The configuration of the Kallax system is perfect for my craft supplies, but I didn’t like how messy it looked when not in use. Even with everything put away and tidy, the visual busy-ness was distracting in my otherwise minimal workspace. These lightly whitewashed plywood doors were a great way to hide everything away while still having all my supplies close at hand! This project was partially inspired by this hack and this one too.
1×4 Kallax unit
2×4 Kallax unit
2 sets of ikea casters
1/4″ plywood sheets (16″x57″ for single tower, 14.75″x57″ for double tower)
4- 57″ lengths of 1/4″ thick, 1″ wide unfinished molding, plus scrap
36- 3/8″ length screws to fit your hinges (I used #4 and #6)
16- drywall/plaster anchors (I used #6)
24- 1″ screws to fit your anchors and hinges (I used #6)
2- magnetic catch kits
2- “L” brackets
Minwax white pickling stain
Minwax polycrylic finish
2 brass upholstery tacks
2- 4″ long pieces of leather from the craft store
Power drill with a bit for drilling anchors and a small bit for drilling guide holes
1. Assemble the Kallax shelving as directed. I added the casters to the bottoms of the units. My space fits a 1×4 unit and a 2×4 unit side by side. I decided not to screw them together because I like the flexibility of being able to reconfigure my space if needed. However, the casters are not recommended on the narrow end of the 1×4 unit, so be careful if you decide to add wheels and not attach it to something.
2. Glue the molding onto the backs of the door panels where you will be installing the hinges. This extra wood will provide stability to the thin plywood doors and make it thick enough to put screws in. I wanted the door on my 2×4 shelf to open like an accordion from one side of the unit, so it glued molding to both sides of one of my short panels (more on this later). If you are planning on having each panel attach directly to the Kallax unit, you only need one piece of molding for each door.
note: my plywood panels were moderately bowed before I glued on the molding. It doesn’t seem to be a problem and they straightened out with the molding acting as a sort of backbone.
3. Sand, stain, sand, finish, and sand your door fronts. I applied one coat of minwax white pickling stain and rubbed it off within three minutes of painting it on. I like the dreamy aesthetic of the grain showing through the pale white.
4. Decide where you want your hinges to attach and mark it out on the Kallax and the door panels. I used three hinges for each door. I started with my single door in the 1×4 tower to get a feel for the process. Once I had the hinge screw holes marked out, I used a small drill bit to drill test holes in the Kallax. The sides are hollow, but not uniformly so. I could tell by the way the drill went into the side whether or not the spot was hollow. If it was, I’d use my larger bit to drill holes, then hammer in anchors. With my placement (3″ from top and bottom, then one in the exact middle) I ended up needing anchors in the top and bottom hinges but not for the middle ones.
note: I practiced a lot with the hinges before I screwed them on. Having little experience with woodworking, I had to get a feel for the clearance needed between the hinge and the door to allow the range of motion I needed. This practice proved to be an important step because a hinge by itself has a much wider range than a hinge with 1/2″ thick wood panels on it.
5. Once the holes in the Kallax were prepared, I pre-drilled small holes into the doors to avoid any splitting, then screwed the hinges onto the doors using the 3/8″ screws. Once the hinges were on the door side, I lined it up with the Kallax and used the 1″ screws to attach it to the unit.
6. For the 2×4 unit, things were a little more complicated due to the two panels attaching on just one side of the Kallax. First, use all short screws to attach the two door panels together. The panel with molding on both sides will attach to the Kallax, while the panel with just one reinforced side will attach only to the other panel. Once this step is complete, measure and mark the hinge holes very carefully so they line up with the door that’s already hung. Install anchors in the Kallax as before. Screw the hinges into the door panel piece and then attach the whole thing to the Kallax. You will need a friend to support the weight of the two door panels as they are installed.
7. To support the weight of the doors after installation, I added two L-brackets to the bottom of the Kallax so they would support the bottom corner of the door panels in the open and closed positions. To make sure they were flush with the door and therefore able to support some of the weight, I hammered them into place gently after screwing them in. hey can support the weight of the doors when not in use.
8. To keep the doors closed, I installed magnetic catches to the top corners opposite the hinges. I used anchors for the magnet on the inside of the Kallax. On the inside of the door, I glued some scrap molding in place and then screwed the metal plate onto it using an extra 3/8″ screw.
9. To make pulls, I just cut two 4″ lengths of leather and hammered them onto the door fronts with brass upholstery tacks, making sure the scrap molding for the catches was directly behind. That way they didn’t punch completely through the panels.
And it’s done!