long so it depends on if you want the shelves to go all the way to the end or not.

I always find it easiest to just cut one board first and make sure it fits and then cut the other boards the same size.

That’s it! Put the shelves in and you’re good to go. I put my 12 x 12″ cardstock on them and I’m so glad I have them close at hand.

kallax ikea hack shelf
adding shelves to ikea cubby
kallax shelving diy

If you’d like to save this IKEA Kallax shelf hack for later, simply hover over the top left of the image below and PIN It now!

ikea kallax shelving pinterest

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!

leap of faith crafting
adding shelves to ikea kallax

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