My Daughter is getting through books like I get through rhubarb and custard sweets, trust my increasing waist line, that's fast.
So we wanted to make a shelf for above her bed but with a twist. She's also been wanting some pet fish for ages so I concocted the fiSHELF, a book shelf with a fish bowl incorporated into it.
The idea was that she could lay in bed and still be able to see the fishes doing their fishy thing, so I had the idea to sink the bowl into the shelf so that she could look up into it from below while laid on her bed.
Step 1: Making the Hole for the Bowl
I set the base plate on my jig saw to a 45 degree angle, which roughly followed the contour of the bowl and set to cutting out a taped hole for the bowl to sit in. It came out a bit like a pumpkin top! The top edge of the cut was 10 mm wide and the under side was 40 mm.
I then flipped the shelf over and marked out a circle 10 mm wider than the hole I had first cut. I put the jig saw base plate back to 90 degrees and cut the 10 mm circle out. Once this was done I had a the tricky job of using the jigsaw to do a free hand cut from the top edge to the bottom. I did this because I could see that it would just allow the bowl to drop down a few extra centimetres.
I used a drum sander attachment on my rotary tool to finish the cut off nice and smooth and to give the edges some shape.
Step 2: Finishing the Shelf and Painting
I was undecided about whether I should give the shelf a natural finish or painted. In the end I decided that a white gloss finish would go with any colour scheme we chose for the room in the future. I gave it a coat, rubbed it down lightly with the 240 grit and gave it a second coat.
Step 3: Making the Bookends
I decided to use this process to decorate the book ends with some of my daughters favourite book characters and a few children's author quotes.
I stared by drawing an A and Z onto a piece of 6" x 1/2" plank using a steel rule and a quick square to get them symmetrical and proportioned correctly then I added some little flourishes to the ends of the letters. When I was happy with the design I cut them out with the jigsaw and cleaned up the faces using an 80 grit belt on the belt sander.
I cleaned up the cuts and edges with a few files and sanded them and the face ready for the pictures to be transferred. I drew a template for the face of the letters, scanned it and then used that to drop the pictures and text (reversed) I wanted onto the template. I'm so efficient I scare myself sometimes.......
Some of the text rubbed off when I removed the paper, so I decided to go over it with a super fine permanent marker. I was really pleased with how it made the quote stand out so I went over them all. I smothered the wood and ink in danish oil when I was finished and started looking at how to fix them to the shelf.
Step 4: Fixing the Bookends
Step 5: Hanging the Shelf
Not too much to tell here I marked a horizontal line using a spirit level, fitted the brackets and then screwed the shelf to it.
Step 6: No Free Willies on My Watch....
I had an old cut off from a perspex sheet, I covered it in masking tape and marked out an appropriate sized circle and cut it out using the jigsaw. It was a little scratched up so I gave it a frosting using 150 and 240 grit sand paper.
It needed an inlet for the filters air feed which I also cut using the jigsaw. I popped on a little knob handle and then realise that it could slide off quite easily so I cut a few small rectangles of persepex out and super glued them on the underneath so that it was wedged in place.
I stood back and realised that it now resembled a lone boobie........
(Once the pump was fitted the lid was surprisingly good at sound proofing the bubble noise)
Step 7: A Fishy Ending
I had some clear sticky rubber dots which I placed around the bowl hole so that the glass wasn't pushing up against the wood. This left a small gap which I fed a set of copper string LEDs into as a nice light feature.
We went with mountain cloud minnows as Aqua man said they were a good beginner fish and quite hardy.
As you can see my daughter has a good view into the bottom of the bowl and really enjoys following the fish as they pass above and below the shelf! Next book for the shelf is an idiots guide to fish keeping.......
I hope you have enjoyed reading this instructable, if you have could you please vote for it in the Shelving contest.