flat_file_storage2

Flat File Storage: Ikea Hack

Posted on June 23rd, 2013 in Decorating

I’ve wanted flat file storage for so long. When you hoard paper like I do, and you’ve got large pieces of art paper, you want a place to put them. I looked into buying flat file cabinets like the ones that architects use for blueprints, and they are super expensive. Plus, they’re heavy and humongous. I then looked at cabinets for construction and poster paper that are used for schools, and they were also expensive. They make large stackable trays for paper, and I thought I could do that, until I found out each tray was around $100. Not able to find an inexpensive or used solution on Craigslist or eBay, I decided to make my own flat file storage with the help of some Ikea parts. I figured out I could buy table tops – the most lightweight and cheapest ones Ikea makes – and make a flat file shelving system out of it.

The table tops I bought were the Linnmon. They are about 24″ x 40″, which is a great size for papers up to 24″ x 36″. And the white tabletops are only $5.99 each. I got six of them.

Then I attached Ikea Capita legs to them. These legs are usually used for bathroom cabinets. The 4″ legs are $10 for 4. I needed six sets, one for each table top. For the bottom table (the one that would be the base), I actually used the 8″ legs, which are $14 for a set of 4, because I liked the look of it being higher. I also bought an extra set of them so I could attach 6 legs to the bottom, so there would be extra support.

flat_file1

After putting the Capita legs on each table top, I put some Liquid Nails on the bottom of each leg and stacked the tables on top of each other. Just a dab of Liquid Nails was enough.

flat_file2It was easy as that, and a lot cheaper than buying a traditional flat file cabinet. I also love that it’s at a comfortable height so I can work at this table standing up. Here’s the finished product. That thumping you hear is the sound of me giving myself a pat on the back. flat_file_storage1


Share

44 Comments

  1. Tiffany Johnson says:

    This is incredible! You never cease to amaze me!

  2. Ada (new york) says:

    No cutting involved … is just MY KIND of creation! Great idea, great built.

  3. Webster says:

    I cannot wait to try this idea! We just moved and I finally get to pull all my art supplies out of the closet and into my own studio (still in design phase). And no more of my husband complaining “They are everywhere and WHAT are you going to do with this foam?” I should be fair in admitting I often used mixed media (whatever I could find) in my earlier life. I just found a 40×60 antique library desk c.1939 as a work space as well. And now I have a new fun person to follow. Thank you so much for posting this clever idea. (And I LOVE Xanadu…skating, Olivia AND Gene, crazy colors and Greek mythology…need I say more?)

    • admin says:

      Oh, I’m jealous of that antique library desk. How cool is that. Thanks for your note, my Xanadu muse.

  4. Pam P says:

    Oh, my!!! You are FREAKIN’ BRILLIANT!!… I will be checking out all of your past posts and ideas! (I ended up here, after finding the decoupaged chairs on a craft site… Glad I did!)

  5. alex says:

    just did this and i love it!!! great idea and witty article : )

  6. Ann D. says:

    Brilliant idea; thank you so much for sharing. :0)

  7. GuinR says:

    Even I should be able to do this. I can definitely use this in my crafting area.

  8. Danielle says:

    Genius!!

  9. Amanda says:

    You are every artist’s hero! Thank you!

  10. Jodi says:

    Yes! I’ve been searching for an alternative to buying an expensive flat file :) Did you use Liquid Nails for both sides of the legs, or did you actually screw the legs in then just glue the bottoms to the next level?

  11. Joanne Grant says:

    Absolutely Brilliant!!!
    I am an artist, who probably like most artists have way too much stuff!! Paper included!! Somehow, not sure how I got here, (Mrs. Karma must be smiling on me or something) I found this post. Yeahhhh!! Lucky me!
    I could not make this fast enough. Headed to Ikea for the supplies and put it all together. So easy. I didn’t glue them together though, for me anyway, I wanted to be able to easily rearrange them, and they are really stable just stacking them.
    I put everything in the file, and realized how much I loved this in my studio, so I headed to Ikea and got more supplies to make another one!!
    I hope you don’t mind, I shared my results on my blog, and linked back to your post for the directions on how it is done.
    Thanks for sharing your brilliance!
    Joanne
    JoanneGrantArt.com

    • admin says:

      Joanne, you made my day! Wow, they look so good in your studio. Thank you for telling me about making them. And you’re right, they’re stable just being stacked, too. Thanks a bunch!

  12. David J. says:

    Thanks SO much for sharing this information. I too need a storage solution and don’t have 700, 800 or 1500 bucks to spend on a flat file drawer system!

    Thanks for making a difference…

    David J.

    • admin says:

      David, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note. I’m glad you found this idea useful too. Couldn’t believe how expensive flat files were. Happy to help the fellow artists of the world! Jonathan

  13. Gaby says:

    Hi!!! what a great idea!!! I need to use some of the Linnmon tables for a exterior project, would you think they will be fine in an exterior ambient? Since I live in another country I need to purchase trough the internet and I need someaone to tell me if this tables can resist rain, etc if they are outside, what do you think?… Thanks you!! Really love your blog!

    • admin says:

      I don’t think the Linnmon tables will hold up outside. However, Ikea does have solid wood tabletops that would handle rain if sealed properly. Or perhaps you could buy slabs of wood from a local lumber yard or hardware store and just use the Ikea legs. Thanks for writing!

  14. ellen says:

    Finally was near an IKEA to purchase the components… putting it together now. I’ve tried everything to store our flat items… this is a great solution. And do we have paper….art teacher for 32 years, mom to an architect and graphic designer. thanks!

  15. Megan says:

    I am amazed at this solution! I am a printmaking student at my university, so I use the flatfiles there to store my work. Problem is, Im graduating in less than a month- and have been trying to find an affordable solution for my home studio! This is perfect for a 21 year-old’s budget! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this solution!

    • admin says:

      I’m glad you can use this idea! I know this really helped me out. IKEA also has a few different sizes of the table tops to suit your needs. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  16. femmenoir says:

    EXCELLENT IDEA !!!
    Flat file storage is so expensive, and I’ve been looking for affordable alternatives. This is one of the best I’ve seen.

  17. Louis Sanchez says:

    I am thinking that using a 78″ linnom table and 4 or 5 of them stacked might just make a really cool entertainment center to house all of my dvd players, wii, receivers, etc… could go right under my painted on wall 120″ screen.

  18. Carm Fogt says:

    Thanks so much for this idea. My husband and I built our version of this yesterday and I just love it! We used 6 inch legs for the two lowest shelves and then built a table to cover the entire unit. I’d put a picture here if I could. If you’d like to see the way we did it I’m on Facebook.
    Carm Fogt.
    Just troll through my photos or posts from yesterday (4/15/14)

    • admin says:

      I love your version of it. Such a great idea to build a table to cover the entire unit. Isn’t it fun to use? Thank you so much for letting me know about this! Best wishes, Jonathan

  19. Ruth says:

    This IKEA hack is exactly what I want. Please could you tell me where I can get it one in England.

    Thanks Ruth Davies

  20. Sherry Telle says:

    This is a wonderful solution to my problem! I am very excited to try this!

  21. Sanya says:

    Had to pay a bit of a premium for the supplies since I’m in Canada, but I am now the happy owner of my own ikea diy flat file– thanks Jonathan!

  22. Teri says:

    I am in love with this masterpiece!!! I’m an architecture student and I need a place for all my supplies, construction documents and school projects. I can’t wait to make one for my office

  23. Megan says:

    I think you’ve found a great project for designers and architects! quick questions…since the pre-drilled holes on the table top are for a different leg and therfore don’t line up with the new holes, did you drill holes for the capita leg? If so, what size drill bit did you use?

    • admin says:

      Yes, I drilled new holes, but I don’t remember what size drill bit I used. I think I just eyeballed the screw and picked a drill bit that was slightly smaller. Thanks!

  24. Anna says:

    I’m teary eyed in my heart! I’m a poor art school teacher and this is JUST what I needed!!! You’ve brought amazing joy to my life today! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Your email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>