Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Jules Yap


High times for Billy

Materials: BILLY x 10

Description: I wanted to construct a floor to ceiling bookshelf with some nifty details and considered building it from MDF boards. Being am a fan of the most efficient way of doing things and also load painting details I choose to make it from 10 BILLY units, 8 wide and 2 narrow. Although this meant carrying 400kg around it was much quicker, easier and cheaper than using board material.

As I wanted to get a clean frame and avoid the “double” sides you normally get from putting two bookcases together I needed to;

1. Drill all the holes for the wooden plugs few mm deeper in the shelves so that they penetrate the vertical parts slightly less and a plug from each side will fit.

2. Drill clean through the vertical parts of the shelf to get holes on both sides

3. Using a circular saw remove the back of each vertical section to allow the back to fit on both sides of each section.

4. Start by building section 2 and 4 as the easiest way of fitting the shelves on these was by screwing them in place together with the wooden plugs.

5. Complete with section 1, 3, 5 adding some support behind the backs of each section to keep it sturdy and provide support for the half shelves and the cut-out made for the TV.

6. Billy section 6 through 10, the upper level, was constructed similarly but each vertical section was cut at the bottom leaving a “seamless” impression between the two sections.

7. To get the upper and lower sections to fit together I made a drilling template and fitted three wooden plugs in each section.

8. Getting the upper level in place took a small building scaffolding that I rented for the two weeks it took to complete the build (with two 6 month twin boys things take longer than expected).

9. Since the wall is intruding on the last section some creative carpeting fixed the angle against the wall.

10. All backs were fitted and four outlets connected to a variable breaker for lighting was installed together with speaker wires, few HDMI cables and power outlets for whatever current and future needs will be.

During the whole process the shelf was standing 2 meters into the room to reach both sides during the build. After VERY carefully pushing it back to the wall it was fixed solid to the wall using 10 cm plugs.
Once in place we scrambled books and stuff to get the look I was after. Very happy with the result and the setup.

~ Adam Levén, Gothenburg, Sweden

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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".

22 Responses to High times for Billy

  1. John Cobra says:

    Anyone find out how to do the half shelves? Thanks!

  2. Fredrik says:

    Snyggt! Ett riktigt IKEA-monsterbygge som du klarat av med bravur. Imponerande!!!

  3. Evolito says:

    Hi! This is brilliant. I want to do something similar but I am lost at your description when you start to talk about numbered sections. How do I know which sections you are referring to? I also wonder where you got and how you support the half shelves?

    Great work!
    If you ever read this you are also welcome to answer me in Swedish at my mail.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Awesome job! Could you clarify step 3 for me? Are you cutting off the back part of the vertical boards at the grooves where you slide in the backing sheets?

    Also, in lieu of doing that, can I get an opinion of this: cut the same sort of grooves on the outside of the vertical boards and then slip the backing sheet for your middle bookcase into those grooves? Would a circular saw be the best tool to make those outside cuts? Thanks for any suggestions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very good job. You make it look so easy.

    I have an area next to a brick fireplace that I have been trying to design something like this for. This is excellent.

    I don’t quite understand what the wooden plugs are. Could you share any other pictures you have with us?
    Thanks again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Looks fantastic! I am thinking of a similar project on a smaller scale. What I still don’t understandis howyou managed the cut out for the TV. I wonder if you would be so kind as to run through that again. A picture would be great. If you supported it from the wall, how did you deal with the backing to the shelves.

    Thanks very much fpr your help!

  7. siouxGER says:

    I love it but since I’m not really familiar with the size of Billy’s, could you please tell me how big it actually is? :)

  8. What a superb idea. I have been using Billy bookcases and CD towers for years now, they are functional and brilliantly priced. So to use them in a creation like this is fantastic and very clever. I have always wanted floor to ceiling shelving and this is something I am going to implement…or get my husband too anyway! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the appreciation. The cutout for the tv is supported from behind and is standing in its compartment but could just as well be hanging from the support needed for the rest of the construction.

    I did iron on a few white strips as suggested and it helps up the appearance.

    Not sure if I have any pics from the building process but I’ll send if I find any.

    Since the pictures were taken we have filled it up with almost the double amount of books and things and it works really well.

  10. Julie says:

    One really nice touch is that the two 40cm wide shelves have been placed in different positions (i.e. not one above the other) which cleverly breaks up the overall effect.

  11. Ilir Bitici says:

    Cute kid. and nice work

  12. Kathrin says:

    Amazing – thank you so much!

    Cheers from Germany,

  13. Anonymous says:

    I also have 3 month old twins and am about to attempt something similar. I’m glad there are other crazies out there too! Keep it up!

  14. d_glynn says:

    Nice job Adam, I don’t suppose you have photos of the build process?

  15. Pour Girl says:

    Love this! Great idea and great execution :)

  16. Really nice custom work here. I particularly love the extra touches: lighting and the half shelf.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Looks great, but what’s supporting the vertical post above the TV!

  18. jo says:

    really good looking! i want it but my cealings are too low (((
    ps you should iron “that” strip to have the white look on the shelves you cut, for a more finished furniture

  19. Anonymous says:

    That is NICE! I like that you’ve taken the basics of Billy and made is work for you like this – not just Billy’s put together either! I really hope it continues to work for you when your 6 month twins become 18 month climbers!!!
    Chris C

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