Expedit Bookcase Size Reduction




I needed to fit some shelving into a space that was too small for standard sized shelves and I could not be bothered making shelves from scratch so decided to use IKEA Expedit bookcases and modify them to fit the space.

The Bookcases were about 350mm to wide for the space I was filling so I cut them down to size. I also wanted one of the units to be suitable for holding CDs so I added some extra shelves on one of the bookcases using leftovers from the other two.

I am not going to show all the assembly steps. The key thing here is shortening the thick outside frame of the bookcase.

Basically I had this

Step 1: Goal

But I wanted this.

And I wanted shelves halfway each section as well

I assembled the thing first to mark where I wanted to cut.

Step 2: Cut Off End

First thing I did after that was make a test cut off the end so I knew what to expect. As you can see the frame is hollow with a cardboard honeycomb filling and a chipboard inner frame. I did the cut with a circular saw and although it wasn't as straight and square as the IKEA cuts, it was good enough.

Step 3: Inner Frame

There is an inner frame made of chipwood that runs around the inside of each section. At the places where the dowel lugs go it is double thickness.

Step 4: Inner Frame Double Thickness

The double thickness of the inner frame can be seen in this next photo

Step 5: Inside

The inside of these units is just a honeycomb cardboard filling which gives it a little support.

Step 6: End Sections

This is what it looks like at the ends and on the outside you can see the double thickness where the screws tap into.

Step 7: End Section 2

You need to pull this part of the inner frame out and re attach it to your cut down section. This is what it looks like when you pull it out.

Then you need to cut this down a bit because it is too wide to fit back into the hole (if you cut it off at the right place). Cut it shorter than the gap it is going to fit back into, that way you get a bit of adjustment when you fit it all together and things don't quite line up.

Also make sure you take all that cardboard off that is stuck to it or it won't fit back in nicely. I used a belt sander to do that.

Step 8: Rebuild the End

Then just knock the end bit back into place. So you end up with a shortened version of what you started with.

Step 9: Finished Shelf

The final Result looks like this.



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11 Discussions


2 years ago

What did you do about the edge? Did you just leave the wood visible or did you paint it or..?


8 years ago on Step 9

don't worry i had to mod my particle board entertainment center too to fit my computers. I hate partice board but might use that for pattern to make a real wood unit. real wood is sustainable by the way.


8 years ago on Step 9

nice look what about pattern makin did you fill like this was making a pattern to then use to make one out of real wood maybe even cherry or black walnut to do that the panels would be vaneer plywood and edges 3/4 by 2 inch real hard wood. I like my cd horzontal so i can read who it is without having to kink my neck. many older entertainment cabinets had these plastic inserts left space betwqeen disc so you can get hold of their cases. I want one that hold four hundred in walnut . yours is good looking and has that built in look


9 years ago on Introduction

I've been unsuccessfully looking for an Expedit on ebay for a few months with the hope to do this to it. might go and buy a new one now I know it can be done.


1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

 Craigslist is the place to go for used Ikea stuff - Expedit, billys, futon frames, Ektorps, you name it.  

People seem to buy Ikea furniture as disposable or short term solutions to a particular need so there is always a steady supply of IKEA , cheap, sometimes free, usually a gotta get rid of this now type listing.


10 years ago on Introduction

Fantastic - exactly what I need to do to an Expedit Bookcase for my daughter's bedroom and was wondering how to do it. Thanks a lot for sharing your brilliant idea.


10 years ago on Introduction

Cardboard honeycomb inside furniture. What's happening to the world?? Cardboard is freeee, but people pay for it at ikea?

1 reply

11 years ago on Introduction

nice to see an expedit hack ... i have been thinking about one myself. we need to fit a laser printer into an expedit, but they (the printers) don't come slim enough to fit. so i was wondering if one could make one of the compartments wider. you have already shown how to make them lower, but i wonder if anyone has managed to cut one of the long boards without sacrificing stability to much and with finding a nice solution to seal the cut.