03 Jun DIY craft table: ikea hack with step-by-step instructions
In this post, I’ll walk you through all the steps to build a low-cost craft table you’ll just love. That’s a standing desk I use for pattern drafting and cutting with lots of shelves to store all your fabric and an additional storage space underneath the table top for your sewing patterns and large rulers. There’s even a paper roll holder to make it super-easy to draft your sewing patterns. You’ll find everything you need at Ikea and at any hardware store. Ready for this fancy Ikea hack? Let’s get started!
1 What do you need.
. 3x Kallax shelving unit (77x77x39 cm, 29.90€/each)*
. 1x Ekbacken worktop (186×2.8cm, 39€)
. 1x Drona box (3.50€)
. 1x Betydlig wall/ceiling bracket (1.50€)
. 1x Raffig finials (1.99€)
. 1x Racka 70-120 cm curtain rod (1.50€)
*prices refer to the italian Ikea website so they may be different for your country.
At the hardware store
. 1x chipboard panel for the base (60-70 cm x 100-110 cm x 1-2 cm)
. 4x castors + screws
. 2x straight plates + 4x screws for fastening frontal kallax units
. 2x screws + 6x small washers for fastening side kallax unit
. 5x straight plates + 10x screws for fastening cylinders to worktop
. 3x straight 8-hole plates for joining worktop pieces
. 10x screws for fastening the base
. 8x screws for fastening the paper roll holder.
. 5x long screws for fastening cylinders to kallax units
. (optional) iron-on melamine finishing tape for finishing chipboard edges
Plus these things you should find in the Kallax assembly kit:
. 2x wall fasteners + 2x plastic covers + 4x bolts for fastening side kallax unit
. electric drill/screwdriver
. jigsaw for cutting the worktop
. hand saw for cutting the cylinders
. (optional) 2 long straps for assembling the kallax units (e.g. car roof straps).
2 How to build your craft table.
Did you buy everything you need for this project? Are you excited to start? Perfect! Then, let’s do the building!
1. Cut and assemble the worktop.
For my craft table I decided to use Ikea’s Ekbacken table top in its light oak version. That’s actually a kitchen worktop, so it has a standard 63.5 cm width. We are going to cut it in half so we’ll end up with 2 pieces of size 186/2 = 93 x 63.5 cm. To cut the worktop the best (and fast!) thing is to use a jigsaw, but you can also do it using a hand saw. Using a pencil mark the worktop at 93 cm from the edge on both sides, then connect the marks with a straight line using a long ruler. This is going to be your cutting line. To preserve the worktop edges while cutting, place some paper tape along the line you just drew (place it all around, also on the wrong side of the table top).
Join the two halves of the worktop together to form a 63.5*2 = 127 x 93 cm surface. Align the two pieces so that the raw edges you just cut are on the same side, then use the 8-hole plates to fasten them together (I used 3 plates to do that, 2 at the sides, 1 in the middle). You can also finish now the raw edges using the edging strips included in the ikea kit (or you can do it later).
2. Assemble the kallax units.
Hooray! You did the cut! Now set your new table top aside and let’s assemble the kallax units.
Follow the Ikea instructions you find in the box to build each shelving unit. No worries, that’s actually super-easy! Then, put the 3 kallax units together as shown in the picture, make sure they are leveled. This part facing up is going to be your base, so we are going to attach the chipboard panel to it and then turn the table upside down. Hold them in place by tightening a strap around (I used two car roof straps): this will make your job easier in the next steps.
First join the two frontal kallax units together. For this step you need the two plates and 4 screws you had in your shopping list. Fasten the plate as you see in the picture below (click on the image to show it full-screen).
Then join the side kallax to the frontal kallax units. Now you need the wall fasteners (corner plates) and the 4 bolts you found in the Ikea assembly kit. You also need the 2 screws and 6 washers you had in your shopping list.
Using the bolts, fasten each corner plate to the side kallax as shown in the picture below. Then fasten the side kallax to the frontal ones using the screw and washers. You need 3 washers for each plate: one to make the hole smaller to be able to use a standard screw and the other two behind the plate to fill the gap between the kallax units.
3. Attach the chipboard base.
Now it’s time to build the base. Use a solid chipboard panel, as it will have to support the whole structure. The base of the assembled kallax units will now measure 39*2 = 78 cm in width and 77 + 39 = 116 cm in length. You can choose how big your chipboard panel has to be. I decided to make it about 2-3 cm smaller than the kallax base. Cut it to measure using the jigsaw or the hand saw. At this point you can also use the iron-on melamine tape to finish the raw edge. I did use it for my table: you can see the result in the picture. You should be able to easily apply it using just your iron and a cloth, but follow the instructions you find on the package. If you can’t find a tape that matches exactly the thickness of your chipboard you can always buy a bigger one and get rid of the excess using a cutter after applying it on the edge, as I did.
Once you’re happy with your chipboard base, attach it to the kallax units using some screws: the longer the better, just make sure they won’t pop up on the other side! This is also the time to attach the castors to the chipboard panel before turning the table upside down. Choose castors of any size you prefer, just consider they have to be big enough to carry the weight of the whole structure (mine are about 5 cm in diametre). Also take into account their overall height as this is going to affect how tall the final table will be and how comfortably you are going to work on it.
4. Build your secret compartment.
I have to admit I wasn’t really sure whether or not to put some extra effort in finding a way to lift the table top up and create this additional storage underneath. But – Oh My! – I’m so glad I did! This little space is just amazing to store the sewing patterns I’m working with and all my big rulers.
Anyway, if you decide you’re life is going to be just as good as it is now even without a secret compartment in your cutting table, you can go ahead and skip this whole step! (mine is much better now ;) ) Otherwise, start by slicing your wooden cylinder using your hand saw. The size of each slice if definitely up to you: it depends on how big you want that storage space to be, but always keep in mind the bigger the slices the higher the final height of the table! I opted for 5 cm slices, so that my finished table measured about 90 cm (but I’m only 1.60 m tall, so that’s all I needed!). You will need 5 of them (4 at the corners, 1 in the middle).
Once you cut all your cylinders, you can also decide to paint them: I used some white paint I had at home.
Then, fasten the straight plates to the top of the cylinders with a couple of screws.
NOTE: you can use anything you want to lift the table top up, I found this to be the cheapest solution in the hardware store I visited, but you may as well find something ever better or easier!
5. Secure the worktop in place.
Great job, we’re almost there! Now it’s time to fasten the cylinders to the bottom of the table top. Think about how you want to distribute them to make the most out of your secret compartment. You can even draw some guidelines using a pencil, as I did. Make sure you put one of the cylinders in the middle right where the two halves of the table top meet, this will give the worktop more stability. Also, make sure you position them so that you can then drive a long screw from the bottom through the top panel of each kallax unit and through each cylinder to hold the worktop in place.
If you decide you also want the paper roll holder for your drafting table, this is the time for fastening the brackets in place. Depending on how big are the paper rolls you usually work with, you can decide to put the brackets either along the short or the long side. Mine are 90 cm-long, so I used the long side of the table for that. Fasten the brackets with some screws as shown in the picture below.
Here comes the tricky part: place the table top on the kallax units aligning it as you planned. Eyeball the location where you have to place each of the 5 screws so that it will catch the corresponding cylinder, as you see in the picture. A little tip: whenever you have to drive a screw through some piece of ikea furniture, it’s best to first drill a small hole (smaller than the size of the screw). That will make it easier to set the screw and will avoid damaging the surface!
6. Enjoy your new craft table!
You made it, yay! Now it’s time to enjoy your brand-new multi-functional craft table. I used the frontal kallax units to store all my fabrics: they’re rolled and ordered by type and/or season, this way I can easily find them and look at all colours at once to find inspiration! I also used the Drona box by Ikea to store the tons of fabric scraps I produce everyday. The side kallax is used to store all my sewing books and any other useful thing I want to keep on hand. You can also notice how my secret compartment is already full of sewing patterns and it’s also great to store my french curve and my other rulers.
The great thing about this craft table is that you can customise it the way you want and make it just yours. So, enroll your husbands ladies and go to Ikea, get creative and have fun with this project! I hope you find the instructions useful and easy to follow, but just in case you have some doubts don’t hesitate to drop a comment to ask all your questions. Also do leave comments to let me know how is it going with the construction and post links to your final result, I’d be so happy to see your own versions!
That’s all for today, see you soon with next post!
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