A beautiful design idea for the IVAR cabinet with doors

ivar cabinet

A wall of IVAR cabinets with doors engraved is astonishingly captivating.

Tree ring engraved IKEA IVAR cabinet with doors

Because IVAR is real solid wood (unlike a lot of flat-pack cupboards), it makes a great blank canvas for CNC machining work and engraving.

IKEA items used:

IVAR cabinet | IKEA.com

Other materials and tools:
  • CNC Router

How to engrave the IVAR cabinet with doors:

Build a wall of IVAR cabinets to your preference. It’s not too difficult to shorten some in order to fill a wall exactly.

I shortened the top row to 695mm and reduced the depth of the middle column to 40mm to create a 50/40/30 sequence so that I didn’t block the window but maximised storage capacity.

Fill a wall with IKEA IVAR cabinets

Take a drawing, trace it in Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator into a black-only flat design. You can simplify the path at this point to reduce the time needed to engrave.

Tree ring file

Chop up the drawing in Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator into door-sized sections.

Save as an SVG.

Import the SVG into your favourite CNC program (I used Inventables Easel) and use a suitable bit diameter (I used 1/8″) and cut depth (2mm works well and is what I used).

Output the GCode and send that to the CNC for each door, one-at-a-time.

Start engraving

I had to engrave each door in two halves because I have a small CNC machine.


Total machining time for me was 45 hours. This will vary a lot between drawing style, bit-size and strength of CNC machine. 500mm/min at 2mm depth with a 1/8″ bit would suit an MPCNC, Root3 CNC, Shapeoko, X-Carve, Workbee or many other maker-based CNC machines.

When finished, you can leave it uncoated, or apply your varnish/oil of choice. These photos are unfinished – I will probably apply Osmo matt oil.

Almost done

Once you’ve got the tools, this hack is free. The IVAR units cost me £525.

What was the hardest part of the hack?

The hardest part of the process was finding a CNC program that would cope with the large number of vector path points. Easel seemed to handle it instantly. Fusion 360 which is my usual CNC app, couldn’t cope with this type of geometry.

See more photos of my IVAR cabinet with doors engraved in my flickr album.

~ by Alex Simon