Did you ever feel you need a better place to put your sports balls?
We did. Having three boys, 6, 9 and 15 means having a good amount of sports equipment. It was a constant battle trying to wrangle basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, and playground balls.
We tried a box on a shelf..
But it was a pain getting the balls out and putting the balls back.. so it was a FAIL.
We tried a mesh laundry bag...
It was hard to get the balls out, and the bag always ripped... so it was a FAIL.
So my wife said, we needed a shelf for the balls. It had to be easy to make, inexpensive, and unobtrusive. Oh, and it had to successfully store the balls.
And this is what I came up with.
All the wood I used was scrap, so this project cost me nothing more than a few hours of labor on a Saturday afternoon.
Remember, you can modify this design as you see fit.. make it bigger or smaller.. use different materials. Have fun with it!
1/2" thick boards. . You can use plywood, pine , mdf or whatever you have lying around. (I used MDF and plywood)
Nails or Screws , and Glue
Saws (jig, table, band or circular)
Step 1: Cut the Vertical Supports
The vertical supports will ultimately determine the height and depth of the ball bin shelf.
My personal requirements were that it had to be big enough to store a regulation sized basketball. A regulation basketball is has a 9.39" diameter. Just to play it safe and leave a little room, I made my support about 12" high and 12" deep.
The curve from top to bottom, was just a freehand curve. Nothing special or necessary. You can make yours 45 degrees (like a triangle) , 90degrees (like a big "L"), or square. I just thought the curve made it look 'fancy'.
The notches in the rear are for connecting the horizontal stringers to the vertical supports. A flat top allows a shelf to be added, this one is about 5" deep. The front lip is cut at an angle to allow for easy storage and retrieval, but prevents the balls from rolling out.
So, now you know the 'why's' on to the 'how's'.
Cut your wood (mdf, pine, or ply) into the rough shape of your supports. Stack three of them together, and temporarily nail or screw them together. By doing this, you only have to cut once and they will all be identical.
Draw you pattern on the top piece, and proceed to cut out with your hand saw, jig saw or band saw. After you cut out the notches for the horizontal supports on the back, make sure your 1X2 fits snugly.
When you are sure that everything looks good, separate three pieces, and then move on to Step 2!
Step 2: Cut Boards
Two for the back, one for the top, one for the bottom, and one for the front lip.
All horizontals will be the same length.. So now is a great time to determine wide of your ball bin shelf. I made mine just over 6' because thats how much room I had on my wall . For arguments sake, we'll just say the width will be 6' ( or approximately 2 meters for my Metric friends).
The two for the back are 1"x2"s. If you can get 1"x2"x6' then you have no cutting required.
However, the other three pieces will need to be cut. Again, the length will be 6', but the width of the boards will have to match up to the vertical supports you cut out in step 1.
As you can see below, my top shelf is just over 5" wide, bottom shelf is just about 12" wide, and the front lip is about 4".
Use your table saw or circular saw to cut these to the proper width. Make sure they are as square as possible.
That's it, now on to Step 3... Assembly!
Step 3: Assembly
Prior to assembly, you should take a little time to do some sanding. Depending on your desired finish, you can do a quick sanding to remove the rough edges, or you can do the complete cycle of rough, medium, fine, and extra fine sanding.
Mine was going to be abused by three boys for many years, so I left it 'natural' :-)
Once you have the desired finish, gather your fasteners. Nails or screws, and glue. For glue, I recommend a good wood glue, or gorilla glue.
(1) Start with the attaching the horizontal supports to the vertical supports.
Pick one support to be your end. Put a bead of glue in the notch, and then the board. Attach with nails or screws from back of board into supports. If you are going to use screws, I recommend drilling pilot holes first, and then using the screws. Repeat the process for the other end. Mark a spot approximately in the middle for the third support. Repeat assembly process.
(2) Attach top shelf to vertical supports. Put a bead of glue on the top of the vertical supports and then place the shelf on top. Make sure you line up the ends. Use your preferred fastening technique (nails or screws). Use a level to make sure your assembly in square.
(3) Repeat for the bottom shelf and front lip.
While it is drying, now would be a good time to find the studs in the wall where you will be installing..
Step 4: Install
However, before you install, lets get our tools ready. We will need a drill, drill bits, screws, driver bits, stud finder, and a level. A helper would be good too.
Start by determining a height. I took my middle son and had him hold his hand up and used that as a guide. You can make it as high or as low as you choose.
Once you have the height, find you need to find the studs in your wall. You can use an electronic stud finder, or the 'knock on the wall' method. If your wife is supervising and you are using the electronic stud finder, be sure to move the stud finder in front of yourself and say 'Honey, I found a stud for you!'.. Works every time, and never gets old.
But I digress.. Mark the studs location vertically with a pencil.
Now it's time for you and your helper to raise the shelf into place. Find where the stud intersects the horizontal support, and drill a pilot hole. Next, change to a driver bit, and drive in a screw.
Place your level on top, and do the same on the other side. Now place a few more screws into the studs.
Thats it. You're done!
Step 5: Use!
Get your kids to gather up their balls, and sports equipment and load up the bin.
We had a simple rule when we were done.. If it doesn't fit, we don't need it.
Also it makes it really easy to see when balls are missing..