Two Ikea Hacks using Billy Book Cases

Who on this planet hasn’t bought from Ikea at one time or another?

In a past life when I was doing weekly and monthly makeovers for ‘That’s Life’ ‘Sunday Magazine’ ‘Homestyle’ magazines. I seemed to spend every hour when not making, browsing or buying in IKEA.

Because the IKEA was founded on a good design, the products stand-alone and look good unadulterated, however you can also create some fantastic results up-cycling and hacking. Here are a couple of projects made using Billy Bookcases.

Billybench.jpg In the first project the bookcase is turned on its side and a hallway storage bench has been made.Here are the instructions :


Billy book case bench

 We all need more space for storing bike helmets, boots, shoes and sports equipment so here is a very inexpensive solution.

You will need

1x Vyssa Slappna Cot Mattress 60x 120cm

1x Billy bookcase 40x28x106cm

Orange Squash emulsion paint by crown paint

Wicker cotton duck fabric in green by Cath kidston 1.5m



  1. Saw the lip off the 2 upright parts of the bookcase, leaving 2 long rectangular pieces.
  2. Using fine sandpaper, sand the surfaces to help make a purchase for the paint. Using a radiator roller, paint all the surfaces including the shelves. Leave to dry and give a second coat.
  3. Follow the makers instructions and construct the bookcase including the shelves.
  4. Measure the mattress and divide in two along its length 100cm with a 20cm piece at the bottom.
  5. Using a Stanley knife and a straight edge cut off the bottom 20cm and discard.
  6. Cut the remaining piece of foam into two long narrow strips 30cm x100cm. Place one on top of the other.
  7. Cut a paper pattern to the measurement of the foam 30cm x 100x10cm add 1cm seam allowance on each side.
  8. With right sides facing sew all the pieces together to make the seat covering, leaving a gap along one side to insert the foam pieces.
  9. Close the gap with a blind hemming stitch.

crown paint Billy Book case £25 and cot Mattress £15 from Ikea


Orange Squash emulsion paint Crown https://www.crownpaint.co.uk/Wicker cotton duck fabric in green by Cath kidston £20 a metre no longer available but they have other lovely ones instead. http://www.cathkidston.com


In the second project a workroom desk cum table was created This Ikea hack is made from four Billy bookcases. It makes a brilliant worktable that you can stand at for designing and cutting out projects. The desk is super easy to put together using readily accessible Billy bookcases and a flush door, pulled together with an easy bang on trend ‘faux bois’ paint finish.

You will need

4x Billy bookcase

Flush door

Emulsion paint


Universal primer

Roller and tray

Masking tape

Kitchen roll

Paint brush

Paint kettle


Measuring jug

Spoon for mixing

Graining Rocker and Combination comb available online


Follow the instructions that come with the Billy bookcases to assemble the four worktable supports. To make the bookcases boxier, we cut the lower skirting section off at the base with a saw, making the bottom shelf flush with the floor.

Paint the bookcases, shelves and door with primer suitable for melamine, and then use a roller to apply two coats of the white emulsion. So you can practice the faux bois graining technique, paint the lining paper with white emulsion. For the graining glaze mix together 1litre of orange emulsion with 1litre of  acrylic scumble glaze. Paint a generous coat of glaze onto the lining paper. Take the graining rocker and pull through the glaze using a rocking motion to create the wood grain design. When you are happy with your paper practices start graining the furniture surfaces.

To get varied woody effects, try using different rocking speeds and for simple graining use the combination comb dragged through the glaze. For best results be generous when applying the glaze and work quickly. To work the glaze while it stays open paint and grain in small sections, brush the glaze on in stripes the width of the graining rocker. After each pass, clean off graining tools with kitchen roll. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the shelves and tabletop, glaze and run the comb over it. When all the furniture surfaces are ‘faux bois’, fake wood, grained, leave to dry thoroughly for a couple of days, to protect the surfaces apply varnish before assembling the furniture. To make the structure more secure use a very strong wood adhesive product, cutting out the need for nails and screws.


Credits for product and styling:

Flush door


white and orange emulsion

Crown Paint

Scumble glaze


Liberty Tana lawn fabric



scissors, tape measure pins, buttons


Rug and lamp


Printed papers




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