Introduction: Hanging DVD Storage Panels

These are DIY wooden media storage boxes that hang on the wall like a giant picture frame. The shallow depth (just big enough for DVDs, music, and games) and the fabric panels help keep the slim profile and the weight manageable. The storage panels feel more like curtains or picture frames, taking up hardly any space, but open them up and surprise! A whole library of media can fit into the smallest spaces.

Materials Needed for Building One DVD unit:

  • 1″x6″ boards (amount depends on dimensions; see next step)
  • 1″x2″ trim board (amount depends on dimensions; see next step)
  • Four adjustable shelving strips, plus a number of shelf supporters
  • Thin finish-quality plywood sheet
  • Three cabinet hinges (two come per package)
  • Two cabinet latches
  • Heavy Mirror hanging hardware (4 of those strips with the loop)
  • Wall anchors with screws
  • About 2 1/2 yards of your chosen decor fabric
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Stainable wood putty
  • Painter’s tape (for marking distances)

Materials Needed for Staining and Finishing:

  • 100 grit sandpaper (about two sheets)
  • 220 grit sandpaper (about two sheets)
  • Two 1-Quart cans of Minwax Polyshades Stain and Polyurethane in One (Color: American Chestnut)
  • A good natural-bristle brush
  • Tack cloth
  • Mineral Spirits (for cleaning)
  • Gloves (for keeping clean)
  • Very Fine grit steel wool (#0000)
  • Some clean rags
  • Painting Stir Sticks

Tools Needed:

  • Router (could possibly be done without; see Step 3)
  • Table Saw or Circular Saw (for cutting boards and angles)
  • Sander
  • Hammer
  • Nail Gun (optional)
  • Electric screwdriver (or a driver/drill) with Philips head
  • Level

Step 1: Cut Your Lumber to Size

The amount of wood you'll need will vary depending on what size you want your hanging DVD storage panel to be.

Mine are 7' tall by 2" wide.

Pieces you will need for the wood frame:

  • Thin stain-grade plywood the size of the back of your panel. Be sure to include the width of the shelves. In my example, this is a plywood panel that is 7' x 2' 1/2".
  • 1" x 6" boards for the structure and shelving. In my example, that is:
    • Two 7' boards (for the sides)
    • Two 2' boards (for the top and bottom)
    • Several 2' boards (for the shelving). These can be cut very slightly under 2' long, maybe 1' 11 3/4".
  • 1" x 2" boards for the face frame. In my example, that is:
    • Two 7' boards for the sides
    • Two 2' 1/2" boards for the top and bottoms.
    • All of these boards, once cut to length, will also need to have 45 degrees cut off their ends, to shape them into trapezoidal shapes, so that we will be able to assemble them together like a picture frame.

Look at the drawing to see how these pieces will all come together.

You can make your own storage panels any size you like, given the wall space you have available and the amount of media storage you will need. Be sure and do the math if you are doing a different size. Drawing a schematic can help keep track of all the pieces, and the total amount of wood you will need to buy.

Step 2: Use a Router to Make Room for Hardware and Front Panel

Before assembling the frames, we are going to use the router for two things.

Set the router to a depth of 1/4".

First, we are going to use the router to create a groove running along the interior edge of the face frame. This is the shorter of the long sides of the trapezoid. When the frame is assembled, it will create a lip on the inside of the "picture frame". Later we will use this lip to attach a decorative fabric to the inside of the frame.

Second, we are going to rout two groves in the flat surfaces of our longest boards. These grooves will run the length of the boards and will become channels to run the shelving hardware. Look at the pictures to see how this will happen.

An optional third use of the router is to switch to a different bit and use it to create a decorative detail on the long edge of all the interior shelf pieces. This is not functionally necessary, but introduces a nice detail.

If you do not have access to a router, the project can be completed without one. However, you will have to take into account the depth of the shelving hardware when you are calculating the width of your interior shelf pieces.

Step 3: Assemble the Unit

In this step, you will lay out all your pieces and assemble them.

I used a pneumatic nail gun for this step, although other methods, including wood glue and screws, would also work. The nail gun had the advantage of having thin nails, so I wasn't concerned about splitting the wood. If you use screws, be sure to use narrow enough screws that it won't ruin your boards, which are pretty thin.

First, I nailed together the sides of the box. Next, I lay the piece of plywood backing over the box and nailed that down all around the edges. If you have a nicer side of the plywood, be sure that side is facing the inside of the box.

Separately, I connected the four pieces of the "picture frame" by nailing together the corners. The 45 degree angles that you cut in the first step should nicely make solid 90 degree angles once assembled. The routed edge should now be a continuous lip on the inside of the frame.

At this point, I would recommend using a wood putty to fill in any nailheads, gaps in construction, screwheads, or gaffes. Once the unit is sanded and stained, these will be far less visible. Let the putty dry before advancing to the next step.

Step 4: Sand Everything!

This step is not functionally necessary, but can really make the difference between "weekend craft" and "enjoyable furniture piece".

I used a basic palm sander.

Start with a medium grit, and sand everything. If there are edges that you believe would aesthetically be better rounded off a little, such as the front edge of the shelves, go right ahead. I chose to round off all interior edges of the box, but leave the exterior edges sharp so that I could easily mount hardware and hinges.

Repeat everything with a fine grit sandpaper. The finer the grit you use, the softer and smoother the final piece will be.

Sand everything that you will see or touch, including the interior surface of the back plywood, the face frame, the interior shelves, everything.

Once you have sanded enough, be sure to clean up everything to prep for staining. I recommend using a tack cloth over all the boards, to pick up every last bit of dust from them.

Step 5: Stain Everything

Depending on your decor, you could just paint all your pieces, and that would be fine. I find staining more difficult, but it gives the pieces that "furniture" look that I wanted in my dining room.

Because I am new to staining, I chose a stain and polyurethane in one. In theory, this provides both color and the right shiny finish that I was looking for. Veteran furniture finishers may likely have a more professional approach.

Be sure and mix the stain up thoroughly before starting, or else there will be a huge variation in your pieces.

Prop your pieces up on spare boards, or on edge to be able to access the most amount of surface area possible. You won't be able to get it all at once and will have to do several rounds of staining before you get everything.

Using a natural bristle brush, lightly work the stain into the wood. If you use too much, it will get gloppy. Keep doing this until you've stained everything. Don't forget the internal shelves, the face frame, or the box. No one will see the exterior back of the box, but I stained it anyway.

Once it's dried, go back and rearrange your pieces to stain the portions you couldn't reach before.

Once this is dry, do the whole thing again.

And maybe again. Try to keep the coats even, as unlike paint, stain is often translucent and will show overlapping areas.

Staining can be fun. It's methodical, soothing, almost zen-like. It's accessible to amateurs with minimal equipment, but professionals will really be able to make something look good.

When you have the finish you like, consider yourself done.

If you didn't use a stain and polyurethane in one, consider going over it with some polyurethane to give it the right shine.

Once your finish has completely dried, you can buff it with a very, very fine grit steel wool (#0000). This takes off any "edges" that may have formed in the stain, such as from bubbles or uneven drying. Again, it's functionally unnecessary, but can make the finished product feel smoother. Wipe the entire thing down with a cloth to remove any steel wool shavings.

Step 6: Add Hardware

Now we're going to add all the hardware.

First, you'll add the shelving strips to the inside of the box. These should nestle gently into the grooves you made for them. There will be four shelving strips for the box: two on each side. Make sure all four of them are level with each other; you will want your shelves to be level when you're done. These shelving strips come with tiny nails or screws that will secure them inside your box.

Next, you will add the hinges, attaching the box to the face frame. I set the box down, open side up, and lay the face frame on top of it. Make sure the routed lip faces the interior of the box and you don't see it from the outside at all. When the face frame is on the box like this, measure to where you want your hinges. Mark this location on both the box and the frame with painter's tape. That way it won't leave a permanent mark. Wrap the painter's tape around the inside of each piece.

Open the face frame as though it were on hinges. You should now see the tape marking both the box and the frame. This is where you will screw in your hinges. When the door is closed, the hinge will be sandwiched between the two pieces.

With my 7' tall doors, I used three hinges: one in the middle of the door, and one a foot from each end. They seem to do the trick.

The next piece of hardware you'll add will be the clasp to keep the door shut. I used two clasps, since the unit is so tall. The easiest way to do this is to screw the entire clasp to the side of the box where you want it. Next, reach through the door frame to mark where the door portion of the clasp would go. Open the door and screw in that last piece of the clasp.

At this point, you can practice opening and closing the door and clasping it shut. It should move smoothly.

The last pieces of hardware to add will be the hanging hardware. Carefully turn the unit over, and hang heavy-duty mirror-hanging hardware close to the top. Be sure that your selected hanging hardware is sufficient for the full weight of your unit plus media collection.

Step 7: Add Fabric Panel and Hang!

At this point, I hauled the unit inside and measured out fabric for the open panel in the door.

Any fabric would work for this. I had a large print damask in red and gold that looked kind of Victorian.

First, measure the inside of the door frame opening, including the size of the lip that you routed in earlier. If you skipped the routing part, add an inch or so to the measurement for the opening.

This will be the size of your fabric panel.

If your fabric has a design on it, find the center of the design and measure outward. That way the design will be centered on the doors. To make sure it stays centered as you cut a section for the full height of the door, measure occasionally as you go along.

Once your fabric panel is cut, you can use a staple gun to attach it to the inside of the door. With a patterned fabric, I would recommend finding the center point and stapling that first, and then carefully moving up each side simultaneously, to keep the design centered.

Hang the unit on the wall from the hanging hardware that you installed in the last step. In my house, I used big plastic wall anchors and big hefty screws into the plaster. Adjust this method as needed for your own home structure and weight of your storage panels.

Your hanging DVD storage panels are done! Now you can install the interior shelves on the shelving hardware and arrange your media collection!

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