In this project, I'll show you how to build a custom door for an IKEA Expedit shelving unit using simple techniques and materials. This was a really fun build and you could easily customize it to fit a different shelving unit!
Don't miss the build video above for more information!
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
The tools required for this build are super basic. You really don't need anything more than a drill to make this whole project. You can have your local home center cut the plywood for you if you don't have the tools required.
Materials Used on IKEA Kallax Door Project:
- ¾" Purebond Plywood Project Panel, Walnut
- Printed Album Artwork, 12" x 12"
- ArtResin Epoxy Resin
- Spray Polyurethane
- ¾" Aluminum Angle
- Aluminum Brazing Rod
- Inset Cabinet Hinges
Tools Used on IKEA Kallax Door Project:
Step 2: Cut Plywood to Size
I used Purebond Walnut veneer plywood on this build. This plywood can be cut to size prior to being shipped to you, if you don't have the tools to be able to cut the plywood yourself. I cut my doors to 11 ⅞" square based on the fact that I would have wasted quite a bit of plywood if I would have cut the doors to fit the IKEA cabinet precisely.
Step 3: Attach the Album Art Using Spray Adhesive
Once your plywood is cut to size, you need to attach your album art to the plywood. I had my album art printed at Office Depot and was able to get two albums printed for about $12. I attached the artwork to the plywood using spray adhesive and allowed it to dry.
Step 4: Add a Layer of Epoxy Over Album Artwork
After the album art is attached, it's time to add a layer of epoxy resin to really make it pop. I used ArtResin epoxy, which is designed for this type of project. I mixed up about 12 oz of epoxy, poured it over the doors, spread it out, then used a propane torch to pop any bubbles in the surface. I left it to cure for 48 hours.
Step 5: Add Finish to Back of Door
After the epoxy dried, I sanded the back of the door up to 220 grit then sprayed on a few coats of spray polyurethane.
Step 6: Cut Pieces of Aluminum for Frame
With the door finished, let's move onto the frame! I used ¾" aluminum angle for the frame, and the nice thing about aluminum is that it can be cut with any standard woodworking tools. I used a miter saw, but you could use a hacksaw if you don't have access to power tools. I cut my pieces to 12 ¾" long with a 45 degree miter on each end.
Step 7: Assemble Aluminum Frame Using Aluminum Brazing
Here's the fun part, aluminum brazing! This was a totally new technique to me but I'm really happy with the way it came out. For brazing, you'll need a torch and, preferably, MAP gas. MAP gas burns a lot hotter than propane, so the joint will heat up much quicker. You'll also need some aluminum brazing rod.
The process of brazing is fairly simple: apply heat to the joint for at least 30 seconds or so, if you're using MAP gas, then start dragging the tip of the brazing rod across the joint. The rod will eventually liquify while moving across the joint, and the filler will flow into the gaps of the joint. Apply a little more heat to allow the filler to flow nicely, then let the joint come down to room temperature. Repeat this process for all of the joints.
To see a better illustration of this process, check the build video here.
Step 8: Clean Up Joints With Files and Sandpaper
After the joints are all cooled, clean them up using whatever tools you have available. I used a belt grinder and random orbit sander, but files and sandpaper work well too.
Step 9: (Optional) Paint Frame Using Spray Paint
I wasn't super happy with the way the surface looked after sanding, so I decided to paint my frame using some black spray paint
Step 10: Attach Door to Frame Using Epoxy
Next, attach your door to your frame using a little 5 minute epoxy from the inside of the frame. A dab in each corner should be enough to hold the door in place! I also added a few spacers to keep the door centered while it dried.
Step 11: Install Hinges and Knob and Install Door
For the hinges, I used inset cabinet hinges for a nice, concealed look. They take a little more effort to install, but they look great. To install, drill a hole with a Forstner bit based on your exact hinges, then screw them onto the door. Attach the other half of the hinge to the IKEA shelving unit, then connect the two halves of the hinge. These hinges have little adjustment screws to dial in the spacing around the outside of the frame.
I had to add little spacers underneath the part of the hinge that attached to the side of the shelf, since the adjustment on the hinges didn't have enough travel to center the doors. I used a few scraps of ¼" plywood for this.
Last, I installed a little piece of wood to serve as a door catch. This just stops the door from swinging too far inwards.
Step 12: Enjoy Your New Door and Make a Few More!
The cool thing about these IKEA units is that they have, at a minimum, enough openings for 4 doors. You could print out a bunch of your favorite album covers and make doors for each opening. You could even make some extras and swap them out whenever you get tired of the current albums!