Painting Guides by Codex

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Warhammer: Modifying IKEA's DETOLF to Store Your Amazing Models

Continuing on the hobby tools theme, I wanted to talk about how I store my miniatures in way that is presentable and easily accessible. I present to you the modified DETOLF black/brown glass door cabinet. Thanks for all of your comments on that post!

The Setup:

The DETOLF (linked) is a good looking cabinet. I have three that I put between other shelving units that I get from IKEA. It is affordable at $70, and can hold an 5,000 point army easily OR more with modifications.
Note how the original cabinet has only three shelves and the bottom to place models on. This does not make for efficient model storage unless you are only into Titans.

What I decided to do is add in extra shelves cut from acrylic. These are 1/4" thick acrylic sheets. I was able to get six of these shelves from one sheet sold at Lowe's. I did not have to cut these myself. The staff at Lowe's (reluctantly) cut these for me at the glass cutting station. Each sheet of acrylic cost me about $40-$50 I believe. I know this seems like a lot, but this is a long-term storage solution and I knew that I would have to put in the money for them. This is a one-shot purchase really.

These are the sheets after being cut. They have a film that will need to be removed when placed on the shelf.

This is the relative thickness of each shelf - 1/4". I will talk about the wire clips in a moment.

These are the wire rope clips that I used on the structure of the shelving unit. They were $.68 each. Here is the link of where I bought them.

What is great about these clips is that they can be easily attached and tightened with just your hands. No tools needed. I used a measuring tape to make sure they were all at an appropriate height above the given shelf, then tightened them. Adjustments are easily done.

The top of the shelves are great storage areas too. I use them to store the models that I want to keep out of reach of the kids and any other display pieces. I know you must be jealous of my Galaxy Quest badge I have. =)

Quick Notes

I recommend using the wall latch if you have young children in the house. Safety first. Also, the assembly of the glass cabinet is tricky with just one person - get help. It is very easy if you have that help. The only tools used is the L-shaped metal piece that magically assembles all IKEA furniture.

Also, if you buy these at IKEA - please note that they come in two boxes when picking these up. You are likely stressed out like I am after navigating the maze that they have created for you and just want to escape. Resist brothers and sisters and make sure that you get all the necessary boxes!

Other Modifications:

I have seen hobbyists use lighting within these, and these shelves are built with the option to add them. I did not need that with my setup.

To Conclude:

If you were looking for a storage and display option for your models, I hope this helps you. You put in so much hard work into your hobby. Show your pieces off!

How do you store and show off your toy soldiers? I would love to hear from you.


  1. Great idea! I'll have to give it a try one of these days.

    1. Thank you for your comment. If you ever do and need help, I can send you the links of whatever I purchased.

  2. That is a great idea. I have (2) of these cabinets and it would be great to have more shelves.

    In the past I purchased a pane of glass from ACE hardware when I busted a basement window. It was like $8 for a piece of glass that was 16" x 30". I'll figure out how much it would cost to have ACE cut 1/4" glass the size of the shelves. It may (or may not) be cheaper than the plexiglass sheet.

    1. Awesome. That is a lot cheaper than I paid for the acrylic. You get so much more out of these by adding the extra shelves.

  3. I had one of those a few years back but had switched to using their bookcases with glass doors. My current space lacks any display shelving so I may have to pick one of those up again and try this.

  4. What were the exact shelf dimensions you had them cut too? There are a few companies online that will precut the sheets for you and ship them to your house. Would be nice to know the dimensions :)

    1. 11.5"x15" Greg. Thank you for your question.

    2. Thanks so much! And thanks for the article!

  5. There is a British company on the "web selling site" that sells these acrylic shelves for about $4+ each (includes shelf and 4 brackets). Shipping is about $16+. So starting from scratch, 1 Ikea units will run you about $60. 4 extra shelves (and shipping) will cost you an extra $35. So for less than 100 dollars you will have a great looking display cabinet with a ton of display space. As an aside, you can get an LED rope light and run it inside the cabinet (zip-tied to the frame that holds the shelves) and give your minis great lighting.