How to Do Particle Board Shelves


Making shelves out of particle board is a cost effective solution to your storage challenges. Particle board is comprised of sawdust and other wood-waste products mixed together. A resin is added to the mix and then the mixture is compressed into a board configuration. Later it is coated with a laminate making it stronger and somewhat stain and water resistant. Particle board is easily cut to size using a table saw or circular saw. It can be painted any color desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Particle board
  • Tape measure
  • Builder's square
  • Level
  • Eye protection
  • Saw
  • Paint
  • Pencil
  • Shelf brackets
  • Drill
  • Wall anchors and screws
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver

Building the Shelves

  • Measure the area where the shelving will be erected. Decide the best length and width of the shelves and how many shelves you'll need.

  • Purchase the particle board according to the desired width and length. If you want 4-foot long shelves it is more cost effective to purchase an 8-foot length of board, and cut it in half. Keep this in mind when purchasing the boards.

  • Using a tape measure and square, mark off the length you need on your piece of particle board. Draw a straight line on the board where you will cut it.

  • Suspend the board on saw horses or any other available support. Put on eye protection. Using a circular saw cut the board along the penciled line. Do this to any other pieces of board you have.

  • Apply paint to the shelves and allow them to dry.

Installing brackets

  • Position brackets 3 inches in from the end of where each shelf will rest. If the shelf is 6 feet or longer use three brackets. Use a level to correctly position the bracket. Then use a pencil to mark the screw holes on each bracket. Put the bracket aside.

  • Place a bit on the drill that is as wide as the widest end of your wall anchors. Drill holes in each place you have marked.

  • Insert the wall anchors. Lightly tap them with a hammer until they are flush with the wall.

  • Install each bracket by inserting screws into each hole in the bracket, and screwing them into the corresponding wall anchor. Make sure the screws are snug.

  • Place each particle board shelf upon the appropriate brackets. If desired, anchor the shelves by inserting one or two screws per bracket into the underside of the shelf.

Tips & Warnings

  • If painting is not desired consider covering your particle board shelves with contact paper.
  • You may also choose to buy pre-cut particle board to avoid cutting your own.
  • Never operate power equipment under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images tape measure image by Alison Bowden from saw horses image by Gareau Enterprises from yellow paint image by Jennifer Griner from drill image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from
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