Published on February 3rd, 2012 | by Jules Yap


Billy Wall Shelf Built In

Billy Wall Shelf Built In

Materials: Four Billy wall shelves, paint stirrers, 12 soup cans, board

Description: For this hack, My husband and I purchased four Ikea Billy Wall Shelves to create a “built in” look in our small breakfast area. We live in a very small house without a formal dining area and we happen to love books, so it seems as if everything has to play double duty.

To create the hack, We assembled the four wall shelves and stacked them on top of each other and beside each other. This caused some problems as they sagged from the weight of the heavy books. They were also just sitting on the ground. Looked too much like the Expedit series and not very much like a built in.

Billy Wall Shelf Built In

To correct the problem of the shelves sagging, we placed paint stirrers between the bookshelves (about 5 in between each wall shelf). We stacked the shelves on top of 12 soup cans spaced evenly under the shelves. My husband and I lived with the “industrial look” of the soup cans for a while until I realized we could just cover them up by placing a board in front of them. We found a board at our local home improvement store and stained it to match. We looked into buying mid century legs for the unit, but what we were finding were very expensive, so the board ended up being a very inexpensive $20 fix. We love our bookshelf–it goes very nicely with the Ikea blinds we have hanging in the area.

~ Kathryn Mayo and Doug Winter, Sacramento

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

11 Responses to Billy Wall Shelf Built In

  1. joelchopp says:

    looks great – do you remember the color / brand of stain that you used for the plank? It looks like you got a pretty close match.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Hi All,
    You are right–there is a little gap that occurs when the cases are stacked on top of each other and this is where the gap occurs. It was just enough of a gap to cause a sagging on the top case. We were at the home improvement store looking for something to fill in the gap and saw that the paint stirrers were the right height (or depth depending on how you look at it). We just laid them down on top of the bottom case and put the other cases on top of them. It does a pretty good job of holding them up without allowing a sag.

    The glass jar holding Astro Boy (he’s actually a piggy bank) is a cloche or bell jar depending on who you talk to…they have different shapes, but ours has the shape of a bell jar with the top of a cloche. So glad to hear you like our dining set–we love it, too! So happy to see others like the hack…now on to more of them!!! Thanks!

  3. Archangel says:

    ah, Badzil, I think you are right. Now I get it. Well, that is clever! Thanks B.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love it. What exactly is the glass container that Astro Boy sits in called?

  5. Badzil says:

    My guess is that the paint stirrers fill the gap between the top and bottom shelf and therefore allow for a more even distribution of the weight.

  6. Archangel says:

    I think what you did is so cool and looks great. you can really see what books you have and keep them in order. I didnt get the paint stick part either? Not sure how they would strengthen a shelf that is too thin for the weight of the books? More? Thanks

  7. Anonymous says:

    Awesome hack AND I LOVE YOUR ASTROBOY FIGURE…at least I think it’s Astroboy. Tezuka-sensei is awesome.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great hack, but gotta say, I LOVE YOUR DINING SET!! ;)

  9. arla jean says:

    I don’t understand how paint stirrers helped combat the weight of the books. I love the look of this and would be interested in giving it a try and was hoping that maybe you could give just a bit more info/close up pics. Thanks!

    • Anna says:

      The sides at each end extend a little bit beyond the top/bottom, i.e. if you put two units on top of each other then there’ll be a small gap between them, and the top unit will only be resting on the sides. (It’s designed to be hung on the wall).

      The paint stirrers “fill the gap” between the two units so bottom of the upper unit doesn’t sag.

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