Custom wall of shelving…cheap!

Materials: Hyllis shelves, plywood, four band-aids

Description: Hyllis shelves are about $15 bucks a pop at Ikea but are rather flimsy and pretty short.

For my bedroom, I knew that I needed to house about 1200 books on a 20 foot long wall and I also wanted to house two flat screen TVs (long story why I needed two) that were at the correct height to view from the bed.

The Hyllis shelves will go together rather easily if you want to stack them. For my hack, I used the shelves and ‘overlapped’ the shelving units a bit in height. It is easy to overlap the legs (vertical supports) of Hyllis and and one to four shelves in height to it. You just have to put a screw through both vertical sections and into the shelf…the screw will connect everything together. I purchased slightly longer screws than the shelves come with to make the shelf connections at the front and the back sides, and used 1″ long drywall screws to hold the shelves together side by side. I also sunk one screw per shelf unit into the rear wall of my bedroom to add some stability.

To house the TV brackets, I had two pieces of plywood cut down to size at the hardware store. I made them the same size as one shelf ‘opening’ and inserted them where the shelf should have been, using the same holes drilled in the vertical supports that the shelves use. The plywood goes from the bottom of one shelf to the top of where the shelf below it should be. Easy as can be; this gave me a solid base to install the mounts for the screens.

The vertical supports have one end drilled with two holes in it (Ikea anticipates you to attach the shelves to the wall using these holes, I think). I added an extra row of shelves purely for decoration along the top of the unit using the extra holes. I Turned these upside down so you see the smooth surface of a shelf ‘top’ in lieu of the crimped shelf bottom.

I was left with one section of shelves that was a little bit too big to fit into the wall. Hyllis shelves are thin enough you can actually cut them easily with tin snips if you need to modify the width. When you cut them across you loose a little bit of stability because the shelves are folded on all four edges and the fold makes them rigid and gives the shelf its thickness. I had to insert small pieces of 1″ tall scrap wood cut the same depth as the shelf to stiffen the shelf front to back. I installed the wood using the existing holes on the vertical supports. Note: the cut shelves are sharp…hence bandages should be on hand! The cut shelves are shown in the picture with the urinal on the floor; you can barely see that they are modified.

~ Dave Hopkins, Chicago

Jules Yap