This is an instructable of how to make an 3/4 scale, 1/2 depth Tardis Bookshelf. It is modeled after the 10th Doctors Tardis from the British BBC America and BBC show "Doctor Who". It was a graduation present for my sister and took my parents and me about one month and $550-$650 to build.

The main system lights up about 5 meters of LED light strips and powers a speaker which plays audio. There are lights in the "Police Public Call Box" sign, top light, inside the main box, and inside the small shelves built into the door. The overall size is about 6' tall and 1 3/4' deep.

Step 1: Parts List

Here's the list of parts I used:


2 - 2"x6"x 6'
2 - 2"x4"x 6'
2 - 3/4"x 4'x 8' Sheets of plywood (AB or AC (depends on the wood grain you want to see and how much money you have))
1 - 1/2"x 4'x 8' Sheet of plywood (AB or AC (depends on the wood grain you want to see and how much money you have))
8 - 1/2"x 3"x 6' Pieces of lumber (or something that can be made to that size of wood (eg. 1/2 Plywood))
1 lb box of 8x2" Screws
16 gallon wet/dry craftsman shopvac cage float (image later) this was an easy way to make the light on top since we had one laying around from an old shopvac.
Plastic Water Bottle
Acrylic sheets(got custom cut at a shop in Topeka KS)
Black spray paint(must be made for plastics)
BEHR Premium Plus Sapphire Lace Paint in Eggshell (1 Gallon)
Valspar Signature Golden Flame in Semi-Gloss (1 quart)
Clear Gloss Defthane Spray (for protection of PULL TO OPEN sign)
3" c/c Wire Pull (small handle)
Black Pull Handle
1/2" Lock
2 - Malamine edge ironon 3/4 x 8 White
1 - Malamine 3/4" Sheet 4'x 8'
1 - Door catch (metal hook type)
1 - Magnetic Door Catch
1 can of Spray adhesive
1 can of fixative
6 - Blum 95 Degree Thick Door Clip Top Frameless Inset Hinges
2 - Small hinges
1"x18 gauge Brad nails
A small Metal Bowl or some other rounded object to use as the top of the top light
1 Outlet Box and Outlet
16' Extension Cord (for Power)


2 - MicroSwitches with lever
6 - Terminal connectors (Large flat sockets(depends on switch size (used to hook up the switch without solder)))
A Arduino Uno
A ElecHouse MP3 Shield (Image Later)
A 1 GB SD Card
A 5 Meter roll of cutable LED Strip
2 Adapters (12V 120 - 300 Ma and an arduino compatible Power cord (look At Arduino website)
4 or more 1/2"x2 gauge brass screws (to hold the switches)
Two NPN Transistors (pn2222 or other small one that can handle more than or equal to 12V)
A small BreadBoard 300 or more points of connection or perforated board
20 ft. of telephone wire (stripped into four strands) or 80 ft. 22 gauge wire (approximately)
A pair of old or cheap computer speakers (check Update 1 for details)
A diode rated equal to or greater than 12V 1A. (check Update 2 for details)
A 1000 Ohm Resistor also rated at or greater than 12V 1A. (check Update 2 for details)

###[UPDATE 1 | POSTED 1.21.2016]###

There were no speakers listed in this list but due to some though, I need to include some Info on what you'll need for the audio output. (view step 5 for description of issue being resolved in this edit)

For the audio playback, a set of powered/amplified speakers is needed. Anything cheap like the AmazonBasics AC Powered Computer Speakers (A150), or something as cheep as these Harman Kardon Rev A00 Computer and Laptop Speakers will do. Just remove the speaker's insides and mount them to the holes you make in step 5.

###[UPDATE 2 | POSTED 1.21.2016]###

In the schematic, I also had a diode and a resistor. The diode needs to be able to withstand a minimum of 12V 1A.

The resistor as it states must be a 1000 Ohm or higher resistor that is rated either 12V 1A or higher..

Followed your wiring diagram, all works, sounds happen, lights go on..BUT after approx 5 seconds I lose the signal from pin #3 for the switching of the lights. reset door etc and again all seems well...but lights go out well before end of sounds.. disconnect circuit and monitor pin # 3 and 5v signal is present with sound. no sound..no 5v..ideas please
<p>It was probably due to too much of a current draw. Check out the new updates for more info on how to fix it. Also, sorry for taking so long to reply.</p>
Do you have the measurments or blueprints you made after you changed the scale. What size is the base. Seems real good instructions on the electronics. Kinda vague on the actual build.
<p>The blueprints are attached and the exact measurements of the scaled down one can be found by using sketchup with the measure tool.<br>Yes the actual build is quite vague for it is not perfectly designed but the main measurements came from the sketchup file.</p>
Somewhere, I have a CDR file that I drew up 1:1 (full size) when I find it again, I'll upload it as EPS or PDF
<p>how can I copy your files to my card, they wont let me copy, especially the isound.mp3? thanks!</p>
<p>To get the MP3 files, open them and right click above the control bar and select save as. Save them and then rename them to what they need to be. Afterwards copy and paste them to the SD card (make sure it is correctly formatted for the shield.</p><p>Sorry for the long wait for the reply.</p>
Hmm... What did you use for the base? None of the wood on the purchase list is thicker than 3/4&quot;.
<p>I made it from plywood and with 1/2&quot;x3&quot; lumber nailed in a figure 8 pattern with a plywood nailed on top.</p>
built one for my daughter for Christmas minus the electronics...i did put a functioning light on the top, however.
<p>Nice touch with the BAD WOLF</p>
<p>awesome! Would love to do this, roughly how much did this cost to make</p>
<p>$600 give or take.Sorry for taking so long to reply.</p>
<p>Having problems with sound. lights work off then on etc... but no music. the music plays on shield fine using play and next buttons, but when connected like schematic no go. please help. I checked wiring numuous times and it looks good. must be missing something..</p>
<p>Did you ever figure this out?</p><p>I'm having the exact same issue</p>
<p>View previous two comments. Sorry for taking so long to comment.</p>
<p>Please check my previous comment if you still need help. Sorry for not replying sooner.</p>
<p>Please check my previous comment if you still need help. Sorry for not replying sooner.</p>
<p>My son wants this for Christmas. I realize that it was posted 2 years ago, but the link to the Google Sketchup plans is dead. Are the plans still available somewhere?</p>
<p>I recently repaired the link but I'm sorry I didn't do so in time for you. I appologize.</p>
<p>The link to Sketchup isn't working. Can you please update it?</p>
<p>I finally noticed and got it done yesterday. There are also several other Updates that I recently posted. Sorry for the wait.</p>
<p>Can somebody help me out with the electronics side of this?</p><p>For some reason I have no problems with the lights switching on and off as they should, but I can't for the life of me get the music to play automatically. </p><p>It does however play if I push the play button on the board.</p>
<p>To the best of my knowledge, it may be one (or both) of two things. 1: The speakers draw so much power that the MP3 shield crashes or 2: The code that you are using has an error. I have only fiddled with it some but I'm pretty sure that the current draw from the speakers is to much for the mere 12V .5-1A power supply. The code is real finicky so i suggest that you use my code while modifying the audio file names as needed. Also: The audio file names must be correctly assigned to allow the sheild to play them.</p>
The MP3 Sheild I bought recently (4.1) came setup for a software serial instead of hadware. You can resolder two resistors on the back so it utilizes the hardware serial pins (0,1) or update the code to use the software pins (6,7). I just updated my code for thr software setup, seems like it was only adding a couple lines of code.
<p>I'm a big Doctor Who fan and I would LOVE to make this T.A.R.D.I.S book shelf but sadly I don't think I have enough money to buy all of the supplies .</p>
<p>Wow. Really nice job!</p>
Thanks for the inspiration. my son lives his T.A.R.D.I.S
Thanks guys! I've been trying to upgrade it some more so the light flashes but it's going to take some time till I can do that. If anyone has any questions on it, feel free to ask.
Where you ever able to figure out the flashing lights for this project?
<p>Nicely done Gear! Suggestion for your flashing top light; program a pulse width modulation loop to fade in and out a group of LEDs mounted in the top lens. Let me know if you need help with this.</p>
When is the Instructable to make it bigger on the inside?
<p>The Time Lords bestow this on you as soon as you graduate from the Academy...</p>
Such an Instructable has been already posted (in not so distant future). But there will be some patenting and copyright issues with Time Lords so unfortunately it had had to be removed only few days before it was even posted :-(
LOL! You win Instructables :-)
<p>Just sent you a message, am building one of these now and was wondering if you ever figured out the flashing lights.<br><br>This is awesome!</p>
Here is mine, it's not complete yet I just need to mount the beacon and handles
<p>Thank you for providing an excellent well written Instructable and also for the blueprint which allowed me to scale this down greatly and create something great for the birds in my back yard.</p>
<p>pretty expensive 2 sheets of 3/4&quot; plywook is like $60-$70 by itself!! pretty cool tho</p>
<p>Made one similar without lights and sound. I'm pretty satisfied! </p>
Dat Whovian Feels
Oh I will definitely be building this.
Great project! Nice looking
Just talked to my husband...our daughter is getting one for her graduation too.
I recognise those books ;)
That's one heck of a graduation gift. Love this..
Brilliant!!!! :-)
Great! Well done!
Amazing, well built and documented, your sister is very lucky
True craftsmanship of Time Lords.

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