How to add PAX sliding doors on your own woodwork

pax sliding doors hack

This project started when I wanted to replace a coat rack and garden seat with a closet. I decided to build my own wood frame but use the IKEA PAX sliding doors over it.

This PAX sliding doors series includes:

  1. Making the door finger brackets reversible
  2. Hacking the soft closing device for lighting

Pax sliding door DIY 1

The Project:

In a corner of the hallway, I decided to replace the coat rack and garden seat (not shown) with a cupboard using IKEA PAX sliding doors. The space is +/-1650 x 560mm.

IKEA items:

  • PAX sliding doors kit, 200x150cm, 80222417
  • 2x AULI mirror kit for above, 60211274
  • 2x KOMPLEMENT soft closing devices, 20202323


PAX outside door soft closing bracket

1. The top IKEA rail fixes on top of their PAX cupboards and is about 10mm longer than the inside measurement (1500-18-18mm). To fit it inside my woodwork, I cut 5mm off each end.

2. As standard, the right-hand door is on the inside. To be difficult, I wanted the left-hand door to be the the inside one. This is perfectly OK* – just be careful when fitting the stick-on brushes, etc. (pages 18, 26 & 32 of the IKEA document).

*If you are fitting the soft closing devices, note that the finger bracket (Komplement document, page 10) for the outside door is not reversible, so when 1 door is fully open, you lose about 8cm passage width, compared with the standard arrangement. Maybe one day, I will fix that! (Update! I fixed it. See it here)

Related: How to install IKEA sliding doors to existing closet space

3. End stops/bumpers (Komplement document, page 4): I used the original ones and just cut off the clips which hold the door in its closed position (these clips are not necessary with the soft closing devices).

end stops

Installing PAX Sliding Doors on wood frame:

1. Choose planed timber for the frames, keeping in mind the height of any other doors nearby (living room door in my case).

I used 30x90mm timber for the floor (gives a good height for the lower rail in my case).

These were fixed to the floor tiles with adhesive, screws and plugs. Be careful when drilling in the tiles, and don’t hit any pipes, etc.! I used 45×45 timber for the walls.

Installing the top rail

Pax sliding doors on own wood frame

2. As I am not using the IKEA PAX wardrobe, the top rail fits on the lower edge of the MDF panel above the doors. The dimension (height) of this panel above the floor frame is 1930mm.

If you are patient, you can confirm this by assembling one edge of a door and measuring all the bits. In my case, I went to the local IKEA store with my tape measure!

This distance is critical: less means that the guides on the lower edge of the doors risk jumping out of the rail, more means that these guides will bind (in this case, you could shim the lower rail).

3. I drilled 7 holes in the top rail, and used 4×60 chipboard screws to attach it to the upper panel. It was easier to prepare this before fitting the panel in place. In the photo, the panel is flipped and held conveniently in place for this operation by the new woodwork.

Constructing the side and front panels


4. The front and side panels are 18mm MDF. When fixing the timber on the walls, I allowed for the thickness of the panels beside the living room door frame and on the right-hand side (to align with the existing wall). The side panel was fitted first, then the upper front panel (adjusted for height), then the left-hand filler panel.

5. The filler panel to the left of the sliding doors was adjusted to give +/- 1500mm from the right-hand edge to the groove in the filler panel. This groove is to accommodate the IKEA edge profile.

I used a circular saw for the groove. In my case, this measurement is 1491mm, which gave a good closing position for the doors, relative to the edge profiles.

Assembling the PAX sliding doors

Pax sliding doors installation

6. Fitting the mirrors into the door metalwork was not going well, until I used a ratchet cargo strap to squeeze the bits together (both ways, X & Y) so that the screw holes lined up. Not sure if even 2 people (IKEA minimum requirement) could do this without the strap!

7. For the edging of the doors (brush and flexible flap), in my case, the brush went on the left-hand edge of the left-hand/inside door and the flap was fixed on the right-hand edge of the right-hand/outside door (not like in the IKEA instructions!).

Adding lighting

Pax sliding doors lighting

On the top rail, I fitted a 1m strip of 24V leds, turned on by Legrand furniture door switches, which are operated by the fingers of the soft closing devices. The 24VDC supply is in the connection box.

An interesting hack here would be to incorporate the light switches in the soft closing devices. It’s not obvious how these things come apart. Maybe someone will invest in a set and play about!

Inside the cupboard

Pax sliding doors on own wood frame

I added some shelves behind the filler panel, and there was a nice space for the modem below. As I didn’t want to use the 235cm door and didn’t want to add swing doors in the upper panel, I fitted a half-depth top shelf, under which is the coat rail.

Pax sliding doors on own wood frame

Next in this PAX sliding doors series:

~ by Richard King, Belgium

First posted on August 8, 2016. Updated on August 5, 2019 to include current information.

Jules Yap

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