How to make custom-fit IVAR shelves

I wanted to fill a whole wall with shelving in my office/library area, but could not find any bookcases that were exactly the right width for my space.

I decided to make a 5-bay IVAR configuration and cut the set of shelves on one end to fit. Since they’re solid pine, cutting them is easy.

The hack is how to attach the shelves to the uprights after you’ve cut off the original mounting bracket fixed to the end of each shelf.

IKEA IVAR custom shelves, shortened to fit narrow space


IVAR shelves
Shelf L-brackets

How to make custom shelves for IVAR:

I needed to shorten the shelves by about 4″. Measure carefully and cut to leave a tab to fit between the upright posts. Sand and apply finish of your choice (I used multiple coats of Minwax Tung Oil finish).

To support the shelves, I used L-brackets with 1/4″ pins from Home Depot. These are exactly the right size to fit in the predrilled holes in the uprights.

Note that the regular IVAR mounting hardware “locks” the shelves over the pins, but with these L-brackets the shelves just rest on top of the supports and have no lateral stability.

screws holding the pin bracket to the IVAR upright

So, you should also get some small screws and use them to secure at least some of the custom shelves to the L-brackets – see the photo above showing the underside of the IVAR top shelf.

Since the screws are close to the edges of the shelf tab, mark and drill pilot holes first to avoid splitting the wood. For additional stability, I also put an extra cross-brace on the back of this section.

You may notice that the L-brackets position the shelf a little bit lower than the regular Ivar shelf pins, so the shelves may not be level. I had to shim the uprights anyway to compensate for uneven floors, otherwise you can use some washers or nylon spacers between the L-brackets and shelves.

The first photo shows the end result, with the cut-down set of shelves on the right next to one of the full-width shelf bays with a cabinet.

~ pondscum