Scrap Wood Shelf DIY

DIY Scrap Wood Shelf

I’ve got problems.  Knick knack problems.

I can’t turn a do-dad down.  Take a look in my office and you’ll see that my edges and ledges are full of things like cool rocks, an old spring, some heart-shaped piece of petrified something… it doesn’t matter, I love the little things.

Which leads me to my little shelf project.

I purchased some lumber for a few bucks:

3  1×4″s  (eight feet long)

1  1×2″  (eight feet long)

1 sheet of thin plywood  (at least 24×28″)

The hardware store calls them 1×4″s, and 1×2″s, but they actually measure different.  That’s why my measurement of the 1×4’s read: 3.5″ instead of 4″, etc.  But don’t worry about that confusion.  I’m not fond of working with numbers when I don’t have to, so I’ll show you how I did it without using a tape measure.

To get a perfect square from these so-called 1×4″ boards, I began by first cutting a little piece off the end, and turning it a quarter turn.  Check out the pic below, it probably explains it better.

measuring a square shelf scrap wood

Turning it perpendicular will give you the width to measure with.

For this project, I used 3 different lengths.  Squares, rectangles (I call them doubles), and longer rectangles (triples).  I also have two oddball sizes in there, to offset the pattern of the background.  (More on that later.)

Here’s how I measured for the doubles:

measure a rectangle

And, triples:

measure without ruler

The shapes are glued and clamped down on the thin plywood, with the shelves just sitting in their slots as placeholders (not glued down yet).

I spend a crazy amount of time creating these next few images on Google Sketchup, so I’d hate myself if they didn’t make it into this post…


wood shelf plans

scrap wood shelf plans

Now here’s some real life photos.  I primed the 1×4’s before I cut them, just to make it easier.  (I only bothered with one side, that way I could flip them over if I totally messed up on a color when I was painting.)  With my crown moulding art piece, I learned a lesson the hard way:  figure out the pattern first, then add the color.

The adjusted length of those two oddball pieces make up for the space the shelves take upon the left side.  On the right side, the extra is at the top and it will be cut off by the table saw later.

layout shelf pattern

After figuring out the pattern, I painted some pieces.

Once dry, I flipped all the pieces over to number them in order.  (Learned about that with the art piece I mentioned earlier.)

number squares

Next came the gluing and clamping with heavy objects.  I left the shelf pieces in place, but didn’t glue them down.  That way, everything stayed square until the glue dried, and I didn’t have a problem putting the shelf pieces in later.

wood glue clamp heavy objects

It’s also important to make sure the wood backing in bigger than the overall pattern.  Each time the whole thing is rotated and run through the saw, the straight edge of the backing goes flush against the rip guide on the saw, giving you a nice, straight edge with each pass.

table saw cutting

My favorite part.

edging wood shelving

Next, I had to put the shelves into place and trim them.

cutting a shelf

To secure the shelves, I glued/nailed them with my RYOBI cordless nailer.  (From behind, through the backing.)

ryobi cordless nailer

(It helped to drill a little hole through the backing where the shelf would go, just so I’d have a mark to guide me when I used the nailer.)

I finished it off by nailing on a frame out of the 1×2.

And here it is, ready for some knick knacks and dust collectors.  😉

diy scrap wood shelf

View My Faux Brick Wall Art Tutorial

fake brick wall Art


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