Introduction: Tetris Shelves

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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
  • Squares
  • Knife
  • Router + dovetail bit
  • Dovetail Jig
  • Wood glue
  • Paint
  • 12mm MDF - 8ft x 4ft sheet
  • 3mm MDF - 6ft x 2ft sheet
  • PPE - dust mask / googles / ear defenders

Step 1: Design

When you think about it, each Tetris block can be broken down into four equal squares.

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 gathered up all the bits of 12mm MDF I had left over from other projects and cut it into 150mm strips with a table saw. I reckon you'd have enough to make a full set of 7 blocks from an 8ft x 4ft sheet.

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

I then labeled up which pieces were next to each other...it can get pretty confusing so it's good idea to mark, cut, and glue one block at a time.

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

I used "Resintite" wood glue. Just use plenty of clamps and keep checking everything's square.

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

Simply cut the back panels to fit each piece.

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

Before painting I gave each surface a wipe with damp cloth to get the dust off.

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!

Comments

author
crazedinventor (author)2016-04-05

Hi, this looks amazing, both my son and I are Tetris mad. I, however, have minimal DIY skills - is there anywhere that I could buy this/ could you make one for me?

author
epalacios05 (author)2015-09-19

What spray paint did you use? Where did you buy them?

author
KimberlyC1 (author)2015-05-19

Can I order this? I wished I have the skills in making something like this.

author
jaimee378065 (author)2015-04-13

Do you know what exact brands and colors of spray paint you used?

author
cdevildevil (author)2015-02-24

Putting a square block right on top of that hole at the top would really drive people crazy. I think I might do it :D

author
tomas75a (author)2015-02-23

What are dovetails?? Never heard about that. Cool project though! I like it:)

author
JohnnieT (author)2015-02-23

Really nice!!

author
kjsrocks (author)2015-02-22

Be sure to screw them together and screw them into the wall.

You wouldnt want it to fall over

author
Cotixtof (author)2015-02-22

Great! If all possible, where can I get the autocad files? Chris

author
Cairdy Crafts (author)2015-02-17

A very well documented, commented and photoed Instructable! The geek in me loves the way the Tetris pieces stack together, and the CDs storage part looks so good! I'd love to give something like this a go sometime, but until then, great job introducing, recording and explaining the steps!

author
starforest (author)2015-02-16

Wouldn't the shelves be some what unstable because they're just stacked on top of each other? If one shelf at the top had more weight on it then the ones at the bottom wouldn't it fall off?

author
dan3008 (author)2014-07-03

I want now :D... Just droped you an email requesting a quote. I dont really have the needed tools to do it myself lol

author
motherprune (author)2014-06-14

Breathtaking...!!

author
cobbledbeard (author)2014-06-13

Its exceptional

author
mousepaper (author)2014-06-12

Its exceptional

author
mousepaper (author)2014-06-12

Its exceptional

author
Christopherhenson88 (author)2014-06-11

Thats fabulous

author
gorgeddamp (author)2014-06-09


Superb

author
illrings (author)2014-05-26


Marvelous...!!

author
airbugger (author)2014-05-22

Its phenomenal

author
williamsjavellana (author)2014-05-19



Incredible.

author
headlymph (author)2014-05-08

nice

author
tealrink (author)2014-05-08

NICE

author
grousebandit (author)2014-05-05


Its breathtaking :)

author
harechubby (author)2014-04-28

good

author
clapfilk (author)2014-04-07

wonderful

author
cheshirecorn (author)2014-04-04

Cold...!!

author
NumerologyAnswers (author)2014-04-03

great

author
spongeraffle (author)2014-04-02

Thats exceptional...

author
workexaminer (author)2014-03-28



Thats calme

author
gazumpglue (author)2014-02-02

Awesome project! Looks like I will be making a set. One question, I didn't see any dovetails, did you mean rabbet's?

author
tmiddlecoat (author)2013-11-21

wish i had the room to get a set!

author
Mariska Botha (author)2013-09-04

Excellent design, love it so much.

author
BunnyRoger (author)2013-09-03

So cool!! Wish I was a bit more of a handyman or carpenter to do this for my kids' room.

author
Amanda Culbert (author)2013-09-02

This is amazing, Love this Instructable!!

author
MAApleton (author)2013-08-29

Oh wow, I absolutely love this!!!! It looks so incredible.

author
My Diet Area (author)2013-08-03

Don't lower your standards! You've done a really good job there.

author
p3jawors (author)2013-04-29

Are the different blocks connected at all or are they just stacked onto each other?

author

Stacked, so they can be rearrange for different spaces...or if you're feeling playful!

author
Muhaiminah Faiz (author)2013-03-31

Super cool and awesome!

author
error42 (author)2013-03-27

Saving this for when my son is older...awesome!

author
Giedow (author)2013-02-16

just awesome!

author
2ManyProjects (author)2013-02-05

Awesome project! Looks like I will be making a set. One question, I didn't see any dovetails, did you mean rabbet's?

author

Check out step 3 bro.

author
bobble293 (author)2013-01-26

Don't lower your standards! You've done a really good job there. I'd bet on your dovetails against most other construction methods for strength!

author
sajeffe (author)2013-01-25

Voted this project up. Love it. Beautiful work.

author
agis68 (author)2013-01-25

love it too!!!

author
MJAussie360 (author)2013-01-24

Love it!!

author
anothercindy (author)2013-01-24

Beauty idea! Too bad you'll have to spoil them by actually putting things in the spaces.

author
vhcl (author)2013-01-24

The quality of your work is superb!!

Thanks for sharing!!

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