Ikea Hack: Wood and Metal Bookshelf

Not too long ago I was in search of a bookcase for the empty corner in our dining room. We needed a place for our phone charger and some other storage baskets/containers that were out of reach from the kiddos. My list of criteria wasn’t too ambitious:

  • An industrial metal frame
  • Warm wood shelves
  • A clean, modern design

There is an abundance of wood and metal bookshelves available right now. Some are a touch more rustic/farmhouse, while others have more of a traditional look. But I was looking for something more like these two …


Left: Dot & Bo $1,534 (Reclaimed railroad wood, Metal), Right: Overstock $135.89 (Laminate, MDF, Metal)

As much as I love the Dot and Bo bookshelf, it is WAY out of my price range. And the Overstock option has mdf/laminate wood shelves, which is not always a deal breaker, but for this piece I really wanted solid wood.

All was not lost, however, because this unimpressive little shelving unit from Ikea was just the right size for my dining room corner – and only $15! Time to start hacking. I had seen these shelves hacked once before, but my plan was a little easier.



Step One: Spray paint.

This one is pretty self explanatory. After assembling the unit, Spray it matte black and let it dry for several days.

Step Two: Cut and Stain Wood.

Use 1 by 12 wood planks (I used aspen). Cut the boards to the correct lengths. 23 9/16″ for the bottom three shelves and 23 10/16″ for the top shelf. Then rip the boards to the correct depth. 10 5/8″ for the bottom three and 10 13/16″ for the top shelf. Stain and poly them your desired color.

Step Three: Attach Wood.

With the metal shelves completely assembled, loosen the screws slightly for the bottom three shelves, then simply set the shelves in place and tighten the screws. They should be nice and snug.

Wood Metal Bookshelf_step 2

To attach the top shelf, place the wood on top of the metal shelf and align it. Use clamps to secure it. Unscrew the shelf, flip it upside down and place it on a sturdy work surface. Use a drill to make at least four holes in the metal and secure the wood to the metal with screws (make sure your screws aren’t too long.

Ikea Hyllis Hack. Wood and Metal bookshelf from realhappyspace.com

Add a touch of spray paint to camouflage the screws.

Ikea Hyllis Hack. Wood and Metal bookshelf from realhappyspace.com

That’s it. Pretty great transformation, right?

Ikea Hyllis Hack. Wood and Metal bookshelf from realhappyspace.com

Don’t forget, if you have kiddos, make sure to secure this bookshelf to the wall!

Ikea Hyllis Hack. Wood and Metal bookshelf from realhappyspace.com

Well, that’s all I have for you today. If you liked my little makeover, please pin and share it with your friends.

🙂 Happy Hacking!

Ikea Hyllis Hack. Wood and Metal bookshelf from realhappyspace.com

Linking up to: Remodelaholic, Link Party Palooza, DIY Sundy Showcase, The Creative Corner, The Creative Gallery, Tutorials & Tips, Dream. Create. Inspire, Pin-Worthy Wednesday, Create-Share-Inspire, Pretty Project Party.

25 comments on “Ikea Hack: Wood and Metal Bookshelf

  1. This is genius! It totally caught my eye from all the Pretty Project Party links 🙂 Thank you for sharing. I am putting this on the “must-make” for my son’s room list. It looks great!

  2. Hi! I love this! Bought the same units from Ikea today and was searching for a way to “jazz” them up. Can you tell me what was the name/brand of the stain and spray paint that you used?

    • Hi Ashley, I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch flat black spray paint. I did some experimenting with the stain – there are a few layers. I started with provincial (Varathane), then a layer of white/pickling stain (minwax), and lastly Jacobean (minwax). You could probably just skip the first two and go straight to Jacobean and it would look really nice.

  3. Hi Suzy! Would you please share where did you get the wood and how did you cut it? ( sorry I’m a beginner hacker) Went to homedepot and Lowe’s but couldn’t find one today. Thank you so much for your posting! This is what I have been looking for our living room! The

    • Hi Tina,
      Sorry to hear you’re having trouble finding the lumber you need. I got my boards at Menards, which I don’t believe is a national chain, but Home Depot should definitely have what you need. I used Aspen, which if I could do it again, I would probably just use pine since it’s cheaper.

      The size board you are looking for is 1″ x 12″, which means the board is 1″ thick and 12″ across. The total length you need is at least 8 feet, so it can be cut down to four 2-foot sections (see post for exact measurements).

      You will make cross cuts to get the right width for each shelf – just under 24 inches for each shelf (see post for exact measurements). A cross cut is when you make a cut perpendicular to the grain of the wood.

      Then you will rip each section down from 12 inches to a little under 11 inches (see post for exact measurements). A rip cut is when you cut parallel to the grain. This will make the boards the right depth to fit on the shelf.

      Hope that helps! I’ve always found the employees at Home Depot very helpful when I can’t find something – sometimes it’s just hard to track someone down. 🙂 Good luck.

    • Hi Chrissa, I didn’t have any issues like that. The metal on this shelf isn’t super slick. Just remember to do light coats. They also sell gray spray paint primer, if you want to start with a coat of that to help get good coverage.

  4. Hi, what is your opinion on using Hyllis without fastening them to a wall? I was planning on getting these but can’t make any holes in the walls of my rental unit. Does adding wood give it extra stability, I was thinking of going without and just give a good coat of spray paint for my outdoor space. Thank you 🙂

    • If possible, I would definitely anchor it in some way. I think it’s a must is you have kids in the home. Adding the wood does make it more sturdy (it doesn’t sway from side to side), but it doesn’t prevent it from tipping over if someone were to pull on it too hard.

  5. I can’t find the shelf on the ikea website. Is it still available? If so, can you pretty please provide a link? Thanks so much! You did an awesome job

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