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IKEA Hack: PAX doors as room dividers and closet hiders

Posted on March 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm
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Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a wall-another successful project 2

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet Finished


One of the great things about the IKEA PAX wardrobes, is the huge sliding doors.  Well, ok, the amazing flexibility of storage solutions to go in the PAX wardrobes is the best thing about them, but the doors are really great too, and a lot better priced than a comparably attractive glass and aluminum door.  So jfranci3 decided to adapt the PAX door’s hanging system to attach the doors to the front of an existing closet (above left) .  And hbrico took the lessons and techniques jfranci3 shared with us and built an entire room divider (above right). Check out the the details of how they did it after the jump!

Attaching PAX doors to an existing wall – franci3’s Closet

After weighing all the options jfranci3 opted to install PAX Lyngdal doors to recover some closet space.  Wood doors from local stores are cheaper, but often don’t fit stylistically and specialty doors that would fit the bill can run up to 4 times the price.  This project provides a stylish solution at a fraction of the cost for some sweat equity.  It would also be a great way to blend existing cabinets in with newly added wardrobes.

Here’s how these were built:


Project background: The previous owner of my condo had installed a cabinet/desk unit into the main closet of a loft-style condo. I needed to recover this closet space. The rest of the unit has bi-fold doors, which worked great but would be difficult to match the wood. The opening is 81″ high x 96″ wide.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet 1

Door selection: Conventional hardware stores only had basic doors. Their bifold door selection consisted of louvered and oak wood styles, which wouldn’t fit the style of my place. Their special order selection wasn’t much better. Modifying conventional doors would have required going section sliding or special ordering 48″ doors. Both options required special hardware. A search of the internet revealed expensive door options all in the $1000 – 2000 neighborhood. A stop into ikea revealed 2 options in the PAX lineup – The PAX Lyngdal (and similar doors) and a smaller set ( I forget the name…something weird and swedish). Both potions were front mount (as opposed to mounting to the ceiling of the unit) and could be purchased w /o the cabinet. The Lyngdal units come in a number of sizes and were large enough for my opening. The units were $500. I was in Ikea for about 3 hours measuring, pondering, and figuring before I made the go-ahead call. My condo has 93 different types of wood in it. I decided to stay away from the birch models and go for a metal/glass unit. For my 81x 96 inch opening, I bought a 93 x 98′ model, which will give me a little top overhang.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet 2

Installation
The first step is to mount the frame. The most (only) important piece is the top mount. It is designed to mount on the top front of a PAX unit. The top mount has a 1″ wide lip, which will need to be removed in order to mount the mount flush with the drywall. Time to break out hacksaw (or sheet metal break, cutoff wheel, etc). Plan to spend about 1-2 hours doing this.

(mount is upside down. Hacksaw is on the wall facing side)

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet 3

Don’t worry about the marks, you’ll never see them.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet 4

Once this lip is removed, I drilled 10 1/4″ holes (or the same size as your screw you want to mount the frame with) into the top mount for the bolts which will secure it. The bolts are required because we no longer have the top lip and pax frame to support the weight of the doors. They also position the mounts. Mechanical engineers won’t like the bolts holding the unit and positioning it, sorry. Once this is done, the unit is tacked up so we can test fit it, center it, level it, and ensure it is at the right height with a piece of the door frame with the wheel installed.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet tacked to wall

Tip: assemble one side of the door to test fit it.

Tip: Align the mount in the center opening with the joining of the mount sides rather than trying to figure out if you’re equi-distant from the closets sides on both ends. It will save you a big headache. Measure roughly opening width /2 on both ends, mark it, call the center of the opening 1/2 way between your two marks.

Tip: if you use toggle bolts. Mount the frame a 1/4″ higher than you plan on because the toggle bolts will require a larger hole than the bolt to push the toggle through. The bolt will sit on the bottom of that hole.

Now that the unit is tacked up, level, and at the correct height, you’ll note that the door stops have a bolt holding them on. This bolt is preventing the unit from sitting flush with the wall. Take a hammer and tap the door stops into the wall. This will mark their position in the drywall. Remove the mount and drill a 3/8″ hole where the marks are in the wall from the door stop bolts.

Re-mount the mount to the wall. Make sure it’s level. If it’s not, widen the door stop holes with the drill and realign the mount. Push the mount flush with the wall. Remove your tack nails 1 by 1 and drill a 1/4″ hole (or what ever you drilled above) through holes in the frame. Once the hole drilled, put screw in the hole to hold the frame. As you go, recheck that the mount is level and the door frame still fits right. Remove the frame.

Now widen the holes you drilled to accept the anchors. I used a toggle which required a 1/2″ bit. I only had a 3/8″ so I drilled those and widened them with the drill. Check the opening you make with one of your bolts.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet holes filled

Pre-insert the bolts and anchors into the frame.
Now mount the frame to the wall. Push the bolts through the wall and tighten. Then assemble a door, and fit it.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet initial mounting

Here are the finished doors. I just used a std sliding door bottom guide for 3/4″ doors which you can find at most hardware stores. I removed the outside prong so it wouldn’t show. Gravity holds the doors in.

The glass is more see thru in the photo than in person. It should be noted than there are some frosting defects in the glass which look like grease spots.

I had a few problems;
-In triming the sides, it wasn’t clean. I had to use wall filler to plug the gaps and paint a bit on the sides.
-The sides don’t provide 100% coverage on the side. I need to look at the ikea model to see what went wrong, but I think the either the pax unit side stick out or they’re just cheap like that.

BTW, don’t use a Dremel tool to cut the sides. Mine sucked then flaked out doing using the metal cutting wheel. Instead, get either a sawzaw or a mini grinder and a couple of cutoff wheels + clamps, gloves, and eyewear. Don’t cut too much too fast, as the heat will contort the metal.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a Closet Finished

Attaching PAX Doors to an existing wall – hbrico’s room divider

I mounted the ikea track on drywall via a 3.5″ wide strip of oak between the drywall and ikea track. I cut the ikea track via the instructions in this thread but used a dremel. Also used the dremel to modify the johnson hardware for the guides . I cut the long side of the guide down so they would fit into the pax frame. I plan on putting wood in between the tracks but haven’t finished that yet. Hope this helps someone along as this thread has helped me.

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a wall-another successful project 2

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a wall- room divider 1

Hanging IKEA Pax Doors on a wall- room divider 2

If you have trouble finding the bottom door track, hbrico says it’s just regular 1/2″ aluminum track. You should be able to find at lowes or home depot.

horatio74 contributed the next example seen below in contruction

And had the following to say:

I have just completed my second closet door instal. I will include more and better quality pics soon. Pictures are from my first door hack.

My walls were built in the 50’s. NO DRYWALL,NO STUDS in the place I live. Steel mesh,Steel bars,cement and plaster construction.

Basically I built and opening out of wood (2×4) and mounted the rail on the wood. I used the ikea bottom rail also.

I will include a more detailed process how I did it, with better quality and quantity of pictures. I have one more door to instal and I will post my process.

But if you can not wait.

Ikea already tells you how to mount just the doors on an existing closet. I got the how to, by looking at how they display various doors at the store. They mount the rail on a 1×3 piece of wood and put the rail on it. The do the same with the bottom rail I assume that ever store displays the different door that are available in one section. Go check it out at a store nearest to you.

More info coming soon

We’re looking forward to hearing what’s next and seeing even more great projects! Tell us about yours, and check out all the details and any new development on the thread in the forums.

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9 Responses to “IKEA Hack: PAX doors as room dividers and closet hiders”

  1. Wow, thanks for this idea. I’ve always liked the frosted glass doors on those cabinets, but haven’t really had room for the whole piece of furniture.

  2. misskitty_79 says:

    Is there a way to track other Ikea hacks? Perhaps a tag that could be applied to each post, so that they’re more easily searchable?

  3. Susan says:

    Oops! This one should have been in the category, IKEA Hacks with the tags for IKEA Hacks. Sometimes having multiple authors makes it challenging to keep everything straight! This is in the right categories and tagged appropriately – now to get the others in line! Thanks for the poke!

  4. Linda says:

    What an utterly brilliant hack. Looks fantastic. Wish I had the skills!

  5. lilia says:

    Is there any way to buy frosted glass doors on the wardorbe without buying the whole entire thing???

  6. Susan says:

    lilia – Yes, the PAX system is a component system, meaning it can all be purchased separately. You don’t need to buy the hinges, or inside parts or anything else – just be sure you make that clear when you’re ordering.

  7. Amy says:

    Would there be any way to ‘lock’ these doors, to keep kids out for safety reasons rather than security?

  8. Laura says:

    On September 6, 2010 at 1:43 PM Amy asks:
    “Would there be any way to ‘lock’ these doors, to keep kids out for safety reasons rather than security?”

    Looking at the Ikea doors, it intuitively seems that any of the standard ways you lock sliding glass doors might work. For example, a locking pin that requires a hole drilled through one of the door frames. I haven’t tried it, but since there weren’t any answers, I thought I’d throw this out there.

  9. Jon Francis says:

    No.!