Introduction: DIY Modern Design Shelf

About: I am an industrial designer and a maker. I like to make prototypes, unique pieces, equipment and other stuff. In this channel I will show you what I do, and in particular the making of design pieces, with var…

With this Instructable, I will start a series of projects a little different from the usual.

People often ask me if I sell the products I make and the answer is complex because, many times I sell my projects to companies that will produce and sell them. Other time is difficult for me to produce piece in a reasonable time to sell them.

So I had this idea. I create a design project, something that could also be produced in series and I make a piece of it. Then I will put the plans on my website so that you can build that product by your own and have in your house that piece of design you desire, but made by you.

I hope you like this idea, but, if you don't, or you are not interested in building this object, you can just read this Instructable, as usual, and be inspired for something else.

Today we will build this modern design shelf that I called “Escape”

Step 1: Sketch

As I usually do, I started this project from a sketch.

This sketch is to clarify my design idea and to define proportions.

I made this sketch on toned tan paper, using markers, ink pens and a white pencil.

Step 2: 3D Model

I then 3D modeled the shelf using Autodesk Fusion 360, to define the final dimensions and the shape of all the pieces. I then created a CAD file to print and use as a template to cut all the pieces.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Pieces

After cutting the sheets with the templates, I glued them to the plywood panels, with some spray glue, and cut out the shapes of all the pieces using my band saw.

Step 4: Drilling Holes

After cutting all the pieces, I drilled the holes on the pieces that would have fitted the shelf brackets.

Step 5: Glueing Up

It was then time to glue up the pieces together. I started by aligning the first layer pieces (1, 2 and 3) and put some PVA glue in the contact points. Then I started building the shelf, layer by layer, following the numbers. I also used some little nails to fix the pieces in place while the glue was still wet.

Step 6: Cutting the Shelf Shape

When the glue was dried, I had to make some cuts to the shelf to give it its final shape.

The first cut was made to taper the shelf along its length. I then scored with a coffee saucer and a pencil the corners to fillet. I then cut them off with a Japanese saw.

Step 7: Sanding

Here is where the hard work started.

I first rounded the corners with a belt sander, following the pencil marks.

I then smoothed everything. I started with a belt sander, being careful not to sand to much. Then I proceded with a random orbit sander to refine the work and filletting all the edges.

I also used some sand paper by hand, and made sure that, in the end, everything was perfectly smooth so not to have troubles when painting.

Step 8: Plastering

At that point the surface of the shelf was perfectly smooth, but with some “holes”, expecially where the different pieces meets. To get rid of them, I used some mono component wood filler. I added it with a little spatula, using the minumum quantity needed.

When it dried, I removed the excess with some sandpaper.

Step 9: Spray Filler

At that point, the shelf was almost ready to be painted. First, though, I added some spray filler to prepare the surface for the painting.

When the filler dried I carefully sanded it by hand with fine sand paper and checked the surface to be sure it was perfect.

Step 10: Painting

When I finished with the spray filler, I cleaned the shelf with a damp cloth before to paint it. Then, I painted it using a spray gun and high-gloss white paint in thin layers.

Step 11: Final Shot

The shelf is now complete. Here are a couple of shots of the final product.

If you want to build and Escape shelt too, here you can find the plans: Escape Shelf Plans

Thanks for checking this Instructable. There is also a video of the realization of this shelf on my YouTube Channel. By watching it you can better see how everything have been made.