Building An IKEA Expedit / Kallax Door with Vinyl Album Art
In this week's project, I build a custom IKEA Expedit or Kallax door using plywood, epoxy, and aluminum, featuring some of my favorite album art. This is a simple build using some fun techniques, I hope you enjoy the build!
Materials Used on IKEA Kallax Door Project:
- ¾" Purebond Plywood Project Panel, Walnut
- Printed Album Artwork, 12" x 12"
- ArtResin Epoxy Resin
- Spray Polyurethane
- ¾" Aluminum Angle
- Aluminum Brazing Rod
- Inset Cabinet Hinges
Tools Used on IKEA Kallax Door Project:
- Dewalt 20V Max Impact Driver
- SawStop PCS 1.75-HP Professional Cabinet Saw
- DEWALT FLEXVOLT 12" Compound Sliding Miter Saw
- Nova Voyager DVR Drill Press
- Bernzomatic TS8000 Torch
- MAP Gas
Step 1 : Cut Plywood To Size
First, I cut my Purebond Walnut veneered plywood to size on the table saw. If you don’t have a table saw, you could have your local Home Depot make this cut for you.
I ran into a bit of a conundrum when sizing these doors. The opening on the IKEA Kallax shelves are just over 13” square and plywood comes in 2 foot increments.
If I were to cut the doors to the exact size of the opening on the Kallax, I would be wasting almost half of my plywood. Because of that, I decided to go with a door size of 11 ⅞” square, so I could get four doors out of one 2 foot by 2 foot Purebond project panel. I cut the doors to 11 ⅞” to account for the ⅛” kerf of the table saw.
Step 2 : Attach The Album Art Using Spray Adhesive
Once the plywood was cut to size, it was time to add the album art. I had these album covers printed at my local Office Depot for $12 for both album covers. You can easily find high resolution scans of most popular album covers online.
Once I had them printed, I cut them to size and used spray adhesive to attach the art to the plywood. Make sure to attach the art to the side of plywood that looks worse, since you’ll be able to see the other side when the door is open.
Step 3 : Add A Layer Of Epoxy Over Album Artwork
With the art attached, I wanted to add a layer of epoxy resin to both protect the artwork and give it a nice look. I used ArtResin for this, and ArtResin is designed for exactly this type of process. I mixed up the amount I needed, 12 oz in this case for both doors, stirred it for 3 minutes, then poured it on. I spread the epoxy relatively evenly, but ArtResin is self leveling so I didn’t need to get it perfect.
Once the entire surface was covered, I used a propane torch to bring any air bubbles to the surface of the epoxy and pop them. With the bubbles removed, I left the epoxy for cure for 48 hours.
Step 4 : Add Finish To Back Of Door
Once the epoxy had cured, I cleaned up the back of the door using a card scraper and a random orbit sander. One thing I forgot to do before pouring the epoxy was to put painter’s tape on the back edges to allow for easy removal of the epoxy drips, make sure not to forget to do this!
After sanding, I vacuumed any dust off the surface and applied a few coats of spray polyurethane to the back and sides of the door. The sides won’t be seen, so no need to go crazy making them look perfect.
Step 5 : Cut Pieces of Aluminum For Frame
Next, I got to work on the frame. I used 1/16” thick, ¾” wide aluminum angle that I picked up at my local home center. I cut the pieces at 12 ¾” long with a 45 degree miter on each end. These aluminum pieces come in 4 foot increments, so I needed 3 pieces for two doors.
Step 6 : Assemble Aluminum Frame Using Aluminum Brazing
I used a process called aluminum brazing to assemble the frame, and this was a process I had never attempted before. There are a few steps before getting to brazing: first, I beveled the edges slightly to allow more of the filler material to penetrate the joint. I used a file for this. Next, I used a metal brush to remove any surface imperfections.
For the brazing, I used MAP gas and a Bernzomatic TS8000 torch. It is possible to braze using a propane torch, but the heat output is much lower and it will take much longer to get the metal to temperature.
I applied heat to the joint for about 30 seconds, and then started dragging the brazing rod across the joint. The goal is not to melt the rod with the torch in the air, it needs to melt from the heat from the joint. The filler will flow along the heated area and will fill in the joint. You can see here how the filler flows where the heat is concentrated in the joint.
I only practiced on one piece prior to diving in, so excuse my rough joints, but they all worked out fine. For this application, strength isn’t a big factor.
Step 7 : Clean Up Joints With Files and Sandpaper
Once I had all of the joints brazed together, I let them cool and then used a belt grinder to get them flush.
I also tried using a random orbit sander to smooth things out, but it left a really weird surface texture that I wasn’t a huge fan of.
Step 8 : Paint Frame Using Spray Paint
It didn’t really matter, since the next step was to paint the frame black. I added a few coats and let it dry overnight.
Step 9 : Attach Door To Frame Using Epoxy
With the frame and door finished, it was time to attach them to each other. I used a little 5 minute epoxy in each inside corner of the frame and cut a few spacer blocks so that the door would be held in place while the epoxy dried.
Step 10 : Install Hinges and Knob and Install Door
The last step in the project was to add the hardware to the door. I decided to use European style hinges for this project, and I’ll have a link in the video description to the exact hinges I used. These were really simple to install, I just drilled a hole with a 1 ⅝” Forstner bit using my drill press. I also went ahead and drilled a hole for the knob while I was at the drill press. Once the holes were drilled, I attached the hinges to the door using the included screws.
With the hinges attached to the door, I attached the other half of the hinges to the inside of the IKEA cabinet and used the screws on the hinges to adjust the spacing around the outside of the door frame.
Once the spacing was even, I added the knob and a catch for the door, and the door was complete!
Let's Wrap Things Up!
I hope you enjoyed this build! It was a fun and challenging project with lots of new techniques, and I love the way the door looks in my IKEA Expedit shelves. I will definitely be making more of these in the future! If you make some of your own, leave a picture in the comments section below or tag me on social media at @craftedworkshop. Thanks!