Which brings me to today's project, time flew by since we built this & I didn't get to write up a proper tutorial. Until now! We've been working on the living room and needed a bookshelf to fit perfectly. So you know we had to build it:
Yep, that's a bookshelf. We wanted something with clean lines, something simple - the plan to go with simple was heavily influenced by the fact that simple = something we can actually build. I'd never built a bookshelf from scratch, and after looking at 3 million ideas I decided the best plan was to just jump in and see what happens. Don't you love when you've had just enough coffee to make really big, daring decisions like that? Luckily it worked out in our favor. Here was our before situation, our horrible horrible before :
paint the living room, we vowed they were NOT coming back.
If you want to make something similar, read ahead & here's what you'll need:
- Wood. We used four 2" x 12" x 8' pieces of wood from Home Depot, roughly $12 each. You may need more or less depending on your design.
- 2x2 - enough to make eight, 4-6" tall feet. Your call.
- A way to cut the wood, or get it cut.
- Nails - 1.5" without a head (scroll down if you need a photo)
- Wood Screws
- Wood Glue
- Sander & fine sanding pads
- Paint of your choice. We chose leftover grey from this room and did a color wash technique, sorta.
- Good music
- Stuff to put on the shelves. Books...
Step 1: Paint the living room. Green? Sure.
So we just said, let's make the shelf start above. Great! So we're adding feet.
First we measured our window, because we wanted it to be exactly the width. Then we cut our boards to that. For us, this was 6'4". Sand & do any clean up work on the pieces. These will be our 2 shelves. The bottom, the middle, and the top.
I painted my hammer orange in a temper tantrum one day, because I kept putting it down where I was working, and then losing it. So I grabbed spray paint, and painted the hammer. Now I never lose it. :)
We're off to a great start!
Then, with the feet in the air, line up where the supports will go and trace that spot onto the bottom of the shelf. Note, you can't put a shelf above a foot without tricky woodwork that I didn't want to do.
**The height of our supports: We determined these numbers by taking the total height desired, and subtracting the height of the feet + the thickness of our THREE shelves. The number leftover we divided unevenly, since we didnt want them exact. Our bottom supports are 17" tall, and our top ones are 12" tall.
Other note, this photo shows me putting them on the wrong shelf, imagine I was doing it on the one with feet to the left, because I did that after and didn't take a picture.
Once the shelf lines are traced, drill some thin pilot holes for your screws:
Then lay the bottom shelf on it's side. We used extra boards to create a flat surface, as we were working out back:
Now because I don't want ANY screws to show, we are ONLY using them underneath each shelf.
Now we'll do the same process to build the second shelf, but we'll attach the two later. This saves a ton of time & is way less of a paint then trying to get your drill in-between two shelves. So here we go on the middle shelf, with the same technique.
Line your shelves up and trace on the bottom of the middle shelf, then drill your pilot holes...
Lay it on it's side, line the shelves up to the holes, and attach with screws.
See I think those are way more attractive than screws. If you're super clever, you could use a Nail Set to tap the nails in farther and fill with wood putty. I was too lazy for that, they look fine to me. We're covering it with books after all! We did 4-5 nails per support.
Take your last board, and pop it on top - repeat the nailing process, then bring it inside & try it on:
We were SO tempted to just leave it plain. I love it! I love the wood, the open sides... this came out surprisingly well. And it's STURDY too. I thought I was going to have to pop a few hidden L brackets here and there but it's fine.
Here's where you can paint. We decided to do a whitewash to keep the piece very light feeling, and realized we had no white paint on hand. So we used some grey, because a trip to the store sounded horrible & we'd lose all steam.
Heres the jist: We took half water & half paint, mixed it in a tupperware, and smeared it all over with a rag. Rocket science, I knooow. You can come back with a dry rag and remove the excess, but we liked how thick it was & just left it. Very, very simple. We did this while cooking dinner:
This kind of paint job dries really fast too, so we were able to set the shelf into place the same day we built it. If you want that added level of protection, here's where you can add a coat of Minwax Polycrylic, I'd suggest in Satin, to the shelf. We skipped it because it's only holding books and will rarely be used. Plus, we can always do it later....(yea right).
Get ready for picture-palooza! We put the shelf into place and started accessorizing.....
Some lighting, some plant life:
paper crane chandelier:
That rocker has been in Ralph's family for a long time, so no paint jobs for it. Since we both love color & texture, we are toying around with a few ways to jazz it up without harming it at all. More on that later! The fabric on the cushion isn't attached, we're just "trying it on".. what do you think of it?
So that's the tutorial! The shelf was easy and costs us under $50. It's perfect, fits exactly as we need, and hides that crazy outlet. We can still reach under there to plug things in too.
If you don't think you can do this, I think you should try - it's a lot easier than you think. One step at a time. Plus, you can alter this design for any need. Higher, wider, whatever. Just repeat the same process of attaching the supports from underneath first... and it's a simple stack & nail job after that. If you go too much taller I'd recommend some cross bracing, but those are easy to find at any hardware store.
Have a fantastic weekend, if you build your own bookshelf, SHOW ME!!! I love to see what you're up to.
For the pinners out there, so you don't have to scroll back up. See the good I do?