HomeFixated deals with DIY on all levels – from the people with the skills to make their own Trundle Beds and Adirondack Porch Swings to those folks like me who might mistake an Angle Grinder for a pizza cutter. But even us novices have our projects and problems – like my recent one when my blessed IKEA furniture appeared to be falling apart. After we moved, we noticed a fair number of our BILLY bookcases were standing a bit like the Tower of Pisa – supremely slanted. Thankfully, there’s a quick fix for that which will leave your IKEA bookcases looking better than new!
The Ikea Billy Bookcase and Its Achilles Heal
The problem with the BILLY and most IKEA furniture of the highly affordable variety is the low quality “back piece” that you slap onto them. As IKEA fans have quickly come to realize, it’s nothing more than fancy-looking cardboard. Unfortunately, this means that the nails you hammer into it can fairly easily come out – and that’s when your bookcase starts to get more wobbly than David Hasselhoff after a night on the town.
It’s also about the time you start searching for IKEA hacks online. If you want to rescue this furniture, you have two choices: replace the back cardboard piece with something more sturdy like a thin piece of plywood (which you’ll need to cut to size and finish), or – more easily – reinforce the backing better. Let’s go with the latter (and lazier, cheaper) option.
Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack
To correct and strengthen your BILLY, all you need is a few more nails (consider using double the nails as suggested in the original instructions) and some wood glue. Place the flimsy backing piece back on your bookcase as directed, but use more nails hammered more closely together. Before you start nailing, get your BILLY nice and square, and be sure you have plenty of appropriately sized nails along the top, into the middle permanent shelf, and along the bottom. Go nail crazy. You’ll notice that your BILLY will already be standing much sturdier.
If you’d like to take it to the next level, apply a thin line of wood glue preferably to the edges of the furniture that will be covered by the backing before you start nailing. Or, if you already went nail-crazy, you can try applying a thin bead along the inside seams of your BILLY where the back piece and the sides connect as if you were caulking it (smooth out the glue and get it right into the crevices with a flat tool or even your finger. It all pretty much does the job). Let the bookcase sit for half a day to allow drying before adding your shelves.
Gorilla Glue has a little how-to on their own strategy in the video here. Spoiler Alert – they recommend a couple Gorilla Glue products to do it!
And voila! No more swaying bookcases! You and your BILLY can finally stand tall once again.