Having seen a bunch of examples of these that other people on the internet had made (that although awesome, were waaaaaay too expensive) I had a crack at my own take on the idea.
I made some prototypes a couple of years ago, but the colours didn't pop as much as I'd hoped, and I've got more tools now.
Here's how I made mine....
Stuff I used:
- Table saw
- Steel rule
- Router + dovetail bit
- Dovetail Jig
- Wood glue
- 12mm MDF - 8ft x 4ft sheet
- 3mm MDF - 6ft x 2ft sheet
- PPE - dust mask / googles / ear defenders
Step 1: Design
I decided each square would be 160mm2, and be 150mm deep (good for CD's).
*UPDATE* After making a few more sets of these for other people the ideal unit size is 224mm, as this fits DVD's n' stuff */UPDATE*
I took to AutoCAD and drew up some plans.
I chose to use 12mm MDF, and they'd be backed with 3mm MDF. The joints would be dovetailed as they're nice and strong, and not that hard when you've got a router and a dovetail jig. (you can get away with rabbit joints though)
Once I was happy I wrote all the measurements down as a "shed reference sheet" and took to my little workshop.
Step 2: Cut MDF to size
I marked out the lengths allowing for a bit off each end, and ticked them off my reference sheet as I worked. It's a good idea to have a few extra lengths handy as the occasional cock up is pretty inevitable.
*UPDATE* If you haven't got a table saw don't do this with a jigsaw...Use a hand saw, a square, and a tonne of patience. You really do have to be spot on, and there's too much flex in a jigsaw blade */UPDATE*
They then got cut to length on the table saw using a template piece for each length to ensure they came out the same.
Take your time with this. If your pieces aren't spot on it'll have a knock on effect on the angles later.
Then with a couple of passes through the table saw I cut rebates for the back panel into each piece. Alternatively use a router with a rebating bit.
USE THE BLADE GUARD ON YOUR TABLE SAW!!! I only took mine off briefly to cut the rebate for the back panel.
Step 3: Cut joints
Then I set up the dovetail jig, testing and tweaking it with some offcuts until the joints are coming out just right. I chose to use 6mm dovetails.
*UPDATE* dovetails are a bit over the top, you can get away with just rebating each edge 6mm and doing a rabbit joint with some pins, glue, and plenty of clamps. */UPDATE*
Then a long day of cutting joints! Make sure you're fully covered in your PPE, as this stage is very dusty...and MDF dust is nasty stuff.
Step 4: Glue em together
For the more complicated shapes you'll want to do the gluing in a few phases. Maybe make a jig to help you along too.
You'll have a little bit of play in the joints before you put the back panels on, but it can't hurt to get em as accurate as possible now.
I scraped the glue on the inside joints off now, as sanding it off later would have been a nightmare.
Step 5: Back panels & filler
I measured the channels on each block and copied it onto some 3mm MDF using squares and suchlike. Get it as square and accurate as possible as the back panels will hold it in shape.
3mm MDF isn't the toughest material in the world so with a bit of persistence I got through it with a knife & a straight edge.
Then I glued them in place, wiping the glue off the inside
Once that was dry I rubbed in a good amount of filler, and it all got a good sanding (use a dust mask).
Step 6: Paint
Then I gave each block a couple of coats of primer, sanding with 240grit after each coat.
I went for the "Tetris worlds" colour scheme...as all the other versions have a magenta (pink!) block. I thought I'd give spray paint a chance as I found it hard to get a smooth finish with brushes on my first set.
Spray paint was virgin territory for me, so I checked out this instructable.
Basically....spray at about 6inches & perpendicular to the surface, wear a good quality mask, and it's better to do lots of thin coats instead of fewer thick coats.
Step 7: Finished!
And there we go!
The long piece came out more green than cyan, but other than that I'm really pleased with them, and added to my old set they're well on their way to making it to the ceiling!