Yellow Brick Home has over 11 years of archives, so from time to time, we’ll be sharing our favorites from posts past. This tutorial was originally published in February 2014 and updated in 2021. (This is why you’ll notice two paint colors on the walls.) Enjoy!
The purpose for our nook: Sit. Relax. Enjoy music. We knew this would be our funny little room to play our records (man, we’ve really been missing our records!), read a good book and hang with the pets. A few readers mentioned here that they could totally see our girls sneaking into this room, baking in the sun and leaving only in the evenings to fill up on tuna. These comments were so endearing to me, that my only hopes for this room is to make that true.
Finding a Home for Our Vinyl Collection
To make this happen, we needed a place to stash our vinyl collection, and as we mentioned after painting the room green (update: it’s since been painted Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal), we finally assembled an IKEA VITTSJÖ unit that was originally intended for our future kitchen renovation. They’re inexpensive and well made, but because records are heavy, we needed to reinforce the glass shelves they come with for something that can bear the weight.
Like most IKEA pieces, there are many, many ways to hack an item – so many! Kate at Centsational Girl has a great write-up on nothing but Vittsjo ideas, and while we toyed with the idea of a different color altogether, we actually really liked the matte black finish for this room. Our plan? We wanted to add wood shelving not only for the warm look it would provide, but again, to give us enough support for all of our records. Here’s how it looks today, with plywood reinforcement on the lower two shelves!
Tools + Supplies Used
- IKEA VITTSJÖ
- 4′ x 8′ birch plywood sheet
- 3/4″ aluminum flat stock
- sheet metal screws
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Pre-stain conditioner
- Minwax stain (we used Special Walnut)
- Minwax Polycrylic (we used semi-gloss)
- Black spray paint
Figuring Out the Math
The original glass shelves actually sit on small tabs inside the steel frame, and we would need to fit shelves to sit on top of the steel frame. (Support, support, support!) The measurement needed for each shelf was 14 1/4″d X 39 3/8″w, which meant that our (more affordable) options were mostly limited to 4′ x 8′ sheets. In the end, we decided to buy a nice looking 4’x8′ sheet of birch plywood for $40.
But here’s the best part: We had the sheet cut down in the store for all of our shelves! After ripping the whole board down to 39 3/8″, a friendly sales associate continued to cut that down to 14 1/4″ planks, which gave us enough for 6 shelves – leaving us with 1 extra (always good to have in case of a mistake!). Note: We previously added plywood to every shelf, but in its current rendition, we opted to keep the glass for the top two shelves.
Creating a Paper Template
Now that we had our shelves, we would need to notch out the room needed for the vertical supports, so I made a paper template. For anyone wanting to do the same, these were the measurements needed on our 14 1/4″d X 39 3/8″w stencil:
Notching the Shelves to Fit
We laid our template on each shelf and I traced the notches with pencil. Scott used a jigsaw to cut out the little squares needed for the vertical supports. Tip: It’s helpful to first drill a small hole so that the jigsaw blade can more accurately make the innermost cut.
Protecting Each Shelf with Stain + Poly
Each shelf got a good sanding, followed by pre-stain conditioner, stain and poly. For the color, I used two coats of Minwax Special Walnut, which is a shade we’ve come to love for a true medium brown (no reddish tint!). I followed the stain with two coats of Polycrylic, giving it a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper between coats one and two. We allowed the shelves to dry for a week before putting our heavy records on them – although to be honest, it was simply because life got busy (and an extended dry time never hurt, right?)
Adding Horizontal Supports
With our shelves ready to go, we would need to add horizontal supports on the sides of the bookcase so that our records to have a place to lean. The negative space between the front and back vertical supports is almost 13,” and with a record being 12,” well, we would need to remedy that. Scott suggested we use 3/4″w aluminum flat bars (so smart!), cut them down to size using a Dremel, and screw them directly into the bookcase…
… Like this! We sprayed the flat stock with matte black spray paint and used sheet metal screws to attach it to the VITTSJÖ. Then I touched up the screw heads with a cotton swab, which brings me to a favorite trick of ours for spray paint touch up: Spray the paint directly in the lid, then use the little pool of paint with a small brush or cotton swab to cover up what you need:
Styling the VITTSJÖ!
After I loaded our records on the bottom two shelves, I scattered a few favorite pieces around the house, but finally settled on this shelving set up.
Our main hesitation in choosing plywood for the shelves was knowing that we’d be able to see the edges (which is not plywood’s finest point), and you know what? We kind of love them.
What’s Your Hack?
We love a good IKEA hack! Reimagining a piece of furniture to perfectly suit your home’s needs always leaves me feeling inspired. Which IKEA items have you hacked lately?