Introduction: IKEA Hack - Planting Shelves

For months I have been looking for a matching shelf and spice rack combination for my kitchen. I had a very precise list of things I wanted…
  1. The spice rack had to be a series of small shelves which were not too deep.
  2. The spice rack had to be expandable in the future, as you always keep acquiring more and more stuff to put on there.
  3. The shelf had to be about 800mm (31”) long and about 200mm (8”) deep.
  4. The shelf had to be very strong in order to carry my cook books.
  5. The shelves had to be constructed from matching hardwood and have a ‘rustic’ appearance to match my kitchen.
  6. They had to be cheap!!!
I hunted everywhere and found a couple of things which I liked, however, they cost £100s and even then I would still have to ‘modify’ then to suit my needs.
Then one day I was in IKEA (it happens quite frequently) and I spotted these:
These plant pots came in a variety of convenient sizes, were made of hardwood, had a rustic appearance, are quite well constructed and they are cheap. Perfect.
I purchased a pile of them and set about ‘planting’ my shelves and writing my first Instructable!

In order to do this you will need:

- The plant pots of your choice,
- Drill
- Drill bits
- Screw driver
- Screws and suitable wall plugs
- Tea and biscuits (cookies)

Step 1: The Layout

I was in two minds as to how to place the plant pots on the wall. In the end I decided that it would be better to stagger them. This was for two reasons. Firstly, the boxes are all, ever so slightly, different sizes and therefore wouldn’t line up (which would annoy me a lot!) and secondly because they created in-built book ends.
I also wasn’t too sure about how to attach them to the wall. I could screw them all together in my desired array and then screw them to the wall, or I could screw each box individually to the wall.
Because of the weight of the books and the poor wall construction, I decided that attaching each box to the wall individually was the way to go.

Step 2: Planting Your First Shelf

These boxes were not constructed with very tight tolerances and are not exactly square or the same size. Therefore, I decided that I would attach each box one at a time, allowing me to assess which box should go next and in which orientation it would go. This meant that I could minimise the gaps between the boxes whilst making sure the top shelf was as level as possible.

To attach the boxes to the wall I drilled two pilot holes into the first box.

To make sure that the holes were level and equal on all of the boxes I made a small cardboard jig, which just hooked over the corner and pointed to the location of my pilot hole.
Once the pilot holes were drilled, I just offered the box up to the wall, positioned it and put a pencil mark on the wall where I needed to drill the wall.
I haven’t covered the drilling and plugging part, as this depends on your wall construction. I needed to use 75mm (3”) screws because my old 1900s walls are not very good and the plaster is about 30mm thick!

Step 3: Continue Planting

Once you have got your first box attached to the wall where you want it, just unwrap and offer up the next one.

As mentioned before, they are not all that square, so you may need to try a few positions before you get minimal gaps and a level top.

Drill your pilot holes, mark, drill and screw onto the wall.

Then repeat until you have achieved your desired layout.

Step 4: Fill Your Planters

This is by far the easiest step.

Just fill your planters with whatever you want. You could even put plants on them!

The Galvanised trays which come with the planters fit nicely on the bottom of the shelves. This makes taking down a variety of spices quite an easy job.

There is also plenty of room to expand as and when my spice collection explodes beyond the confines of the current shelves.

I hope you have enjoyed my first Instructable and I look forward to seeing your creations.