PAX wardrobe fail – built in better (wire basket dresser)

001 Ikea Pax Wardrobe Designer

I purchased the Pax Wardrobe from Ikea (39 3/8″x 92 7/8″). I got the sliding shoe rack for the bottom, six (6) sliding wire baskets, and one shelf for the top. I assembled it easily enough and it was working great. Fairly sturdy and capable, I was satisfied with my purchase.

A few months later, it came time to move to a bigger, better place. Perfect, I think, more room for my wardrobe! Alas, moving the assembled Pax Wardrobe turned out to be more difficult than anticipated… it turned out to be impossible. It was too big for the doorway and the hall angles. I tried disassembling it to move in pieces, but since they make you nail 20 small nails into the back cover, and the fact that the particle board is weak, makes this a nearly impossible task as well. I got angry and went Hulk on the p.o.s. smashing it into small enough pieces that would fit in the dumpster.

I thought to myself… I still have these wire baskets that are holding all my clothes, and they work great… I can design something better. Something sturdy, that could survive an earthquake (or at least a move). Something that is small and light enough for an individual to transport through tight spaces.

So, I went to work. Sketched up some plans. A few trips to home depot later… voila!

002 Dresser Plans 004 20131029_204359 006 20131029_204450

I build two individual frame structures with solid sides that would hold three wire baskets each. I used pine plywood for the solid sides and Birch planks for the cross members. The measurements can be seen below. I had the lumber cut at Home Depot at a very reasonable cost. I predrilled all my holes and uses sturdy steel construction hardware to reinforce the joints. I used 5/8″ screws and 2 1/2″ nails to secure everything. I attached the inside wire basket brackets first, and then proceeded to attach the cross members to the sides with the metal brackets on the inside, 8 screws per corner. Once the framework was finished, I pounded some nails in from the sides for additional support (again predrilled holes to avoid splitting). No glue. I sanded it meticulously with a large grain and then a finer grain sand paper to avoid any splinters. I recommend a power sander or at least a quality sanding block. I then gave it a dark coat of Walnut stain followed by a clear coat of Polyurethane.

I didn’t want my bottom drawer to be on the floor completely, so I built a small table with the leftover plywood and 4 pre-fabricated table legs I got at Home Depot. They are affixed to each other with bolts. The top and bottom units are also fixed to each other, but not permanently. I drilled aligning holes in the bottom and top edges where they meet and uses a bolt (with the head removed) to line them up and hold them in place.

The wire baskets went in a little tight but work fine and pull out and go in smoothly. I didn’t want the whole thing crashing down when I pull open the top drawer.

I’m pretty happy with the results. I was so frustrated when the original wardrobe failed, that I wanted to design something better on my own and share it with people in similar situations.

Good luck!