be empowered to use power tools: DIY IKEA hack record display cabinet & TV stand

img_3527My husband has a lot of records. Like, a lot of records. His collection is usually the first thing anyone notices when they walk into our home. It was certainly the first thing I noticed when I walked into his apartment for the first time years ago. Of the hundreds of records that he has collected over the years, two of them are mine: Beyoncé and Crazy Sexy Cool.

While I may never reach Reid’s level of record collecting enthusiasm, I love records as decor pieces. I love how different each individual album cover and spine look, and I love how different the vinyl itself looks from artist to artist (our record player is clear, so that when a new album is on display it adds a new dimension to the space). I knew once we bought our new home that I wanted Reid’s amazing collection to be a focal point for our main living room. I imagined purchasing a new, celebratory piece of furniture for our space that was sophisticated and practical. This new piece would house our most prized possessions: the records (for Reid) and the TV (for me. TV is BFF).

The problem? If I found pieces that fit the aesthetic I was going for, they were all either way too small, way out of budget, or concealed the records themselves (which as I said, I wanted to be a part of the design). Most of the pieces I found fit into all three categories, such as these beauties, found on Etsy and West Elm, respectively:

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I needed something big, but not bulky. I wanted something with clean lines that fit into my Mid-century modern vibes without being too “costumey”. I wanted, for the first time, I wanted the records displayed in something other than the ever-popular college student favorite: the IKEA Expedit.

While my heart may have been ready to graduate from Ikea storage, my budget wasn’t. So, I did the only rational thing: I got out the tools, visited the local hardware store, and IKEA Hacked.

Before I begin the tutorial for you to create your very own Mid-century record cabinet TV stand, I want to give a few disclaimers:

  1. I created this piece in January. Yes, January. So, I was outside, sanding, staining, gluing, and drilling in the cold Cincinnati winter. I don’t recommend it, but with a December closing and January move date, I did what I needed to do.
  2. I was moving. My apartment was a hot mess, and so was I. My husband is really, really nice and shot a few photos of this process on his iPhone. Thanks, Reid!

Mid-Century Record Cabinet & TV Console: IKEA Hack Tutorial

This is the perfect project for those of you who, like me, had never picked up a drill or put together a piece of furniture in your life. I was always scared of the drill until I tried this project, and now I am obsessed with it and can’t wait to purchase other loud tools to try. It’s addicting, and you’ll feel completely empowered after finishing your first project. Trust me- try it!



Supplies needed:

  • Besta cabinet, constructed (not pictured above, but linked here). This holds roughly 300 records!
  • Wood cut* into various lengths (listed below), all 15.875″ width, except where noted.  All of the boards I used were .75″ thick.
    • One plank 75.31215″ long (exact much?)
    • One plank 72.4375″
    • One plank 60″ long x 14″ wide
    • Two planks 15.125″
    • *Pro tip: Hardware stores will cut the lengths for you! Just make sure you have the most EXACT measurements possible when you go in.
    • What you are making, essentially, is a “frame” for your IKEA Besta TV unit. We chose to have the top layer of our cabinet with a small lip on either end to add dimension, while the other pieces framing the cabinet fit together flush. Full disclosure: we messed up our measurements SEVERAL times and had to make a few trips to Lowe’s before getting it right. 
  • Screws! So many screws. Exact counts and sizes are:
    • Sixteen 10×1.25 sheet metal screws
    • Twenty-four 10×1.5 sheet metal screws
    • Four 10×1.75 sheet metal screws
    • Hairpin legs screws, should come with purchase. If not, bring one to the hardware store and ask for help!
  • Drill with pilot hole drill bit
  • Sandpaper and tack cloths (not pictured here or shown in the tutorial, but I recommend always lightly sanding and wiping even the smoothest of boards before staining)
  • Pre stain wood conditioner
  • Wood stain, I used Cherry (don’t forget the rubber gloves to protect your hands!)
  • Staining pads and foam brushes (use whichever you prefer, but I personally lean toward brushes)
  • Polycrylic protective finish spray, which is optional but I wanted the extra protection
  • Wood glue and clamps
  • Drywall spatula
  • Hairpin legs (not pictured until later) in the height you choose. Ours are 8″. I love this shop on Etsy, they have great service and it’s local if you are in Ohio!

Part one: Constructing the base


The base of this cabinet is the only place with two layers of wood planks. This is to stabilize the piece and give the hairpin legs something really sturdy to screw into, since IKEA pieces are usually filled with MDF and aren’t always the best grippers (none of these are actual construction terms, if you couldn’t tell). To begin this project (once you have sanded and wiped the wood), place the 60″x14″ plank in the center of the 72.4375″ long plank. Measure to ensure all sides are equal and it is centered, then trace an outline with pencil.

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Once you have traced the outline of the small board onto the larger board, remove it, leaving the two boards side by side. Apply a generous amount of wood glue to each board (being sure to keep the glue “inside the lines” on the larger piece). Use the drywall spatula to spread the glue onto a wide, thin layer, and then place the boards back together. Be careful to line the pieces up inside of the original outline that you drew!

Place the boards as precariously as possible onto the side of a deck with cars parked directly below it. Just kidding, don’t do that. It’s just what I did, because I’m always asking for trouble.

In all seriousness, find a place that you can set the boards so that they are able to be evenly clamped on both sides to ensure that the wood is being safely secured together. Follow the directions on your wood glue for accurate dry times.


Part two: Stain your wood

Remember when I said that I did this project in January? Well, the outdoor pieces were pretty miserable to complete and it got dark very early, which means that I didn’t get a full step by step photo tutorial of the staining process. There are TONS of amazing staining tutorials out there, like this one, this one, or this one. Find a method you like and stick with it! My only advice is to be patient and WEAR. GLOVES. And a mask, if you have the forethought, which I never do! Looking for trouble, like I said. I always let my stain dry overnight before working with the materials. It can be a pain, but really, it’s such a satisfying process! img_3505



Part three: Applying the short sides

Once your wood is a gorgeous cherry color and is completely dry, it’s time to put the cabinet together! This is where the fun begins and when we get to use our drill. An important note is that you will need a partner for the duration of this process. Their main role will be to hold the cabinet steady for the times that it needs to be standing tall, and to make sure your wood doesn’t slip around while you work with it.

img_3506Most projects that require drilling will also require you to drill “pilot holes”. Simply put/nontextbook definition: a pilot hole is a skinny hole that gets the screw started and just makes things easier. They are also helpful because they provide you with guidelines of where to insert your screws, like making a mark with a pencil. Here is a good step by step tutorial on drilling pilot holes! Be sure that your drill bit isn’t longer than the width of the Besta and your wood plank combined, or else it will drill straight through to the other side of the wood! They are usually very easy to control, so if your drill bit is a bit long, you can put a piece of tape on the bit to show you when to stop.

We started with the short edges of our cabinet, because they will be wedged between the two longer top and bottom planks. Have your partner hold your cabinet standing upright and position the short edge over one of the 15.125″x15.875″ planks. As your partner holds the cabinet high, check that the wood is positioned correctly below it and that all edges are lined up. Our cabinet has a very narrow lip on the front of the cabinet, so we were able to just line up the back side of the cabinet and the plank.


As shown above, use your pilot drill bit to drill two holes into each of the four corners of the short side of the Besta. Make sure the pilot hole goes through the cabinet AND into the wood side (without penetrating through it). img_3507

Once you have drilled your pilot holes, use a screwdriver to begin twisting your 10×1.25 screws into the side of the cabinet. Once it is somewhat steady, use your drill to finish the job!

Once you have drilled two screws safely into each corner of the short side of your cabinet, the wood should be secured. Repeat on the other side.

The process for attaching the long planks is almost exactly the same, except that it is important to note which plank you will attach to the bottom of the cabinet and which will be attached to the top. As I mentioned, our longest plank (75.31215″ long) would be going on top of the cabinet so that we could have a short lip on either side. The 72.4375″ plank would be going on the bottom (it’s hard to mix them up- the bottom piece does have a 60″ plank already glued to it, after all) will line up perfectly with all edges except for the short lip on the front of the cabinet (which is easy to see in the photo above). Other key differences for securing the top and bottom planks are that you only need to drill ONE hole in each of the four corners of EACH shelving section, which equals 12 screws on the top (four in each shelving section corner) and 12 on the bottom. Use the 10×1.5 screws for the top and bottom planks.




Part four: Attaching your legs

By far the most satisfying part of every project is the end. Attaching the legs to your piece is the final step before you can use this amazingly easy DIY record cabinet & TV stand! Before you attach your legs to the bottom, shorter and thinner piece of wood, add some extra protection and security to ensure that your wood glue never comes apart by drilling a 10×1.75 screw into each corner. I recommend aligning your hairpin leg base in the corner as you do it, so that you don’t accidentally drill too close to the edge (like in the photo below).img_3510

Repeat the process of securing the two wood planks together with a long screw in each corner of the bottom plank of wood, using all four 10.75 screws.

Then, making sure that your hairpin leg base is directly lined up with the corner edges of the bottom security plank, use a pencil with where the holes for the screws go and use your drill to make pilot holes for each screw.

Repeat this process for all four hairpin legs in each corner of your bottom plank.

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Once you have completed all of the pilot holes (look how pretty they are!), use the screws that came with the hairpin legs to secure the base of each leg into the bottom plank of your cabinet.



And that’s IT! Or, at least it was it. Once we had been moved in for several months, I ruined Reid’s life by making him take out all of the records and take off the electronics (whose cords he had masterfully and painstakingly hidden) so that I could paint the legs gold using Martha’s liquid gilding, which is my favorite paint to use on accent metals. Hairpin legs can be a bit “industrial” for my taste, which isn’t industrial at all, so I prefer them in colors other than the natural steel.

img_3529The view in the photo above is from my favorite spot in my home, my new couch (which I call Couch, because I consider it a close, personal friend that deserves a proper noun). Also, that is not a taxidermy dog but whenever she leaves me for her next life I will go back to this blog post to decide if she’ll look good sitting there for all eternity. Stay tuned.

img_3528So. Many. Records. But, they all fit! And yes, they are alphabetized. 


One more, with Tash getting bored by my treat holding/camera luring, because this might be my favorite corner of the whole house. The hanging planters are a tutorial from Vintage Revivals!


Phew! That was a long one. The project is such a good one to start with, because it’s not quite building a piece of furniture on its own but its close enough to make you feel really, really accomplished. At the end of the day, isn’t that what all DIY is about? Feeling overly proud of yourself? I’d like to think so.

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