Monday, January 23, 2012

IKEA Spice Racks As Bookshelves - Things I Learned

As you saw in the pics of my girls' redecorated room last week, we put Pinterest to good use by taking someone's brilliant idea of using IKEA spice racks as bookshelves.

I had been wanting a wall shelf of some sort for the girls' books, because up until this point we have used a standard bookshelf and the books always looked like this:

Ok wait.  Actually they never looked like that.  Clearly I cleaned before taking this picture.

ANYWAY.  Bottom line, I was sick and tired of books being haphazardly thrown every which way in that bookshelf and longed for the on the wall version like they sell at Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod.

But who has $400 for a bookshelf right?

Enter the brilliance of Pinterest and IKEA.  I had found my answer.

So.  Now what?  Well, it was a labor of love getting those little spice racks from this:

to this:

Here are a few tips and ideas I picked up along the way.

1.  Each spice rack requires assembly with little to no instruction, which I understand is the norm for IKEA.  Fortunately, these were pretty much a no brainer, even for a non DIYer like myself.  Mobilize your troops and get to work.  Most of it is pretty simple, even for the littlest of fingers.

2.  Proper DIYers would probably have painted every part first, before assembly.  I was too impatient and I'm happy to report you cannot tell that these were painted after the fact at all.  I also did not bother putting any sort of lacquer or poly on these, nor did I sand them.  So far the paint has held up well to the wear and tear.  If you want a more polished finish you might add this step, but I didn't find it necessary.  I just slapped regular old room paint (the same paint we used on the furniture) on the racks with those cheapy foam craft brushes you can get at Hobby Lobby.  It took 2-3 coats.  2 for the shelves, 1 for my fingers.

3.  If you notice in that picture with Princess #4 putting in the shims, the racks come with standard wall hanging pieces already attached.  Hubs and I knew that books would be heavier than spices (obviously) so we knew regular old nails wouldn't work.  We bought drywall anchors like the ones below.  Now here's the big tip:  THESE DO NOT WORK.  After 4 racks fell under the weight of the books, stripping the hole in the wall in the process, we trekked back to Home Depot and picked up the hardcore metal butterfly anchors.  I didn't get a pic of them, unfortunately, but you will need them.  Especially if you're going to be housing heavy board books.

4.  Make sure you do your measurements and mark exactly where you want your racks to hang - ALL of them, before drilling your first hole.  This was difficult for us since we were hanging so many and trying to keep them centered and evenly spaced.  One thing we didn't consider too carefully was how high we were going.  My little princesses can't reach the top books without a step stool, which I would have rather prevented had I paid better attention.

Overall I'm really pleased with how this project turned out.  Like I mentioned before, the paint has held up well, as have the racks themselves.  Since using the metal butterfly anchors we haven't had any fall off the wall.  They don't hold quite as many books as I was thinking they would and I would actually like to add a few more to an adjacent wall, should I ever work up the energy to take this on again.  In all we used 13 racks.  We hung 9 on the main "book wall".

Then we also put two on the wall by Princess #1 and Princess #2's beds, just so they'd have some space that's reserved just for their own books.

Hopefully, if you're considering trying this anytime soon, these lessons I learned will help you out some.  I'd love to see pics of your completed project, so when you're done be sure to let me know!



  1. so cute!i have been debating the spice racks or gutters! i love the colors!

  2. OMG I LOVE it! I was totally planning on doing this too and I love how yours turned out! Off to Ikea this weekend. And thank you so much for the kind comment on my blog. It is greatly appreciated! :)

  3. i love this and your quote! I want to do this but there is not a Ikea near me and I am trying to find a way to buy these online. Is there a site we can order then from?!?!?  

  4. As far as I know the spice racks are not available online at  And even more unfortunate, I've been informed that they seem to be out of stock at the moment anyway.  :(  I do hope IKEA restocks them soon, because they are perfect.

  5. love the quote, where did you get the letters?

  6. Will someone ship these racks to me?

  7. I like that there are racks out of the princesses' reach. It gives you an opportunity to shelve rotate some books out so you're not reading Go Dog Go! every day.

  8. Anyone have the amazon link?

  9. I found your blog by googling how to paint ikea spice racks - I have a couple that I've had sitting in a closet for the past year and finally ready to tackle painting them... was trying to decide if I needed to prime them.... I love how yours turned out though and the colors are really fun! I'm thinking I'll go with either hot pink or turquoise...hmm. I'll send you a link to show you once I finally paint them. Thanks for the fun pictures and all of the great tips! I'll be sure to buy some butterfly anchors, since I would have just gotten the wall anchors. :) 

  10. i would really like to do this for my sons room, but when i go onto ikeas website, it says that this product is not for sale on their website, and the when i check to see if they have them in stores they're all sold out. does anyone else know where i could find something like these? 

  11. I was having the same problem. I bought some off of eBay. Maybe try there. Now I just have to figure put how to hange them :)


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