How to Create Interlocking Shelves

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You can create interlocking shelves for you bathroom or bedroom with three or more tiers that can hold towels, candles or your favorite knickknacks. You will need to choose the number of tiers you want for your wall unit and decide on the sizes for the interlocking shelves. You'll find that this interlocking wall unit is simple and fun to make, using hand tools including a saw, a hammer and a chisel.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pine boards, 2 inches by 3-inches by 45 inches
  • 3 pine boards, 1 inch by 12 inches by 30 inches
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch countersink drill bit
  • Hammer
  • 1/2-inch chisel
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Carpenter’s rule
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wood glue
  • 6 wood buttons
  • 12 2-inch No. 6 screws
  • Level
  • Paint (optional)
  • Use the drill and bit to drill pilot holes in the center of one of the 2 inch by 3-inch by 45-inch pine boards, 13 inches from the end of the board. Drill another pilot hole 24 7/8 inches from the end you of the board you started from. Drill a third pilot hole 36 1/2 inches from the end you of the board you started from. These holes are for screws for the three shelves. Repeat this procedure for the other 2 inch by 3-inch by 45-inch pine board.

  • Use your carpenter's square to mark parallel notches 1/2-inch deep by 3/4-inch wide on both sides of each of the holes you drilled in the first pine board. Repeat this procedure for the second pine board; these will be the support boards for the shelves. Mark a 1 3/8-inch deep and 1 9/16-inch wide notch 7 1/2 inches from each end of a 1-inch by 12-inch by 30-inch pine board. Repeat this procedure on the other two boards; these will be the shelves.

  • Notch the two support boards 1/2 inch deep, staying inside the pencil marks. Place your 1/2-inch chisel onto the wood inside the notch cuts and gently hit it with the hammer to remove a few small chips of wood at a time until each notch is carved out. Repeat this procedure for all the notches in both support boards.

  • Notch the shelves 1 3/8 inch deep, staying inside the pencil marks. Place your 1/2-inch chisel onto the wood inside the notch cuts and gently hit it with the hammer to remove a few small chips of wood at a time until each notch is carved out. Repeat this procedure for all the notches in all three shelves. Gently smooth the edges of each notch with sandpaper.

  • Use the drill and bit to drill pilot holes in the center of one of the support boards 2 inches from the top of the board. Drill a pilot hole 17 11/16 inches from the first hole. Drill a pilot hole 2 inches from the bottom of the support board. Repeat this procedure for the second support board. These holes are to attach the support boards to the wall studs.

  • On a table, apply wood glue into the notches of the shelves and interlock them into the notches of the support boards. Gently tap the shelves into place with the rubber mallet if necessary and let the glue dry. Screw a 2-inch No. 6 screw through each support board hole into the back of each shelf to keep the structure from moving. Place a drop of glue onto each wood button and insert the buttons into the support board holes to hide the screws.

  • Stain the shelves with a paintbrush and wood stain and let dry, 12 hours for water-based stain, 24 hours for oil-based stain. Use your stud finder to find and mark the studs in the wall. Use your tape measure to align the holes in the support boards to the studs they have to be screwed into. Screw the No. 6 screws through the support boards of the shelves and into the wall studs, checking the alignment with your level.

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  • Photo Credit Towel image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com
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