IKEA Hemnes Shoe Cabinet Hack

Completed IKEA hemnes shoe cabinet hack

You won’t believe how many people ask me where I got this beautiful shoe cabinet from. Their jaw drops to the floor when I tell them it’s from IKEA. Well, it’s an IKEA hack that I DIY’ed. It’s such an easy project that I think anyone can tackle it.

One of IKEA’s key strengths is how functional their furniture is. They design their pieces to make the most of the available space. This is why I absolutely love their Hemnes shoe rack cabinet. It’s a great shoe storage solution for an entryway, saving it from looking like a footwear fiasco on the floor. However, it doesn’t have much style. Some people really like that white, clean, minimalist look for their home decor, but I knew I could turn it into a stunning custom piece of furniture. Now, watch me transform this boring unit into a stylish and trendy furniture piece with this easy IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet hack!

ikea hemnes shoe cabinet

This is not a hard project at all – it just has lots of little steps that I had to show you. You can definitely pull this off!

ikea hemnes shoe cabinet

What you’ll need for this IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet hack:

Power tools


  • Pole wrap (I used 2 of these)
  • edge banding
  • 3/4″ pin nails
  • P220 grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood conditioner
  • Wood stain. I used this color
  • Optional: yarn or string
  • plywood (a 4×4 sheet)
  • 12 small brackets and screws

If you love watching YouTube video tutorials, check this out

Step 1. Cover the drawer fronts with pole wrap

Measure all the drawer fronts. Then cut the pole wrap to fit on top of the drawer fronts.

How to cut pole wrap

Pole wrap comes in sheets. The ones I got were 8 feet long X 16″. For fun, I tired cutting this using my circular saw, table saw and mitre saw. the best way to cut pole wrap was with my mitre saw. Overall, that’s the tool I’d recommend for this task.

If you fold the sheet in half and cut along the line, it works really well. Use painters’ tape exactly where you’re going to make your cut to prevent splitting the wood. This simple technique makes for a much neater cut.

Cutting the pole wrap for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack
Notice how I folded the sheet in half, so then I can use my saw once and make several cuts at a time. So efficient!

If you have to cut off a few slats, is to use a utility knife. Cut into the middle of the groove and slide your knife down the line and there you have it.

Pole wrap is so easy to cut

Step 2. Sand the pole wrap

Once you’ve made the cut, you’ll also need to sand down any rough edges. Use p220 grit sandpaper to smooth the edges where you cut.

Sanding pole wrap for ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

Step 3. Add pole wrap to drawer fronts

Now to attach our beautiful pole wrap to the front of the drawer doors. Remove the hardware.

Using wood glue to attach pole wrap to ikea hemnes shoe cabinet

Start with wood glue. You don’t need a thick layer, but make sure to still cover the whole surface. Try not to go too close to the edge either, or the glue might ooze out of the side. If that happens, it’s not a big deal; just clean it up before it dries.

Next, use a pin nailer with ¾ inch pin nails. Nail the pole wrap in a few spots, just to make sure it stays put on the drawer surface.

I’m choosing a pin nailer here rather than a brad nailer, for example, because I really want to use small nails for this part. I don’t want to go through the drawer with longer nails nor do I want to leave any visible nail heads. It also leaves fewer splinters, it’s an easier tool to use, and it’s the fastest. A pin nailer is the best tool for this job.

ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack transforms plain drawer fronts with pole wrap
Looks nice so far!

Step 4. Cover cabinet front with pole wrap

Once you’re done with the drawers, do the same thing for the rest of the front facing part of the cabinet. Cover the remainder of the white pieces of the cabinet with the pole-wrap so it all looks like real wood.

These spaces are smaller so you just need to cut thin strips of pole wrap and stick them on with wood glue and pin nails.

Notice how I’m only doing the spaces between the drawers. Leave the vertical edges uncovered. We’re going to do that later.

Step 5. Create a semicircle template

Ok, here’s how we’re going to create that curved look for the side of the cabinet. First, you’ll need to cut a template for a semicircle.

I’m going to tell you about this neat little trick you can use to draw perfect circles. All you need is a piece of string, a pencil, and a piece of paper.

Take a piece of yarn and hold one end down firmly on the paper; this is the center of your circle. Then, attach the other end of the yarn to a pencil (or just hold it in your hand, tightly against the pencil). Keeping that yarn taught, trace around the center point of your circle. Basically, you’re just making a line, but because you’re holding down that yarn, your pencil will be guided around that point. And voilà! A circle!

Since we only need a half-circle, though, the spot where you hold down the yarn should be at the edge of the piece of paper.

Cutting a semicircle tempate for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

How to make your semicircle the right size

My pole wrap is only 16 inches long, so my semicircle can only be so big. The size of the circle you draw will be determined by the length of the piece of string. But how do we know how long it needs to be?

Math, baby. You remember in high school you wondered when you would use math? Now! For this IKEA Hack. I calculated this for you. The distance between where I’m holding down the yarn and where I’m holding it against my pencil should be a maximum 5″. Trace the semi circle. If you cut it out and it’s not the right size at first, it’s just paper so adjust and try again.

Step 6. Cut out semicircles

Once you’ve made a perfect semicircle, cut your shape out. Use this template to trace your shape onto a piece of wood.

Clamp down the piece of wood and use a jigsaw to cut 6 semicircles. You’ll need three for each side (top, middle, and bottom).

cutting out semicircles in wood for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

For more control in cutting out this curve, I suggest you use a fine toothed blade with your jigsaw.

cutting out semicircle shapes for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

Step 6. Attach semicircles to IKEA Hemnes cabinet

We’re going to attach the semicircles to the cabinet using small L brackets. To avoid splitting the wood on the cabinet, make some pilot holes first. This step is important, especially when working with furniture.

Use a level to make sure you’re installing these evenly. (I did not, and had to redo some steps. Learn from me, please.)

attaching semicircles to sides of the unit for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

Start with attaching the brackets to the semicircles first. Then, bring each piece to the cabinet and drill through the L brackets into the pilot holes. Attach these to the thicker raised part of the cabinet frame (as above)

Step 7. Hack with IKEA Hemnes with a wood top

My initial plan was to sand down the paint of the top piece and work from there. However, as soon as I started I realized that the IKEA Hemnes unit was not made of pine like I thought but rather MDF. Instead, I just made a whole new top out of plywood.

Finding out that this is MDF… not pine as I thought!

Since I want the top of the cabinet to match the rest of the newly shaped furniture piece, I cut the wood for this part into curved ends. I used the semi-circle template to cut this out. I made the width of the top just a little wider than the Hemnes cabinet base.

Use a jigsaw here to cut rounded sides to the top of the cabinet.

cutting out the top piece for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

You can see that the edges need to be sanded. Smooth out this roughness with p220 grit again. This time I used my power sander

I used plywood for this top piece. Though it has ugly sides, I just used edge banding and ironed it on. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and looks great. Edge banding makes the ugly edge look like real wood. Plus it’s stainable

sanding down the rough edges of the top pieces for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

Step 8. Attach the top of the cabinet

IKEA furniture sometimes attaches pieces together with wooden dowels, but we don’t need these so you can remove them. I couldn’t pull them out – they were really tightly wedged in – so I used my multitool to cut them off.

Like we did with the pole wrap, attach the top to the cabinet with wood glue, first. You can slide it around a bit to make sure it’s centered, and then use 1¼ inch nails to secure it in place with a brad nailer.

Step 9. Attach the pole wrap to the sides

Use a pin nailer to attach the pole wrap to the sides. Nail your pins into the half moon pieces we added to the cabinet. This way, the semicircles will support the pole wrap as you fold the pieces around the sides of the cabinet. This is so exciting! You get to see it come together!

Step 10. Condition and stain the pole wrap

Before you even think about staining, please please please use wood conditioning. Do not skip this step. Conditioning the wood prevents the stain from going on blotchy. It helps the stain go on smoothly and evenly, and helps the wood absorb the stain.

You’ve worked so hard and gotten this far. Don’t sabotage yourself by skipping this step.

choosing the stain for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack pole wrap

I wasn’t sure which stain I preferred, so I got a few to try out: Special Walnut, Dark Walnut, Weathered Oak, and Provincial.

staining the pole wrap for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

I tested these stains on scrap pole wrap pieces I had lying around and found that my favourite was dark Walnut.This shade is not too dark, not too yellowish, and carries the perfect undertones for the space.

Stain all the pole wrap covering the cabinet.
staining the pole wrap for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

I also used this stain (and wood conditioning) on the top of the cabinet, including the edge banding.

I love how it’s coming together!

Step 11. Add the finishing touches to the IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet

Cover up the legs

For the legs, I just wrapped them with wood grain contact paper, which goes on like a sticker.

covering the legs with wood grain contact paper for the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack

It actually matches the walnut stain pretty nicely.

Also they’re very small legs so you can’t tell even if it was a little off.

Add the drawer handles

I chose some modern matte black handles for the drawers. I measured to make sure it was centered, used a drill to make pilot holes, and then attached the handles.

Cover any visible white spots with contact paper

After all that, you could still see white gaps on the top of cabinet drawers so I added contact paper there too to cover the white bits. If I were to do this again, I would probably have purchased the black/brown option of the Hemnes shoe cabinet instead of white.

putting on the finishing touches

The Reveal of my IKEA HEMNES Shoe cabinet!

Are you ready for the result of my IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet hack? I can’t get over how great it turned out. Here she is:

The result of the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack
Look how pretty!

I’m so happy I was able to achieve this stylish and trendy look with my IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet hack. It still has that great IKEA functionality and now it looks amazing!

It came out exactly like I envisioned.

Still works!

Overall, I spent $200 on this IKEA hack, which makes this a great budget friendly project.

The result of the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack - open drawer
This is such a clever IKEA shoe storage solution.

The pole wrap worked really well. It looks like a solid wood furniture piece!

The result of the ikea hemnes shoe cabinet hack - from the front
Can you even believe this is IKEA furniture?
It looks so good!

Do you think you’ll try something like this for your home? If you do, be sure to share it with me – I’d love to see! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more budget projects!

Make sure to pin these images for later!

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