Nov 27, 2011

Ikea Hack: Expedit cutting table

Let's continue to feed my Expedit addiction.

Up until now, my cutting table is a basic Sullivan folding hobby table.  It's perfectly functional, with a large surface (3ft by 5ft), which is very convenient for spreading your fabric and pattern pieces for cutting.  Way better than the floor, let me tell you.

The drawback of this little table is that there is no storage under the table top.  (Space is not an issue for me, so I usually keep the table fully open all the time).  I'd rather much have a slightly smaller surface, but with plenty of storage underneath.  So that's exactly what I made!

I now have a 3ft by 4ft cutting surface, with PLENTY of storage for fabrics, patterns, and sewing paraphernalia underneath it!

Here's how I made it:

  • Five 2-inch casters, 2 of which with brakes/locks.  Furniture feet are fine for stationary option
  • 5/8" plywood, cut to 31" x 46.5" and 36" x 48" (the lumber store cut 2 of 36x48, then I just cut one into 31x46.5 at home with a circular saw)
  • Three 2x2 Expedits
  • Wood stain and/or paint and/or lacquer for finishing the plywood 
  • Screws for attaching the casters to the plywood
  • Wood joiners for attaching the Expedits to each other
  • Small L-brackets for attaching the top to the Expedits
  • Optional: Super strong glue (Liquid Nails or construction adhesive) for attaching the Expedits to the plywood
  • Optional: 5 squares of scrap plywood for additional height at the each caster (I use roughly 4" x 4")
  1. Prep the plywood first, according to instructions because the drying time can be long.   I used stain + lacquer and it took 2-3 days total with drying time.  And I only did the parts that will be visible when assembled.
  2. Assemble the Expedits according to instructions.
  3. Attach the casters to the 31x46.5 plywood.  I used 5 casters: one at each corner and one in the middle.  My plywood bows a little, but the weight of the bookcases flattens it.  (OPTIONAL:  Glue/screw/nail the plywood squares at the caster locations.  This will raise the table by the thickness of the plywood (mine is 5/8").).  Now you have the base.
  4. Place the Expedits on to the base.  Two back-to-back, and one at the end.  Try to make everything fit as nicely as possible.  Mine didn't fit perfectly square (I blame it on Ikea engineering), but close enough that it doesn't bother me.  (OPTIONAL:  Glue down the Expedits to the base so they don't shift.  I skipped this part, because I thought they were heavy enough to resist shifting and I want to be able to disassemble the unit to get it of the room.  Just in case.  Otherwise, the only way out would be through the window, and that thing is heavy.)
  5. Use wood joiners to attach the Expedits to each other.  I used 6 total although more won't hurt.
  6. Attach the top plywood to the Expedits using L-brackets.  I used 6... 3 each at the long side.
And now... please excuse me while I start using my new cutting table and stuff the cubbies with reckless abandon


  1. Fantastic! I have been contemplating creating a cutting table. One like this will be perfect.

  2. I need this! Thank you for the fab idea.

  3. Nice! I love my cutting table (two large Cost-co tables pushed together long-wise, measuring 72" x 60". For wet or messy projects I took a sheet of melamine and taped extra to meet the 60" width. I found a giant cutting mat that covers the length and almost the width. But your storage underneath looks so beautiful and custom made. (I just have a funky short chest of drawers on one side, and bins on the other.)
    Tina in San Diego

  4. Found you on Ikea Hackers and was completely in awe of your project so had to click through. This cutting table looks great, and it's a bit of a dream of mine... right now I have to make do with the combination of an ironing board and my kitchen table for all cutting and sewing surface needs! Well done!

    Catherine @ The Spring (in Brisbane, Australia)

  5. Very unique idea. We are always adding little cabinetry pieces like this in our remodels. This is great inspiration. Cheers!

  6. Beautiful. nice idea to take the time to make the top so attractive.

  7. I'm not that into sewing, but I'm huge into decoupage and random crafting. A table like this would be just perfect! Thanks so much for the idea! I pinned this into my 'Gotta Try That!' board on pinterest. That 'ikeahackers' site has given me 3 MUST TRY ideas for my new house! ;)

  8. How is it holding up? Do you love it?

  9. Any idea about the total cost of the project?

  10. I'm not great with hardware! When I looked up L brackets I didn't quite see how they would attach? Can you explain?


  11. I want to make this but make the top a little bigger so you can hide stools under the overhang when not in use.

  12. Just found you through Ikea Hackers... I love love love this idea! We're going to make this to use as an island in our kitchen instead, complete with breakfast bar. Thank you!

  13. Just found this! Looks perfect for my new quilting space where I need a higher cutting space on wheels! I hope yours is working well for you!

  14. I really like it but how high is it and very clever to think up? If the height not right though I get a backache.

  15. I went to IKEA and searched for expedit shelves and apparently they've stopped making them. There are kallax shelf units. Could these be used?