Billy Bookcase Instructions

Updated February 21, 2017

Available in a variety of heights, widths and colours, BILLY bookcases are sold by the Swedish retailer IKEA. Known for its eco-friendly manufacturing, good design and inexpensive products, IKEA has expanded to include stores around the world. The BILLY bookcase is its most versatile bookcase model, IKEA says. Gillis Lundgren designed the bookcase in 1979, and as of 2009, IKEA had sold 41 million. You'll need a screwdriver, hammer and clear floor space, preferably covered in carpet or a blanket to prevent scratching, to assemble your BILLY bookcase.

Unpack the BILLY bookcase from its flat packing box and inventory the pieces. For the 41-3/4-inch-high model, you should have two sides, one bottom shelf, one top shelf, two middle shelves, one toe kick, one cardboard back, 12 wood dowels (part No. 101351), eight fasteners (part No. 112996), eight disc-shaped receptors for the fasteners (part No. 113434), four nails (part No. 101201), eight shelf holders (part No. 101532), and one L-bracket with two washers and a screw.

Lay the two sides down on a flat surface with the holes facing up. Insert two fasteners in the centre holes at the top of each side. There are four holes altogether at the top; use the two in the centre. Insert the fasteners with the screw part going into the hole. Look at the bottom of each side piece. There is another row of four holes. Insert a fastener in the centre two holes on each side. You now have two fasteners in the top row of holes for each side, and two in the bottom row of holes. You have used all of your fasteners.

Identify the top and bottom shelves. Unlike the middle shelves, these shelves each have four holes in the bottom and two holes in each side. There is a front and a back to the top shelf. The back has a groove in it. The grooves in the sides will align with the grooves in the top shelf of the bookcase.

Lay one side down on your work surface with the fasteners facing up. Insert two wooden dowels in the side of the top shelf that has the groove in the same position as the side you have laid on the floor. Repeat this process for the bottom shelf. Insert two dowels in the side of the toe kick. The dowels in the top and bottom shelves will go into the holes next to the fasteners you inserted earlier. The dowels in the toe kick will go in the holes below the bottom row of holes on the side.

Butt the top and bottom shelves against the side so the side and the shelves are perpendicular, aligning the dowels and fasteners with the holes. Butt the toe kick against the side at the bottom.

Place a fastener receptor in each of the two remaining holes at the bottom of the top and bottom shelves. Place the receptors in the holes on the side of the shelf that is butted up against the side of the bookcase. There are two holes in each shelf. Twist the receptors in the holes with a screwdriver until they catch the fasteners. You will feel when this happens and will not be able to turn the receptors any further without difficulty. Do not overtighten.

Insert dowels in the other sides of the shelves as you did in Step 5. Lay this side on the end of the top and bottom shelves, which are now sticking up in the air, attached to the side that is lying on the work surface, aligning the dowels and fasteners in the holes. Install the fastener receptors as you did for the other side of the bookcase in Step 6.

Turn the bookcase over so that the front on the bookcase is on the floor. Do this very carefully---the sides and shelves are not stable yet. Insert the cardboard back into the grooves in the sides of the bookcase and slide it up until it fits into the groove in the top shelf. Hammer the four nails into the bottom of the cardboard backing, attaching it to the back of the bottom shelf.

Stand the bookcase up and place it in position. Mark the notch in the centre of the backing at the top on the wall. For the safest installation, position this notch so that there is a wall stud behind it. Remove the bookcase and screw the short arm of the L-bracket into the wall, using the washers. Make sure L-bracket is the right height so that it will fit through the notch in the back of the bookcase and come up against the bottom of the top shelf. Replace the bookcase and screw the long arm of the L-bracket into the bookcase.Place the eight shelf holders in the holes in the sides of the bookcase. Install the two adjustable shelves.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
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About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.