Who doesn't love a good IKEA hack? I'm not sure if this DIY even qualifies as a hack because it's just that simple.
As a designer, I have samples up to my ears! Hardware, fabric swatches, wood samples, paint chips, knobs, tile, carpet, stone etc...most of these are small pieces that are impractical to store. Rewind to 2007, I was in my 3rd year of business and needed a lot of shallow drawers and I needed them at a bargain. Naturally, I went to Ikea. The Alex Drawer Unit was exactly what I was looking for to hide all of my tidbits so I brought 4 of them home. I could part with the $596 if it meant I was gaining a 105" span of glorious, much needed storage and surface area.
Assembly was a bit of a treat but I got through it...only to discover the first problem. The three seams on the top were mildly unsightly but worse than that, the cabinets began drifting apart from each other. (At that time they were in my basement office without a wall at each end to hold them in place.) To remedy this, I removed the drawers, and fastened an 1 1/4" screw into the four corners of the shared gables.
I decided to only fasten the two outer cabinets and leave the middle joint unfastened. This will allow me to assemble the two cabinets back to back, should I want to quickly change to an island configuration.
Next, I picked out some remnants of quartz for the top. I used Caesarstone Blizzard 2141. I wanted a durable surface that wouldn't be damaged by my heavy tile and stone samples. A less expensive option would be to use butcher block, or any of Ikea's countertop options.
By now things were looking pretty good in my opinion and I began the satisfying task of filling all the drawers. It didn't take me long to realize that I would need a label system. I'm embarrassed to say how many times I opened every. single. drawer. looking for a particular sample! Lee Valley came to the rescue with their Card Frames at $12/ea. I chose pewter (I was in my pewter phase) then spray painted them gold (during my gold phase) but currently they're matte black :)
I drilled 2 holes through the front of the 3 lower drawers, to receive the posts of the card frames, and used the screws provided to fasten them in. The last thing to do was to choose a font for the labels. I used CHALKDUSTER at size 24 bold + underlined, printed them off on linen card stock, cut them to size and slipped them into the frame.
This isn't a $25 DIY by any means, but I've been using this cabinet now for 12 years and it's still going strong. That's a win in my books!