IKEA Ivar Hack | Industrial Shelving Unit

I told you guys I would have some kind of a DIY on the blog soon! I’m just now getting my creativity back after having terrible morning sickness for months and I’m loving it. I feel like I’m myself again!

Today I’m sharing my most recent IKEA hack with you. You all know how much I love me some IKEA hacks and I know you do too! Before I redesigned my entire dining room I made a design board and had an exact plan of what I wanted it to look like. I included all the furniture I wanted to purchase/make.Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.46.35 AM.png

The dining room is finally finished but I’ve been missing one thing! An industrial wood shelving unit to put up against my bare dining room wall. Some people might do a buffet, leave it empty, add some wall art or even hang some floating shelves. I knew I wanted a shelving unit to add some contrast against my white shiplap wall, add some texture with the black and wood tone colors, and also create some space to organize all my cake stands and random kitchen knick knacks.


I started out browsing the internet for these industrial shelving units and soon found out they were either out of my price range or not the exact height and width I was wanting. I’m a perfectionist and very picky so I decided to wait on purchasing a shelving unit and check again another time.

Industrial Shelving Units

Target | Sears | Overstock | Overstock 2 | Overstock 3

My next thought was to just build myself one. Which I totally could have done and it would have saved me a lot of money… Until one day I stumbled upon the IKEA Ivar shelving unit. It was a good height, taller than all the shelving units I looked at and you can customize anything to your liking. It comes in a pine wood which means you can leave it how it is, paint it or stain it. The wood is great quality and so pretty! IKEA for the win again! Great quality, great prices and tons of choices!

IKEA IVAR Shelving Units

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Checkout IKEA’s website to see more of the Ivar collection!

At first I was going to purchase the 35″ x 11″ shelving unit. I measured it out on my wall and didn’t like how small it was. So I chose the Ivar 2 section unit that measured 52″ x 11″ which would fill up the entire blank wall perfectly!


The middle pieces of tape mark the width of the 35 inch unit and the outside pieces of tape mark the width of the 52 inch unit. The other cool thing about these units is there are taller ones too. So if you have taller ceilings you can choose one that fits your space better.

Ivar 2 Section Shelving Unit | Ivar Shelving Unit

Before I chose the Ivar shelving unit I also saw another shelving unit from IKEA that lots people use to hack and make into industrial shelving units. This project might have been a lot easier if I chose this shelving unit but in my opinion it was too short for my liking (68″ tall). If you prefer this one then go for it! All you would need to do is replace the glass shelves with wood.


Vittsjo Shelf Unit

First things first, before I continue this tutorial, I want to say that this DIY hack was very time-consuming, tedious and sometimes irritating. It was so worth it to me though because the shelving unit was the cheapest option, customizable and the perfect size for my space. So if you don’t have extra time or the patience to do something like this I suggest you purchase an industrial shelving unit you like online. If you like challenges and saving money then keep reading!

With that being said…

Here’s what you will need for this project:

  • IKEA Ivar 2 section shelving unit | I chose size: 52 3/4 in. wide x 11 in. width x 70 1/2 in. tall
  • 2 extra shelves | I purchased an extra 33 x 12 and 17 x 12 for this unit (optional)
  • 5-6 cans of Rustoleum textured black spray paint
  • Stain of your choice (I used Special Walnut by Minwax + Sun Bleached by Varathane)
  • 2 thin 8 foot pieces of wood molding (Optional for X bracing)
  • 1 in. wood screws if you decide to add your own X brace
  • Thick painters tape
  • 3m painters plastic


You’ll need to purchase all of your supplies including the shelving unit from IKEA. IKEA shipping is super expensive so going to the actual store is what I chose to do. Something that is very important to remember when purchasing this shelving unit is to print out the item article number! Thank goodness I printed this page out before I drove 2 hours to our IKEA!

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We searched the entire top floor show room for these shelving units and could not find them anywhere. So once we got down to the floor with all of the boxed up items we went up to their database computers and searched for the Ivar shelving unit. Nothing was popping up until we typed in the article number. We learned that in the store you have the option of purchasing all the separate pieces so you can build whatever size/shape shelving unit you want! It doesn’t just come in a box. Confusing but also very cool. So when you type in the article number IKEA will give you a list of all the pieces you need, how many you need to build the unit you want and where it’s located.

We got the information we needed and found all the wood pieces to build this shelving unit. Since all of the pieces were there in the open I decided to grab one extra shelf of each size so I had more shelves for my unit.

Moving on to the first step! I almost freaked out when I got back home because I thought I was missing the hardware. I looked online and found the directions for the shelving units and discovered the hardware is hidden inside the shelves.


Before you start anything make sure you take all the dowels out and set them aside somewhere safe. Next step is the tedious part of the project. Taping off all of the grey sides on the shelves and covering the wood with plastic. In the end when the shelving unit is finished you want it to look like black steel and not have any grey showing. Make sure all the wood is completely covered.


Once all the shelves are prepped for paint you can take your spray paint and go to town! I let my husband go to town because spray paint is no bueno for pregnant women. Spray as many coats as you need to get good coverage. We did about 3 coats on each side of everything.


Make sure you get all the fronts and backs of everything. Don’t forget to paint the pieces of molding for the X bracing too. At IKEA you can purchase their metal X brace or you can choose to do the wood X brace like I did. I chose this because I actually left my IKEA X brace in my mom’s car and realized I didn’t want it anyway because I wanted a larger X for my shelving unit. The IKEA X is much smaller.


Once everything is dry it’s time for stain! Remove the plastic and tape. Make sure you don’t get any spray paint residue on your wood. When you touch the tape and plastic it can get on your hands.


This job was tedious as well and took a long time to do because I chose to use two stain colors. I completely covered the wood with my first stain (Special Walnut). The corners, sides and edges. Wiping the stain off as I went along. I also had to keep wiping the black edges off too so they wouldn’t get covered in stain. Once I finished my first color of stain I went back with my second color (Sun Bleached) doing the same exact steps.


If you plan on having any liquid on your shelves or you want a glossy or flat appearance you can seal your shelves. I skipped that step because I didn’t think it mattered so much and wanted my shelves to look old and worn.

When your shelves are done it’s time to assemble the shelving unit! For directions click here. When following the steps if you chose to use the wood cross brace like I did just add the X brace when the directions tell you to add the IKEA X brace. Without an X brace your shelving unit will not stand up. It will literally fall over. So make sure you have someone helping you hold it while you’re putting it together.

We laid the shelving unit down on the floor to add the X brace onto the back, put the X in place and measured where we needed to cut the pieces. I didn’t want my X exactly placed from corner to corner. I wanted it a tad smaller. So we measured down from the top of the shelving unit 6.5″ and the same from the bottom. Each piece overlaps each other making the X. We drilled small pilot holes through the molding pieces and the shelving unit so the wood wouldn’t crack when adding the screws. We used 1″ wood screws to attach the X.

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Once the X is in place stand your shelving unit up and add the side shelving unit. It can go on any side you want! Your shelving unit is complete! You may also secure it to the wall using IKEA’s hardware but we decided not to because it felt pretty solid. We will probably change our mind once the baby is here! I wouldn’t want this falling on anyone.

The Finished Look


There are so many things I love about this shelving unit! You can add or take away as many shelves as you want. You can choose whatever stain color you want. You can add more units depending on your space making it as big or as small as you want. The opportunities are endless and the price of these things are unbeatable! This is probably my most favorite DIY I’ve ever done. The end look is amazing!

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask!

See you next time!


This blog post is not sponsored and is not an advertisement. All opinions and ideas are my own.

9 thoughts on “IKEA Ivar Hack | Industrial Shelving Unit

  1. Hi Morgan,
    Your Ikea shelf looks amainzing!!!!
    I would like to do same like you as I move to new house this week.
    I am wondering can I do stain first and then do black spray later on so that no need to worry about to leave black spray mark.
    It would be great if you can advice.


    1. Hi there! Thanks so much! Yes! I’ve been meaning to add that to my blog post. Any order works and that would definitely prevent black finger marks getting on your wood. Congratulations on your house! That’s exciting! If you end up doing this hack I’d love to see it when you’re done. Tag me on Instagram if you want to! @mydivinehome


  2. Hi Morgan, your shelves look amazing! I am thinking of using your suggestion of buying the black metal and replacing the glass with wood but have a question for you. We don’t have any tools to cut the wood, any idea if the wooden ivar shelves would fit?


    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you! I’m not sure if they would fit :/ I would probably measure for what size wood you need, go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them cut some wood for you. They can cut wood for free! You just have to pick out the wood you want and have the correct size 😊 Hope that helps!


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