DIY floating shelves: Alexia’s unique and creative IKEA hack

DIY floating shelves ikea lack hack
Image credit: @alexia_s_world

The IKEA LACK wall shelving unit, with its minimal style and concealed bracket, is undoubtedly one of the most popular floating wall shelves on the market. Over the years, we’ve seen countless hacks and modifications to the LACK wall shelves, making it seem like we’ve seen it all. 

However, Alexia, a talented DIYer on Instagram, has taken a completely unexpected and unique approach to the ubiquitous IKEA LACK shelving system in her latest project. Her creative take on the LACK shelves will impress and inspire you to elevate your home decor game.

Wanting a calming and seamless look for her bathroom, she rounds the edges of the white shelves and fills the cut edges with a special compound. More on that later! 

Additionally, she adds a layer of plaster on the walls, blending into each bathroom shelf, creating a zen vibe.

Let’s look at her DIY project on hacking the IKEA floating shelves. 


How to DIY floating shelves IKEA LACK with rounded edges

1. Draw the curve on the LACK wall shelf on one or both ends, depending on your design. You can use a large bowl as a template for a nice curved edge. 

2. The IKEA LACK shelf isn’t made of solid wood. The top and bottom panels are particleboard, sandwiching a honeycomb structure paper filling. Use a utility knife to score the curve line of the top and bottom panels to get a cleaner finish. Then, cut the LACK shelf along the curved lines with a fine tooth saw. You should now see the paper filling of the LACK shelf. You don’t need to remove them, just the excess from the edges.


expanding foam to fill the hollow of LACK shelf
Image credit: @alexia_s_world

3. Break out the spray can of expanding foam. Carefully spray along the cut rounded edge. If you can’t fill it all up in one go, don’t worry. Do another pass to fill in gaps until you have a thick, solid coating covering the entire cut edge. 

4. Let the foam dry and harden. Then, use a utility knife to cut the excess. Start from the left and right sides of the curve and then run the blade along the curved edge for a nice, clean finish. 

5. Install the IKEA LACK shelf hardware as per IKEA assembly instructions. To ensure a strong and stable installation, assembling the floating shelf brackets using wall anchors suitable for drywall is essential. Use a stud finder to locate and drill into wall studs. This will provide proper support and prevent any accidents. Slot the shelves into the shelf support, ensuring they are flush against the wall. At this point, you should end up with unfinished floating wall shelves with rounded edges.


DIY floating shelves installed and plastered
Image credit: @alexia_s_world

6. How you want to finish the shelves is up to you. Do what fits your home decor style. Alexia used a product called “colle à carrelage” in French (tile adhesive mortar), and it turned out similar to a chic clay plaster finish. Use a spackle knife to mud the walls and shelves. Pay attention to the areas where the open shelving meets the wall; add more filler if there are gaps. Don’t worry if the plaster is uneven — embrace the wabi-sabi. 

7. Let the mortar dry thoroughly and lightly sand to smooth the surface. After the shelves have dried completely, use a protective finish such as varnish or polyurethane to seal them and protect them from moisture. Don’t forget to clean off any dust before applying the finish for a smooth and polished look.


DIY floating shelves IKEA LACK hack
Image credit: @alexia_s_world

She styles them with bowls, a planter with trailing plants, scented candles, and other collectibles. See her Story Highlights for the full details of the DIY floating display shelves. This curved style of the LACK shelves will also look great above the short IKEA BILLY bookshelves, creating an on-trend display shelf.

Other ideas for DIY floating shelves

Rustic wood: If you prefer a more natural look, consider using the LACK shelf in oak effect and staining the shelves darker to look like reclaimed wood shelves. Wrap the exposed edges with wood grain contact paper. It will instantly add character and warmth to your space.

Corner display shelf: The smallest 11 3/4” x 10 1/4” LACK shelf can also be rounded up to make a floating corner shelf. It’s an excellent option for optimizing unused spaces. The corner shelves can add functionality and aesthetic appeal to any room, turning a neglected area into an eye-catching display. 

Storage organizer: Don’t forget the importance of storage when designing your DIY floating shelves. Incorporating bins, pegs, or hanging hooks can provide additional organization and usability, especially in a small space where you’ll want to use wall storage solutions. These space-saving solutions can hold books, kitchen supplies, or decorative items without taking up valuable floor space. 

By incorporating these ideas and materials, you can create your personalized wall-mounted shelf that fits your style and maximizes the storage potential of your space. 

With just a few basic materials and creative vision, you can transform IKEA LACK shelves into fabulous DIY floating shelves with rounded edges and a plaster finish. This project is a great way to add a unique touch to your home decor and show off your DIY skills. 


Check out our other tutorials and IKEA hacks for even more inspiration.