The Iconic String Shelf inspired this IVAR Cabinet Hack

String shelf ikea hack
Photo Credit: Victoria Svensson

Victoria Svensson had always been fascinated by the iconic String® Furniture system designed by Swedish architect couple Nisse and Kajsa Strinning. The innovative furniture utilized thin steel cables instead of traditional wood or metal frames, allowing pieces to be easily assembled, disassembled, and reconfigured into various configurations.

String® Furniture had always tugged at her heartstrings, but they were slightly out of her budget. Then, inspiration struck, and she figured out how to create a modular system of her own using IKEA furniture and lumber.

On her website, Svensson walks readers through a 9-step process to construct a customizable wall shelf system made from IKEA IVAR cabinets, wooden boards, and wall brackets.


IVAR sliding door cabinet | Photo Credit:
  • IKEA IVAR cabinets. Size: 31 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 23 5/8 inches (80 x 30 x 60 cm)
  • Wood boards: 31 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches
  • Wall brackets from Mio: 11 3/4 inches deep (30 cm)
  • Fittings/Hooks for shelves and cabinets

A String shelf lookalike

The project starts with assembling the solid pine wood cabinets with sliding doors following IKEA assembly instructions. Holes are then drilled in cabinet doors to serve as handles. This is an optional step, but it takes the cabinets closer to the String® Furniture style. You can add knobs or other handles to suit your home decor theme.

If you have longer boards, cut the shelves to the same size as the IVAR cabinet’s width and depth. For the book display shelf, cut a strip of wood as long as the shelf and glue it along the side of the shelf to act as a stopper.

All parts are stained to achieve a cohesive look. Screws and hooks are installed on the sides of the cabinets and shelves to hang them off the wall brackets.

Aligning the brackets straight on the wall is crucial, and Svensson recommends using a cross laser. For this step of the installation, two people working together will be much easier.

Once the wall brackets are up, it’s time to hang up the cabinets and shelves. “If you have cupboards, I recommend starting with them as these are a bit bulky and difficult to get in there,” she says. First, hang both cabinets at the bottom and then the shelves individually to complete the frame.

The result is a simple yet stylish wall storage system that fits any budget. Best of all, homeowners can decorate the finished shelf with plants, photos, or other accessories to reflect their unique style.

Her followers are impressed with her mid-century modern take on the IVAR, with her reel on Instagram clocking over 57,000 likes.

Following the success of the first project, she made a second system featuring a lower shelf and IKEA ENHET drawer fronts for the shelves. Using the drawer fronts makes it easier, as you’ll skip cutting and staining the wood boards. If you don’t need closed storage, this is a fabulous and easy DIY project for a wall-mounted shelving system.

As the shelves are not supported in the middle, they are meant for decorative items and not heavy objects.

Svensson is not the only one enamored with the String shelf. Different takes of this modular shelving system have been featured on IKEA hackers. Here are two:

Cheapest string shelving ever

IKEA string shelf dupe
Retro IKEA string shelf hack | Photo Credit: Kimberley McNeill.

An IKEA shelf, shoe rack, and brackets to replicate the iconic string shelf.

String kitchen

IKEA kitchen with String side panels
IKEA String kitchen |Photo Credit: Elina Shaw

A rare IKEA kitchen complemented with the String side panels.

MCM-style wall-mounted shelving unit

MCM style shelving | Photo Credit: Grace Lewis

IKEA Slashed Their Prices: Here Are 33 Items We’re Adding To Cart

new lower price ikea
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

The furniture retailer has again risen to its budget-friendly reputation, slashing prices across various products, including a 20 percent cut on the popular BILLY bookshelf.