Posted by Zaira at 5:04 PM
Almost a year ago a friend sent me a link to rain gutter book shelves and I loved them! They're great for kids because the cover faces out, making it easier for little ones to pick their book. It is also easier on little hands during clean up time.
What's not so great about them is that rain gutters are generally vinyl or metal so they either off gas toxic chemicals or they require special care to make sure nobody gets cut on them, both no go's for my house.
But I wanted some!
So we brainstormed and ended up building something similar out of wood and painted them with no VOC paint. All it took was a saw, drill, some 1x4s, a big sheet of beaded board and wooden dowels. And a lot of patience;
~ First we decided on the measurements for the bookshelf and cut the beaded board to size.
~ The edge and bottom of the shelf are 1x4s the length and width (minus 2") of the beaded board. Screwed those together to make a U shape.
~ We measured a couple of our taller books to help us decide how tall we wanted each shelf, cut 1x4s to the width of the board minus 2" and then screwed those to the frame. At this point we have the frame and all the shelves made.
~The vertical pieces in the middle of each shelf, we'll call them dividers, were added not only for visual interest but also to support the dowels, they help prevent bending. Measure the distance between each shelf and cut 1x4s to fit.
~We decided we wanted two dowels across each shelf and evenly spaced them across roughly the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the shelves. Drill 1/2 an inch into each outside frame piece and all the way through the shelve dividers using your determined spacing using a drill bit the same width/size as your dowels
~ Determining the length of the dowels is a little trickier and requires some trial and error but it is generally the width of the shelf minus about 2 3/4-3 inches.
~ Thread the dowels through the dividers, position the dowels in either end of the shelf and THEN screw (or use a nail gun) the dividers in from the bottom and top of each shelf. If you attach them first you won't be able to get the dowels in!
~ And you should be done! Make sure all pieces are secure and paint the frame and the board separately
~ When dry attach the frame to the beaded board using screws from the back of the board through the 1x4s
~ We attached our shelves to the walls using screws straight into studs. Because we're permanent and damaging like that!
We have built two different kinds, a smaller one that was in P's room and the big one pictured above that we just put up in the playroom. I love that I can put easier to rip books up out of reach of Mr. Destructo
Come to find out you can buy something comparable in size and style to the small shelf from Pottery Barn for $99.99. We bought all the material we needed for the two shelves, and another (or leftovers for other projects) for less than $100. Win!