1 big or 2 small units: This portable KALLAX kitchen island is so useful

I’ve always wanted to have a kitchen island and when moving into a new apartment, our small kitchen and limited countertop surfaces gave me the opportunity to create my dream kitchen island.

I went for the KALLAX unit because I was looking for an affordable and easily DIYable solution. As I was looking for ideas on Pinterest, I stumbled upon similar kitchen island projects which gave me the inspiration to make my own version of it. After all, it’s such a versatile piece that even if I change my mind in the future, I can use it as something else!

Three things were key to my decision: lots of storage, a large enough surface area and the ability to move it between rooms. That’s why we opted for two 2×2 KALLAX shelving units instead of one bigger one (2×4), so that we could move at least one of the two units to the living room or patio and use it as a buffet trolley when we have people over.

The video below shows how I made my portable kitchen island from start to finish. Click the play button to watch.

IKEA items used:

  • Two 2×2 IKEA KALLAX Shelving Unit
  • IKEA KARLBY worktop

Materials & Tools:

Detachable portable KALLAX kitchen island hack:

First, I assembled the two KALLAX shelving units as per instructions. Then, I attached the wheels. I used two with a stopper, and two without for each unit.

attach wheels -detachable portable kitchen island, IKEA hack

Then, I cut two pieces of countertop with a jigsaw. I decided to make the overhang even on all sides so, about 4.7in x 4.9in (12cm – 12.5cm) on each side. The total dimensions of the countertop after cutting are 25in x 35in (63.5 cm x 89 cm).

cut KARLBY countertop

To hide the cut edge, I attached some edge banding with a warm iron.

attach edge banding detachable portable kitchen island, IKEA hack

Next, I spread some silicone glue on the top surface of the KALLAX and very carefully, glued the worktop down. You can also screw a couple of screws for extra security, underneath the surface of the KALLAX going up towards the countertop.

Finally, I attached the door magnet on the edge of the bottom of one of the countertops and the metal corner on the edge of the other unit.

I then, repeated on the other side.

And that completes the DIY Kitchen Island project!

detachable portable kitchen island, IKEA hack
detachable portable kitchen island, IKEA hack

Some things to keep in mind while creating this project:

When attaching the wheels, make sure that the wheel itself (and not the metal part that holds the wheel) is aligned with the edge of the unit, otherwise the two units won’t be able to connect.

The most challenging part in creating this project was finding the correct magnets to attach. I had initially purchased a pair of 5kg door magnets but they weren’t strong enough, so I ended up using a pair of 20kg magnets instead. If I were to do it again, I would have opted for a pair of door hooks instead.

Finally, attaching the worktop on KALLAX’s unit is definitely a two-person job if you want to make sure it is perfectly aligned and I would highly recommend making some markings on the countertop to help you with your alignment.

How much time did the KALLAX kitchen island take and what’s the cost?

It took me a few hours to complete it and cost me 170€.

This project is so easy and straightforward, if you have the tools, anyone can do it!

~ by Daphne @Craftydust