A guitar humidor cabinet hack to maintain and display your instrument beautifully.
If you own a decent guitar you might be tempted to hang it on a wall for ease of access and decoration. However, guitars need consistent humidity levels, and most of us don’t have humidity controlled rooms … So the default is to keep your beautiful instrument hidden in its case.
I looked around for quite a while before I realized I could hack a standard IKEA display cabinet to build an attractive and functional guitar humidor for around $280.
My hacked IKEA guitar humidor cabinet maintains a consistent 48% – 50% humidity level even when the ambient room humidity is below 40%.
It allows easy access to the guitar, lets me admire the guitar when not in use, and my guitar case goes out of sight into a closet. Thanks IKEA!
Steps to Success:
This hack is for a single guitar – but you may be able to wedge two guitars inside depending on their dimensions and how you install their hangers.
Purchase an IKEA HAVSTA glass door cabinet, 31 7/8” x 13 3/4” x 48 3/8″ (item # 104.151.98), which is tall enough to contain a standard guitar and has glass doors for admiring your investment. $195.a) The HAVSTA line is modular, so if you have the cash you can incorporate this into a larger wall unit with a base cabinet or shelves, bookshelves, and other options. Up to you. The remainder of these instructions are for the guitar cabinet only.
i. If you only want the display case, invest in the base kit. $20.
b) This is a solid wood product (yes, it’s the typical IKEA glued-up construction, but it’s real wood), except for the back panel, which is a thin pressed board material. We’ll deal with that later.
c) I chose gray, but they come in brown-black and white as well. If you’re motivated, you could repaint…or if you’re really motivated, strip and restain all the pieces to the color of your choice prior to assembly. If this is you, have fun.
Do the IKEA build thing. During main cabinet assembly, pause after installing the back panel.
a) Hack Alert! Apply a bead of silicone to the interior seams of the main cabinet walls, ceiling, floor, and back. This will seal the static components of the cabinet. $5.
The doors represent the biggest sealing challenge. Before installing the cabinet doors, apply foam weatherstripping to the outer edge of the cabinet doors. This stuff is pretty cheap, so buy a couple different sizes. $5.
a) This will seal the gap between the outer door edge and the cabinet walls – one of the biggest offenders.
Install the hinges and cabinet doors, but do not complete the hinge adjustments yet.
a) Do not install the lower or upper metal door stops.
Hack Alert! Repurpose one of the included interior shelves to provide a horizontal seal at the top and bottom of the glass doors.
a) Using a handsaw, cut the long sides of the shelf away from the short sides. This should give you two long slim boards of the exact length required (thanks IKEA!). Discard the short pieces.
b) Critical Step – take your time here. Glue / clamp the slim boards to the bottom and top of the cabinet at a depth that will allow the doors to close tightly against them when properly adjusted.
i. IMPORTANT: the slim boards should be exactly parallel to the front edge of the cabinet for a consistent horizontal seal. ii. I set mine 20mm back from the cabinet edge, which seemed about right, but the hinge adjustments let you fudge this a little. iii. You may want to have a partner help you play around with this step before gluing – once you do this you’re stuck (pun intended).
c) If you’re unmotivated or don’t have a saw, you could simply glue the entire shelf to the top and bottom of the cabinet – but this is inelegant, and I know you’re not that person.
Hack Alert! Install a thin board to cover the door-to-door (center) gap. Cut to match the vertical space between the slim boards you just installed (i.e. should not extend the full height of the doors).
Glue the board to the inside face of one door so that the other door overlaps when closed.
b) I used some spray paint primer to give my board a gray color similar to the cabinet prior to install. Not an exact match but you can’t see it when the doors are closed.
Adjust door hinges (per instructions) to maximize door-to-slim board contact and minimize the door-to-door center gap.
a) This can take some time to get right, so go slow and don’t get frustrated. If you’re reading this, you’re already winning at life.
b) Additional weatherstripping could be applied here, but I got mine to seal adequately without it.
Safety Alert! IKEA recommends screwing the cabinet to a wall to prevent tip-over. This isn’t an issue in my household, so I simply covered the anchor holes with duct tape applied to the rear side of the back panel. If you want to screw it into a wall, follow the directions but seal the screws from the inside of the cabinet with silicone.
Install a guitar hanger of your choice. $10 – $25. This is where you can customize the installation based on your specific needs.
i. Hack Alert! Since the cabinet back is thin pressboard, install a 3/4” x 3 1/2” board on the back of the cabinet to properly support your guitar’s weight. I used a combination of glue and two pocket screws to secure this board which runs vertically down the center line of the cabinet back. The bottom screw is the most important since the torque of the guitar’s weight wants to push the bottom of the board away from the cabinet. $5.
b) Other options: Install a guitar ceiling hanger screwed to the top of the cabinet (solid wood), or use a screw-in plant hanger and a leather strap to hang the guitar from the cabinet top (solid wood).
c) Or … Simply lean the guitar inside the cabinet with appropriate support / cushion material where needed. I think a hanger is more secure, but you do you.
Install a humidification mechanism.
a) I used a Musik Tent Reservoir that sits in the bottom corner of my cabinet. Low maintenance and can be adjusted to maintain your desired humidity level. $35.
b) Guitar case humidifier(s) might work, but they’re designed for much smaller volumes than the magnificent guitar humidor cabinet you just built.
Repurpose the two remaining interior shelves and glass inserts. Picture frames? Display case for thick items? Get creative…don’t throw them out!