Eight Simple Steps for DIY Shelving Solutions

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Eight Simple Steps for DIY Shelving Solutions

Staff Writer · Nov 30, 2009

If you are looking for simple shelving solutions, you have come to right place. Even if you’re not a do it yourself kind of person, you can still build a small but usable rectangular bookshelf by following a few simple steps. Following is quick list to get you started.

1. Supplies

First, gather your supplies. You will need a hammer, small nails, screws, wood glue, a tape measure, a small level and some pre-cut wood. A variety of screw drivers, both Phillips and standard should be readily available as well. You will also need some heavy duty hanging materials for your shelf. Drywall screws or picture hanging cable will work. Electrical tools can be used in place of hand tools, but always remember your safety gear, such as goggles.

Finally, you will need two pieces of wood for your shelf as well as two or three smaller pieces for the sides and optional middle. An optional centerpiece helps with the overall strength of the shelf. The longer your shelf, the more centerpieces you may want to consider. You will also need a thin piece of decorative plywood for the back of the shelf. 

2. Determine the Size of Your Shelves

Think of a rectangle. This will be the idea behind this hanging bookshelf. The depth should be determined by the depth of your books. The sides of the rectangle should be determined by the height you want the bottom shelf as well as the books you want to shelve. If you want multiple shelves, just add additional longer pieces to the puzzle. For example, if you are making a 4 x 2 rectangle, your plywood piece should be 4’6″ x 2’6″. This will give you a three-inch border around your shelf.

3. Type of Wood

The type of wood you get from your local lumberyard will determine the strength as well as the overall aesthetics of your shelf.

4. Select the Area for Your Shelf

Pick out the wall you want to hang or place your shelf. Make sure you have access to the area if you want to hang a smaller shelf for a few books.

5. Put It Together

Put your rectangular bookshelf together with screws or nails, but always glue the pieces together first. Screws will hold better as the glue sets.

6. Add Decorative Plywood Back

Once the glue sets, take the piece of decorative plywood for the back of the shelf and screw it onto the rectangle. Make sure the rectangle is centered on the plywood. Wood glue should also be used.

7. Stain or Paint Your Shelf

Stain or paint your shelf to your liking. You can also dress it up with decorative wood trimming pieces from your hardware store.

8. Hang Your Shelf

Drill right into the wall through the backing of the shelf using drywall screws, or hang the shelf as you would hang a heavy piece of artwork, by using drywall screws and picture hanging wire or cable.

With these few easy steps, you can create functional, simple bookshelves.

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