March 10, 2011

Custom Bookshelf

The bookshelf was the second piece of custom furniture for Callan’s room following the successful completion of the cubbyhole shelf. The inspiration for this bookshelf came from one we found at Ikea.
We were just about to buy it when I decided it cost too darn much for a cheap P.O.S. bookshelf. So there I was, in the middle of Ikea, trying to convince Shanna I could build it better, cheaper, and most importantly in time for Callan’s arrival. Shanna reluctantly agreed to allow me to attempt this project.
As you can see in the picture above, the Ikea bookshelf cost $200. The dimensions of the bookshelf were 60” tall, 40” wide, and 12” deep. We copied this size for our bookshelf… but for $80.
Material List:
1. 8x4 Sheet of 3/4” Birch Plywood A/A - $40 from Lowes
2. 8x4 Sheet of Bead board - $20 from Lowes
3. Birch Tape for edges - $8 from Lowes
4. Trim, Paint, Etc: $12 estimate
The Build:
The box was basically 12” strips of the plywood. If you were going to stain the shelf you would need two pieces of plywood to keep the grain going the same direction, but since we painted it did not matter for us. The construction is based on my dad’s favorite technique of notching grooves for the shelves. By doing this it increases the strength and stability of the shelf. The notches are 3/8” deep and ¾” wide. The picture below shows the box pieced together. The shelf is upside down in the picture… the open end is the top where we capped it instead of using a notch because we trimmed the top.

The next picture shows the box glued and nailed together. You can see how the top cap piece is full length. While the glue dried we nailed a stabilizer bar to keep the shelf square.
Next we trimmed and placed the bead board back on the shelf.
The next picture shows the detail of the top trim and bead board. We use the birch tape to cover the edges of the plywood.
With the unit built, it was time to paint.

Custom Cubbyhole Shelf

Shanna, during her extensive research of baby rooms, found a shelf that she wanted to place above the changing table. Knowing that we wouldn't be able to find one to buy (and knowing it would be way overpriced) I set out to build it for her.

Inspiration Piece:

The inspiration piece is actually much larger than what we built but ours was sized to be similar to our changing table. To determine the exact size of our shelf Shanna first found the baskets she wanted to use inside the cubbyholes.

The cubbyholes needed to be 8" wide x 8" tall x 6" deep , making the entire shelf about 27" wide. To build the shelf I used 3/4" MDF that we had leftover from a previous closet project. The only additional materials used was some trim molding and hooks we picked up at Home Depot for $15. The MDF would cost about $15 making the total cost about $40 including paint. Outside was painted with gloss white (same color as the trim in our house) with red lining the cubbyholes.

Tools used to complete this project were a circular saw, jig saw for the rounded cuts, brad nail gun, hand saw and guide for 45 degree cuts of trim, and a lot of wood glue. I thought about making a drawing of the shelf and each individual piece but decided my time was better spent explaining other projects. If you really want to know, just ask.

Unfinished Furniture

Check out Daddy's Corner for tips on how to build the bookshelf and the Cubby Hole Shelf.

Birdie Mobiles

Cute inspirations for a birdie mobile to hang above the crib.  Really love the natural twigs and branches. has many more cute handmade mobiles.