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"Converting an Ikea Billy bookcase into a cabinet" Topic

10 Posts

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Personal logo Mister Tibbles Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2023 6:01 a.m. PST

I put the glass doors on some Billy cases, but kept everything else the same. They will not keep out dust, but will reduce it a bit. No clue about led lighting.

Ferd4523109 Sep 2023 10:06 a.m. PST

Habitat for Humanity sells excellent stuff with all the features you want to add. They are usually priced at a bargain level. You might have to search a bit; but it is worth it. H

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2023 8:37 p.m. PST

I think it's a great idea. I have books in some Billy cabinets, and family photos and knickknacks (is that how that's spelled?) in another. The glass doors reduce the dust a lot.

You might consider glass shelves, so that you have more light and better fields of view inside.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2023 10:48 a.m. PST

I can't comment on the conversion re the glass doors but if your older Billy cabinets have pre drilled holes, then it should be easy to order the doors for them and install them with the included hardware.

Be warned that the colors of the wood grain have changed. My two older Billy Oxberg cabinets were a medium brown wood grain effect, which are not available. Instead, for my third cabinet I chose a dark grained wood as the only suitable alternative.

The newer cabinets come short one shelve compared to the older version. So, you will have to order at least one more shelf (or more if the distance between shelves is reduced to hold more figures. The space between the moveable shelves is predicated on the the permanent shelf. The later is part of the bookcase structure.

The distance between my shelves varies from 8 1/2 " at the top to 14" at the bottom (for tall items like ships etc.. I believe my shelf spacings are roughly 8.5". 9", 9.5", 10", 10.5, 11" and 14". However, the bottom shelves could be rearranged to add additional shelves below the main/permanent shelf. Note I store 28mm figures and the distance I use allows me to easily remove and insert figures with ease.

I used LED adhesive tape lighting of Natural white at 60 lumens per meter in 8ft rolls. BTW, I would not recommend this strip lighting for glass shelves as they might not stick well and the reverse side of the tape would look unsightly through the glass. Of course the number of rolls depends on the number of shelves you have. Also, the tape can be easily cut with scissor to fit your needs.

Luckily I have found that three Billy Oxberg display cases side by side allowed me to span one 8 ft roll of the LED tape lights for one level of shelving for all three cabinets. The tape was affixed to the underside roughly at the half width point of the shelf starting from right (for me perhaps from the left for you depending on your configuration needs) along the shelf to the left toward the join of the two cases. I previously drilled a large enough hole through the two cases to permit the tape to fit through. I repeated this procedure for the next cases, which completed one complete shelf run for the three cases.

BTW you should leave the protected tape covering (the sticky side) on until you have pre-fitted the full length of tape through all the cabinets with connecting wires out of the left side of the last case. After pre-fitting gradually peel and stick the tape to the mid line of the shelves.

I repeated this process for all of the remaining shelves. I then connected all the wires for all my shelves to dimmable high wattage power supply, which was affixed to the left side of the case. I recommend choosing the highest transformer wattage possible to allow for possible expansion and mitigate under powering your LEDs.

I hope my method of installing these LED tapes helps you with your project.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2023 9:11 a.m. PST

Use some cellophane tape to temporarily attach the LED Strips (with their adhesive still covered), in place, to see how well they work. This will allow you to re-position them, if necessary, before you peel the backing and permanently attach them to the shelves.

You can also experiment with applying the LED Strips to the sides of the cabinet, to see if you prefer that lighting arrangement.

Make up a couple of test strips of LED's, soldering wires to them, to play with, before committing to any arrangement.

If the LED tape is ugly, looking at it through the glass shelves, you can apply them to aluminum metal strips, usually available at DIY stores, or hardware stores: apply the LED strips to the aluminum bars; secure the bars by resting them between the pins and the glass shelves -- no glue necessary. Just remember that if you remove a glass shelf, the aluminum strips will likely fall

When you finish, please come back and post photo's to inspire other TMP'ers! Cheers!

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2023 6:44 a.m. PST

@Ironduke – do you have pics of those? I'd love to see!

dapeters12 Sep 2023 9:20 a.m. PST

LOL I think if you go to an IKEA store (not on line) you might find everything you need.

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