Monday, October 13, 2014

DIY Hanging Bookshelf

I was decluttering the house, but I put that on hiatus for a couple weeks while I built several pieces of furniture to help with organizing things. This is one of the pieces I built.

Last Christmas I decided it was time to replace the drop cloth advent calendar I made a few years ago, and I lucked out by finding a cute advent calendar with buckets at PotteryBarnKids. I don't see it on the site now, but I was able to get it on sale.

I couldn't find a full picture of the advent calendar, but you can see the right edge of it, 
with the studs marked on the wall above so I could hang it

While cute, it is heavy and it had to be attached to the studs, but the hooks didn't line up with our studs. So I screwed a 2x3 into the studs and then put screws in the 2x3 for the advent calendar to hang from. It worked great, but after Christmas I didn't want to remove the board since I knew we'd need it again the next Christmas. And I didn't want to be screwing and unscrewing screws into the drywall.
a board with screws sticking out of it- so aesthetically pleasing!

After 6 months of thought, I finally decided to make a hanging bookshelf that can hang from the 2x3 11 months of the year. Come December I can remove it and hang the advent calendar.

I drew up an angled bookshelf plan, then decided to google around and see if I could find any other ideas.

This one was close, but it sits on the floor and it wasn't tall enough. This would be easy to fix, but still....

Then I saw this one. This is almost exactly what I was thinking, but without being angled from top to bottom.

I like the curved edges at the top, but I decided to add a lip to each shelf and lower the dowels a little. Since the bookshelf will be hanging over a chair rail I would also need to add a backing to make sure the books don't fall out the back.

After figuring out the measurements and shelf placement, I got to work.

2x3 @ 8'
1x2 @ 18'
1/2" dowels @ 9'
1/4" plywood I had sitting around from another project

I cut the 2x3 in half and curved the upper edges, then made four shelves out of the 1x2s.

I figured out the placement of the shelves and dowels.

The inspiration picture has the dowels attached to the front of the bookshelf, but we have a 1-year-old boy who would rip those off as soon as he discovered them. I wanted them to be a bit more sturdy so I countersunk them into the sides of the bookshelf. I marked the drill bit so I wouldn't drill too deeply, then drilled holes in the sides of both 1x3s for the dowels to go into. 

Then I put it all together. I glued and nailed the shelves and dowels in place on one side, then repeated on the other side.

Put together and waiting for the backing and some paint.
and yes, I still need to touch up the door around the new handle

Backing on. I made the backing lower than the sides because I didn't want it ending randomly. I figure the top edge will be covered by whatever books are on that shelf.

However, I hit a snag. Apparently I can't do math and/or measure properly.

See the problem? I'm really not sure how I managed to mess up the measurements this bad. I thought about just leaving it as-is and hanging the shelf high enough that it would rest on the window sill. But that would put it a little higher than I really wanted, and it would forever bug me.

So I re-measured and then broke out the circular saw. After chopping off 2 inches, I made a new side. I was going to re-use the old one, but decided it would be a huge hassle with the dowels being glued into the sides. Digging out the old dowels that are nailed in would be messy and not leave it looking nice. Easier to just cut a new one.

And now it fits!

I placed some board books on the lower shelves for River, and some chapter books on the upper shelves for Sunshine.

Useful, practical, looks nice, and it didn't cost much to make or take too long to put together. Definitely a win-win in my book!

 And here's a shot from the front hall, looking into the library:

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