The shelf

My first task is complete!  I didn’t really follow the prime number format, but I finished my first Ikea hack.  The finished piece is below.


Time: 1-2 hours a day for 5 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Pain-in-the-ass-ness: 4 out of 5.  Shelves are a pain to hang and spray paint is pretty much a no go unless you have access to outdoor space or a large garage.

Worth it?  Myeh.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but I was pretty irritated during the process.


Why I did it

This project started as a vague concept to sell Ikea hacking services.  My first step was to hack a few pieces to get a feel for the process and get some nice images for my website.

How I did it

I was loving the brass trend and spotted these fabulous shelves on Pinterest.  These look DIY-ed and I figured they’d be super easy to recreate, so I took them on as my first challenge.  (I realized later he has DIY instructions for the shelves here.)


Since I was just testing out the concept, I decided to go for a small shelf unit instead of a full-on wall of shelves.

  • (2) Rubbermaid 30″ double track shelf tracks (I got mine at home depot)
  • (4) 11.5″ Shelf brackets (also from home depot)
  • (1) Can of Krylon metal paint primer in white
  • (1) Can of Montana Black spraypaint in gold (can’t find it on their site, I got it from Blick)


Step 1: Painting

I started by sanding down the brackets and giving them two coats of primer.  I used medium grit sandpaper and went over the brackets until they were no longer shiny.  This took maybe an hour or so.  It’s a really dusty process, so I’d recommend wearing gloves.

Next I gave the brackets three coats of gold spray paint.  At first, I went on pretty thick and got a really shiny, smooth finish.  The bracket I tested this on looked like a block of gold.  Unfortunately, because I went thick I ended up with big drips down the sides.

I wiped the test bracket down with mineral oils to get rid of the paint, then re-sanded and primed.

On my second go-round, I tried to do multiple passes of thin coats.  I don’t know if it was the paint, my spraying technique, or the wind, but the paint didn’t go on as a smooth mist.  It looked pretty spackled.  As I built up the second and third layer, the finish ended up being bumpy.

I did a test spot where I sanded in between the first and second layers, but this did nothing to smooth the finish.  The sanding also took the shiny-ness away from the gold, leaving an ugly brown color.  I decided to just leave it as it was.  As the paint dried, it ended up spreading out and smoothing a bit, so it looked fine in the end.


Here are the finished brackets drying in my shower where there is a strong vent to draw away the toxic paint air D:

Step 2: Hanging

To hang the shelves, I used all-purpose drywall anchors rated for 85lbs (which is complete overkill, but I had these lying around) and 2.5″ screws (which I also had lying around).  I didn’t use the screws that came with the anchors because I liked the flat look of the black screw rather than the big, bulbous top of the silver screw.

You’ll notice the black screws are much longer, but that ended up being fine since the bracket sticks out from the wall quite a bit, so when you take that into account the black screw was a good length for the anchors.

img_20170405_205135.jpg      IMG_20170405_205512.jpg

I followed the technique in this video to get the brackets lined up.  I used a different type of anchor from the video, so I had to pre-drill holes before hammering my anchors in.

Next, I marked off the top screw location of my second bracket and drilled my anchor hole.

Sadly, I hit a bracket 😦  I don’t have a drill bit to go through metal, so I didn’t have any choice but to drill a second hole slightly to the right.  Luckily (trying to be an optimist here!) I had just painted the wall, so I’ll be able to spackle and match the paint color to cover just the drill hole.



Finally, I got the anchors in and put up the second set of tracks.  Then I slotted in the brackets, placed my shelves (cannibalized set of billy bookcase shelves) and that was that!


Here is my shelf with my trusty drill.  (I thought the lower right corner looked lonely in the first picture.)


And a close up of the brackets.  You can see there is a little bumpiness to the finish, but overall I think it looks quite nice.


Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “The shelf”

  1. Well done completing this project! I love the addition of the drill in the lower right hand corner. I also think it’s great that you didn’t give up even when things turned out to be more pain in the ass than you thought – I am usually so low on patience that I give up on things when they get hard/annoying/pointless! So great job! And I love the shelves themselves (hello, rhyme!) 🙂


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