Turn Expedit / Kallax into Organising Heaven with Custom Samla Drawers

EXPEDIT SAMLA drawers | IKEA Hackers

Expedit + Samla = (semi)OCDs Dream

Difficulty: Pretty easy
Need: 5×5 EXPEDIT, SAMLA Boxes (as much as you like – 12 per row), 10x5mm Wood (depending on how many SAMLAs you put), Drill, Screwdriver

For the longest time now I’m angry at IKEA to have made the EXPEDIT such a great and at the same time horrible thing. The EXPEDIT itself is great, but when you like to have some drawers, or boxes to go along with it, there are only options that either fill one whole square, or just a too tiny piece of it – there are no “half” sized options – like two boxes that fit perfectly on top of each other without wasted space right next to it (I don’t like wasted space). Also the size of 33.5cm x 35cm is not at all something to fill with standard boxes … usually they are bigger or smaller … sometimes just a half centimeter too big – waaaa!

So finally yesterday it was too much for my “OCD” and I started calculating – and what turned out is, that the EXPEDIT and the SAMLA Boxes are the perfect match!! … with a little bit of change…

I have a 5×5 EXPEDIT – and that’s perfect for 6 SAMLA side by side plus 5 (and not the usual 4) separators.
Its: 33.5 * 5 (for the Spaces) + 1,5 * 4 (for the separators) = 173,5
and the new configuration is: 173,5 – (1,5 * 5) = 166 … 166 / 6 = 27,6 (and a SAMLA box is 27,5 without the lid)

YEAH! i love it … and my OCD as well.

Now I can fit two SAMLA boxes, the top one on some wooden side rails, in one square – and I decided to transform two rows of my 5×5.

So I went to IKEA, bought 24 small SAMLA Boxes (2 for each square) and to my local home depot to get 10x5mm wood – 8 meters of it. (for the rails of the top SAMLA) plus some 4x17mm screws with a pill head (is it called that way? – see pics)

Also you should get some spare wooden connectors for the EXPEDIT / KALLAX ( as the EXPEDIT ones are different from the new KALLAX ones you can only order them – so plan with some delay here if you also have the old model)

First step:

Take the EXPEDIT apart if you already have a “working” one. You need two extra separators – that was no problem for me, because I took them out a long time ago to have one big space at the top.

Then lay out the new rearrangement of the separators (I just took the SAMLAs – no ruler touched this project – I just used templates) and make markers with a pencil. With a piece of the rails I drew a long line on top and on the bottom of the old holes and so I got the drilling place for my new holes. I used a nail for a first small hole to make it easier to drill. Then first with a small drill and then with the final size drill.

EXPEDIT SAMLA drawers - process

EXPEDIT SAMLA drawers - process 2

process 3

I drilled the first board. Then I used the wooden connectors in some of the original holes to put the two boards and the bottom together in place. Then I drilled again where my new holes were through all boards and so the new holes were perfectly aligned.

process 4

Second Step:

Next I prepared the “rails” for the top SAMLA (the lower ones are just standing not hanging on rails) to slide in. Because the SAMLA is a little bit asymmetric in the middle (gets thinner) it would have been better to use a wider (maybe 7mm) wood – 10mm would have been to wide. But the 5×10 is quite ok as it turned out.

process 5

Cut 33cm pieces – so you don’t loose any of the wood – and it’s long enough – if you want to access the SAMLA from both sides, then I would recommend to make them 35cm (as long as the EXPEDIT is deep). Mine is connected to the wall – so there is no need for the rails to be longer.

process 6

To prevent the wood on bursting apart I drilled holes in every piece (and you can see its not symmetrical to avoid the screws to jam). For mounting again I used the 10mm wood as a template to get the right distance every time. I chose to make the top SAMLA hanging as high as possible to give the lower one a little bit of “headspace” – this way you can fit more heavy things in the lower ones, because they are standing safe and secure 🙂

Third Step:

Put the EXPEDIT back together. I forgot to put the rails on the exterior side-board – but it was actually better this way – again I could use my template without touching a ruler 🙂

Don’t forget to put the extra connectors in! (You will notice, that the connectors are too long at the places where there is no corresponding separator – but you can just shorten them.)

EXPEDIT SAMLA drawers | IKEA Hackers

Everything worked out great – the SAMLAs fit perfectly and I’m happy and sound with the universe again.

Things to improve:

– Get some higher SAMLAs as well for bigger stuff
– Use Black SAMLAs for optic reasons (I took the transparent ones to better see what’s inside my boxes, but black ones with labels would look definitely way better)
– Paint the rails in the color of the EXPEDIT (I screwed the rails 10mm from the side – so that’s not so bad)
– Cover and paint the wooden connector bits where you can see them.
– Get a buddy to help you, because the 5×5 is a bit** to put back up alone (I just got a rush and finished on the same day – no time for calling around 🙂 )
( – get an even floor … yes, there is paper to help with mine)

expedit 2

I cannot guarantee for any stability things – but it works well for me.

~ Arne v. Nostitz-Rieneck