Introduction: IKEA KALLAX and PVC Workbench

About: I used to work for, now I just make stuff. // follow me to see what I'm up to:

This workbench build uses two Ikea Kallax 4x2 shelves placed back-to-back. When I was moving into my new studio, I needed an easy modular workbench I could grow with and designed this project to assemble and disassemble easily.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this build I used the following tools:

For this build I used the following parts and consumables:

PVC Base

Wood Frame

Step 2: Making Cuts

In my PVC class , I go over how to measure and plan your cuts. When working with PVC joints, you have to factor the air-gap in your connectors into the length of each span.

3D-modelling programs make it easy to calculate distances too (I use Fusion360 because it's free, and second because I'm an Autodesk employee :D).

I like to drag the 1-1/4" PVC connector models from Formufit into my model file, then can space and plan things quickly.

After my planning was complete, I determined that I needed the following lengths:

  • (12x) 12.5"
  • (15x) 9.5"
  • (4x) 2.5"

Step 3: Assembling Frame

I love working with PVC because it's lightweight, strong, and a bit like tinker toys. The tricky thing about working with PVC is being precise when lining up the pieces and making sure every pipe is completely nested into its connector. There are lots of tips that make joining PVC easier.

Using a dry erase marker to create registration lines for your connections is a great way to make sure you are able to maintain the alignment of your dry-fit parts.

It is best to construct one length at a time, working shortest to longest. Shorter connections are more difficult to manipulate after they have been cemented, so it is best to glue them first.

Lastly, get out dead blow hammer, you may need some help making sure your connections are complete and the PVC is all the way inserted into the coupler.

Step 4: Cutting Top and Bottom

My studio is small. Like very very small. Getting a 4x8 sheet of ply wood to lay flat amidst all the rest of my supplies was a challenge, but I made the best photographs I could to demonstrate my steps.

I cut down two sheets for the top and bottom.

The top measures: 35"x63"

The bottom measures: 32"x60"

Step 5: Making the Base

To attach the PVC supports and casters to the frame, I began by drilling shallow holes for my anti-vibration pipe clamps to mount to.

The squat little screws didn't have a large enough screw head to use with the clamps so I got some 1" fender washers to keep the clamps shut with the tiny screw.

Without cementing the caster joints in place, I used a dead-blow hammer to couple the remaining 'feet' of the frame. There was no space between 3-way elbow joint and the caster connector.

Step 6: Securing the Shelves

To prevent the shelves from splitting or moving apart from one another, I used flat corner braces to secure the units to one another.

To make sure I had no space between the two shelves, I used a ratchet strap to nest the two units back to back.

Once the shelving units were in place, I marked, drilled and anchored the corner braces into place.

I thought I would have to secure the shelves to the base, but it was so heavy that no additional anchors or hardware were needed. Thanks, gravity!

Step 7: Attaching the Top

To secure the top, I used short corner L-brackets and screws. If I ever needed or wanted to replace the top, I wanted to be able to swap the wood out easily, so I only used 4 L-brackets, one on each corner.

Step 8: Voila!

That's a wrap! IKEA makes specialty inserts for the Kallax series, but small milk crates also work great as drawers.

This has been a pending project in my studio for far too long, and I'm thrilled that it's finally complete. I hope to share many future Instructables that have been made from this workbench :D

For more great PVC and Woodworking tips, be sure to check out the PVC Class and the Woodworking Class!