An easy DIY arched bookshelf tutorial, made by hacking IKEA’s Billy bookcase. No power tools needed and simple enough for DIY beginners. Affiliate links in post.
My loves, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the day has finally come! I have at long last sat down to write up a tutorial for the arched bookshelf that first made its debut on this blog . . . . well, back in February! (Er, sorry about the delay…)
Can you spot my DIY terrarium?
Let’s discuss. One: how insanely cute did this turnout? I’m sorry, but I might as well hang up my DIY shoes because I have peaked. This is my favourite craft of 2022. (Well, so far anyway. There is a cardboard sofa I am going to try next month and that could very well steal top spot…)
You are going to be shook at how easy this is to recreate at home. Without any power tools or skill of any kind.Yeah, girl. You can *actually* make this.
For years, I have been obsessed with arched furniture . . . and less so the price tag that comes attached to it! Naturally, this turned into me searching for ways to create pieces myself; however, all the DIY takes I was finding required the use of power tools. And, look, one day I want to master power tools. But that day has not come.
It was actually making the arched DIY cardboard side tables that gave me this idea! The technique honestly transferred over super well – and I’m beyond happy with the final piece. The IKEA Billy Bookcase only cost me $69 AUD, but the hack makes it look so much more unique . . . and expensive!
Plus, the cardboard I used to create the arched facade for this bookshelf? It’s all the packaging that came with it! So this is kind of an upcycle too. Or at least a way to ensure your recycling bins aren’t super crammed.
Shall we get into the making?
Table Of Contents
What you need:
- IKEA Billy Bookshelf in white (I used the 80x28x106 cm version)
- Joint compound (I used two 4.5kg tubs and had some spare for other projects)
- Hot glue
- Spray adhesive
How To Make:
Girl, we have options when it comes to this tutorial. The full video tutorial (as well as my super cute office makeover and more DIYs) is in my Youtube video below:
The tutorial starts at 03:46!
However, I also have a shorter – albeit less detailed – version here. If you don’t want to watch the full video, I definitely recommend watching this as well as following along with the written tutorial:
- Assemble the BILLY bookshelf.
- Measure and cut 2 pieces of cardboard out to fit inside the top shelf.
- Draw an arch shape in the centre of one piece of cardboard. (A great tip for this, as shown in both of the videos, is to tie some string around a pen and hold down the string in the centre of your card. Then, when you move the pen, it will create an arched shape.)
- Cut out the arch and, using that card as a guide, recreate the cut on your second piece of cardboard. You should now have two identical pieces.
- Find the 4 thick parts of cardboard in your packaging, or hot glue pieces of cardboard together to create 4 small, thick cardboard rectangles. These will be used to space/brace your card inserts and for the next steps we’ll refer to them as cardboard brackets.
- Working on the top shelf, hot glue 2 of your cardboard brackets into the back of each corner. Make sure to glue along the base and side of the shelf for maximum hold.
- Use hot glue to stick your first cardboard insert into place. This is going to be our facade, so make sure the arch is facing down.
- Add another two cardboard brackets in corners of your cardboard insert. You should find this helps to keep everything in place as it dries!
- Glue your last insert into place. If it isn’t perfectly level with the front of the bookshelf, make and add another cardboard bracket to bring it forward.
- Cut a piece of cardboard down to size to act as a “roof” for your arch. Make sure the lines in your card are running horizontally and bend your cardboard until it is flexible.
- Hot glue the “roof” into place. I also like to use tape to help create a smoother arch.
- Rinse and repeat this process of creating a cardboard facade with the lower level shelves.
- Once you have a shape you’re happy with, cover the whole thing with joint compound. Leave to dry for 24-48 hours and, if you want a smoother finish, sand down.
- Seal with a spray adhesive.
Honestly, this IKEA Billy hack just goes to show why I love the trend of “IKEA hacks”. You can get so creative and make truly one of a kind pieces . . . while still keeping to a budget!
This sounds like it has a lot of steps – and is admittedly time-consuming – but it’s so beginner-friendly! If you have an empty weekend, I highly recommend giving it a try. (Plus, I managed to sell it for more than I paid on Facebook Marketplace when I left Aus! We love.)
As ever, if you enjoyed this tutorial make sure to give it a share! And let me know your thoughts in the comments down below . . .
Such great DIY! I’m sorry you had to let it go, on to the better things I guess.
Mia's DIY Projects says
Thank you for reading 🙂
I can’t believe you did this with cardboard as a base! That is awesome and so creative!
Mia's DIY Projects says
Thank you so much, Laura! I’m so pleased with how this turned out 🙂
Wow! This turned out so good. It reminds me of the Mediterranean buildings and the shelving built into the wall.
Mia's DIY Projects says
Thank you so much, Aimsy! That style of built in shelving was a big inspo for this project xx
Izzy Matias says
This is super cute!!! And amazing how you were able to craft this. It does seem like there are a lot of steps, but the end result is worth it! Doesn’t look like it’s made out of cardboard at all. 🙂
skye arizon says
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Mia, this is totally something I would do! I am not the best with tools, so this sounds like the kind of DIY project I could get on board with and the final result is AMAZING!
This is a clever diy bookshelf. You have shared an easy to follow guide. Thank you for sharing.
I absolutely love how this turned out! Such a stunning piece!
Eileen | yesmissy.com
It’s such a pretty space! I love it
Wow! This is so beautiful! It’s amazing that you managed to create this with cardboard.
This is a lovey DIY. i wish i had the time and patience to complete a DIY i always start but never finish then end up just buying it at the store or online.
Annies Food Diary
Wow..this is so beautiful and creative 🙂Beauty and Fashion/Rampdiary/Glamansion
Jaya Avendel says
I am just loving this finished project; it is refined yet also rustic and eye-catching!
You’re so creative! I love this DIY and that you don’t need any power tools to get it done!
Sharing a fun graphic dress in my new post and would love you to swing by.
Wow, I love the way you made this, you’re so creative! <3
Simona ~ The Grumpy Olive says
Guess who’s going to try this out as soon as possible? I have a Kallax in need of TLC and hopefully I can make it work with it too?
I watched your video tutorial on YouTube, and I love how the shelf turned out! You did an amazing job!!!
You are a genius! I love your DIY, thanks for sharing this
This is so cool! thanks for sharing this !