Shelves From Old Futon





Introduction: Shelves From Old Futon

Turn an old futon into some sweet new shelves. Concept by Gabe Nathanson. He's the original "suspension invention" inventor. This particular design/implementation by me.

Ingredient list:
  • Turnbuckels - 1 per threaded rod
  • Threaded Rod - i used 1/4in
  • 1 old futon - or other shelf like wood
  • box of washers
  • box of nuts (both should fit the threaded rod)

  • drill
  • dremmel - optional

Took me about 8 hours from start to finish. Cost me about $40.

Step 1: Design Shelves

Design your shelves to fit your room -
these are totally adjustable, so you could do anything

Step 2: Deconstruction & Cutting

  • take apart old futon
  • cut wood into your desired shelf lengths

Step 3: Finding Studs & Drilling Holes

  • find studs in ceiling using stud finder
  • drill small holes where you want your rod to hang.
(they must match the holes you are going to drill in the shelves)

Step 4: More Drilling

  • drill 4 holes in each piece (2 on each end)-
big enough for your threaded rod to pass through

you want to make sure your wood holes match up with the holes in the ceiling

Step 5: Screwing & Hanging

  • screw the closed loop end of the turnbuckle into the holes
  • screw threaded rod into the other end of the turnbuckle
  • hang threaded rod as in pictures

Step 6: Nearly Done

  • insert wood shelves onto threaded rod - in whatever configuration you wish.
  • after each piece of wood is on, add a washer and a nut.
  • i used a ladder to keep the wood shelf held up while i ran the nuts up to the desired position. also used tape to tape the washers to the shelf so that they didn't get in the way
  • (optional) - to save a lot of time running the nuts up the rod, use something like a dremmel with buffing attachment to turn the nuts so that they spin up the rod.



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    Nice project. I was just about to do something like this but thought I'd do a little research first. How did you decide what kind of threaded rod (diameter, material, finish) to use? Can you recommend any good resources that can suggest these things based on the weight the rods will need to support?

      This is a great idea. I have an old futon frame in the garage that's really nice and I need shelves BAD. I won't follow these exact steps as it's not exactly what I want, but I will use the futon! Thanks for the idea. :)

    Does the shelf connect to the floor at all? If not, does this make the shelf unstable and would it swing around in case of an earthquake or if someone bumps into it? Sorry, I may unclear about the design.

    1 reply

    oh, good question! no, it is not connected to the floor, and, yes, it does swing a bit. i'm not sure what would happen in a big earthquake - but it doesn't come off when bumped. i actually have secured the middle thread to the wall with part of a turnbuckle to reduce swing (i should have noted that and will do so as soon as i get a chance to take and upload a picture). however, i have seen some of gabe's other designs and i don't think he usually secures them. for stuff like CD shelves and light items, it doesn't seem to be a worry. but for these big ones, i wanted a little more stability. actually, i wanted to figure out a better way to secure the top turnbuckles a bit more, to protect against a big earthquake - but haven't thought of a nice clean way to do it. if anyone has any ideas, please post!

    hey, thanks whomever broke it into steps!

    i was going to mention the steps...but instead i will just point out that after reading this, my heart leapt at the idea that i have an old futon lying around.

    2 replies

    ok, i know, i know. bad documentation. i was so inspired by that microcontroller post that i felt compelled to give something back - but i'm super pressed for time, and i'm a instructables newbie, so couldn't figure out the whole system. if someone wants to login as me and make this nice, please be welcome. login is: gorillapoop, hello -ben

    You left your login - I MsKs edited the layout of this instructable

    Yeah, it's all about the break up. Jennifer Anniston.

    A few comments on hole drilling. Just trying to be helpful. -Making patterns can make your world a whoel lot easier. Make a pattern for hole drilling for each corner, so you know you're properly spaced from the ends and edges. -When I first read "drill holes to match the holes in the shelves" I thought you were talking about hole size. Again, pattern making can save you a world of trouble. Studs are normally 16" from center to center. If you make a pattern out of a piece of cardboard, you can lay out the holes in your ceiling, and in your boards, at the same time. -The nut idea is a great one. Another thing to consider if you're going to have heavy objects on your shelves would be to use fender washers on top of the nuts, to spread out the load. -If you don't have a dremel, to spin the nuts on, you can lay out your threaded rods, and mark roughly where you want the nuts with a magic marker, and spin the rod with the drill, holding the nut with your hand. Spin to rough location, and fine tune with a level when the shelves are up. A note for those of you looking for more steps, or documentation. Simple instructions are pretty easy to put together. Most projects I take on, I break the steps down roughly like this: -Layout. Measure your materials and such, make your patterns, and lay out every step. -Make your cuts. Cut the boards to length. Drill your holes. Cut the rods to length. Etc. -Assemble. Sub-assemblies for this project are the actual shelves (rods, shelves, nuts and washers, next shelf, nut and washer..) the screw eyes in the ceiling, and then install the turnbuckles. -Fine-tune and finish. Get all the pieces to their precise location, and then if you feel the need to paint/varnish the shelves, do that. Spackling compound into any misplaced holes in the ceiling. When I'm drilling through drywall, I usually have a few small extra holes, because I make small test drillings to make sure I'm actually drilling into wood. Mounting turnbuckles into just drywall would be catastrophic. Anyway... this is a sweet idea. Bravo.

    It might be easier to follow if you split it up into seperate steps with the pictures next to the related instructions. That being said... This is a great idea for recycling what might otherwise be landfill into something new and useful. The final product looks great.

    1 reply

    I agree... Without steps, this might as well have been a post in the forums.

    Yes, I agree with them. Very nice... but it could be better if it were broken up into a couple of steps.

    Hooray for re-use :P But this could be documented better ;)