IKEA Billy Bookshelf Assembly How-To & Help




Introduction: IKEA Billy Bookshelf Assembly How-To & Help

About: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.

The "Billy" model is a basic bookshelf kit from IKEA, it comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. This kit is straightforward to assemble, a good kit for novices in the smaller sizes. I've followed along exactly as shown in IKEA's instructions included in the kit, but here we have the advantage of close-up photos and photo-notes. The other sizes and colors of this model assembly nearly identical to the one shown.

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Step 1: Step 1 - Identify the Parts, Start Assembly

1 back panel
2 side panels: 1 right side, 1 left side
4 shelves: 1 bottom, 1 top, 2 middle
bag of hardware
2 unused small wood pieces
anti-tip-over "earthquake" strap

start the assembly
Insert 6 of the wood plugs into the side panel holes with your thumb. 2 of the plugs are used for the bottom flashing, 2 for the bottom shelf, and 2 for the top shelf. use the outer holes on the side panel as shown.

The 4 shelves are each slightly different, you can tell them apart by looking at the bottom of them as shown in the photo.

carefully push the bottom flashing, bottom shelf, and top shelf onto the plugs in the side panel, as shown in the photo.

Step 2: Step 2 - Second Side Panel

Push the remaining 6 wood plugs into the remaining side panel. Then carefully place the side panel on top of the assembled parts, line up the 6 wood plugs, and push the second side panel onto the assembly.

Step 3: Step 3 - Attach Left Side Panel With Screws

Now we'll make a more sturdy attachment by screwing the left side panel on. We will use 4 screws, 4 round nuts, and the IKEA tool.

first push a round nut into hole in top shelf. make sure the slotted side is showing and facing as shown in the photo.

second, push a screw into the hole matching the round nut, and screw it in using the IKEA tool. tighten the screws but not too much, it can damage the wood. the screws are designed to be flush with the wood surface, if you are embedding them far into the wood you are probably tightening too much.

repeat for the 3 other screws and nuts. now the left side panel is fully attached.

Step 4: Step 4 - Screw Together Right Side Panel

Carefully tip the assembly and put it face down.

Use the remaining 4 screws and nuts to attach the right side panel.

Step 5: Step 5 - Attach Back Panel

The back panel slides into grooves in the sides and top shelf. Orient it with the nice side facing down, and slide it into the grooves bottom to top as shown.

Make sure the back panel is all the way into the groove in the top shelf, then use a hammer (not included in kit) to nail in 4 small nails. The nails attach the back panel to the *bottom* shelf. Make sure the back panel is pushed tight towards the top shelf while you do the nailing, any looseness will make your shelving unit wobbly.

Step 6: Step 6 - Place Middle Shelves

Stand up the shelving unit - it is sturdy now! The middle two shelves are not structural to the shelving unit.

Place the 8 metal studs into your choice of holes in the side panels. 4 studs hold up each of the two middle shelves, and you can easily move them around to put the shelves at different heights. The middle shelves just rest on top of the studs, they are not attached in any way.

guess what! you are done!

the IKEA instructions also show the attachment of the anti-tip-over "earthquake" strap, this is probably overkill except for a full-height shelving unit.

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    9 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    Help! I want to change the position of my shelves, and the metal stud seems to be stuck! Any tips on how to easily get it out?

    Thank you.


    Answer 4 months ago

    It will come out but be very careful as if you just force it then it will damage the area around the whole and make a mess. My advice is pliers and get it to turn first then slowly apply pressure to remove once turning. you can use another piece of wood to enable leaverge between the bookcase side and the pliers and not mark the bookcase. Good luck


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Just tried to add another tall Billy to a loft and can see the comparison between the old ones that my girlfriend and her then young daughter what a great job they did assembling.

    The latest version does not have the metal screws from the outside nor metal connectors-now plastic. The back is thinner, foldable cardboard and is slightly taller and a different, blonder color. I managed to do it one person by modifying the instructions and standing it up.

    This will be my last time buying IKEA due to the missing parts, lack of structure requiring glue, more nails, stabilizers across the weak back with heavy and fragile pressboard.

    These instructions are useful but I would mark the line for nails across the middle supporting shelf and even start on opposite corners to try to get it square and some stability. Also the tall Billy definitely needs the wall bracket and the parts provided require you have already figured out your own way and hardware to attach to the wall. In earthquake country not even a question with heavy books.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Looking for more fun with BILLY?  IKEAFANS.com, IKEA UK and IKEA USA are happy to announce the launch of a contest to celebrate the 30th birthday of the iconic BILLY bookcase.  Over 40 million BILLY bookcases are in the wild - is one of them yours?  Tell us about it for your chance to win IKEA prizes!

    IKEA UK Fans: http://www.ikeafans.com/home/ikea-billy-bookcase-contest-enter-to-win/

    IKEA US Fans: http://www.ikeafans.com/home/ikea-us-joins-the-billy-bookcase-contest/


    13 years ago

    Uhh...So this is how to build a commercial some-assembly-required bookshelf? The kind that comes with instructions? I suspect you're posting this all tongue-in-cheek, eh? Or am I ruining the joke by saying it out loud? Seriously, for such a pointless "project," this is impressively annotated. Good work.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It came with instructions, but they weren't good enough, so he made better ones. It's not pointless at all. Jeeze. Plus, we get to see how the shelves are designed, which is half the point of reading instructables, isn't it?


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Dan, I am having hard times trying to ssemble billy morebo aluminum/glass door. Can you post an assembly ste by step photo if you have some ? Thank you !


    13 years ago

    This was extremely helpful. I needed to have the two bookshelves I own taken apart by the moving company, I would have taken quite a bit longer to put them back together without this. Thanks so much.


    13 years ago

    IKEA's instructions are brief and have no words, I created this project to help new builders by giving more detail and to show how the Instructables interface can make very clear how-to's with real photos and photo-notes and only a little text.