Introduction: Hexagon Shelf With Inner Sections

About: I enjoy dabbling in everything. By trade I am a software developer during the day. At home for fun I like to dabble in electronics, minor woodworking, house projects, IOT, Smart Home setup, software developmen…

I will first state that I am not a carpenter or a professional woodworker but I do enjoy playing around and building things. My wife also likes that too and will be like, "I like that can you make that!" And I'll be like "sure". And that is where this Hexagon shelf came to be.

She has seen photos of similar shelves elsewhere and was wanting one for her essential oils. But it doesn't have to be limited to that. You can take the base of what I have provided below and change it up, make it bigger or smaller, or whatever your creativity decides. Even though I provide specific measurements, I hope I have written this to take concepts and apply to your own plans.



  • 3 - 1x4-6ft boards (I used pine and to make with provided dimensions) (~$15)
  • finish nails
  • wood glue
  • 4 - small metal 'L' brackets (opt)
  • 4 - small finish screws (opt)
  • Other Mounting hardware (opt)
  • Stain or Paint (opt)


  • Tape Measure
  • Miter saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Orbit Sander (opt.)
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch tool
  • Square

Total: ~$20-$30 Shelf vs $50-$150 buying elsewhere

Step 1: Initial Tips

Some initial tips and insights that I learned during the process or would suggest.


Please use proper eye & ear protection!

Please use all safety guards on your tools!

Please read and understand how to use and operate your tools as they might not match how mine our used.


I hope this instructable can serve both as a instruction manual as I'll provide my dimensions but also as a tool that you can use to change it up to your needs. Whether that is making it bigger or smaller, adding more shelves or fewer, removing the inner box or adding more. Your imagination is your limit. If you are going to change it up, I would suggest to plan both assembly layout ahead.


Since there are going to potentially be skinnier shelves, your sander might not fit inside. So I would recommend to sand all your pieces before gluing and nailing together, or at least do your initial higher grit to remove any imperfections or marks and leave your fine grit to do by hand after its finished and before wanting to stain or paint.


You aren't limited to nails, that is the route I decided to go. If you feel you want to use biscuits or dowel pins, or some other method that you prefer. Go for it. This is just what worked for my knowledge and tools available. If you are changing it up. Make sure to plan your shelf assembly ahead.

If using nails I'd recommend a finish nail of some sort (small head/small hole) and nail close to the surface, then use a nail punch to inset the nail into the wood. This both prevents leaving hammer dents in the finished piece and also reduces the visibility of the nail.


Measure twice (and trice) and cut once..... unlike I did with my first shelf piece and had to cut it to try and get it out.

CAD Drawings/Measurements

I initially created this shelf by planning it out on paper and measuring and adding the shelves in as I went. I later CAD'd it up and some of the "perfect" measurements didn't line up with my "actual" measurements/cuts. So in the parenthesis on the drawing document are my actual measurements. (since those where off its likely due to some of my angled cuts not being perfect or not drying it in a perfect hexagon).

Step 2: Planning

Planning will save you later down the road. Since I made this initially for my wife's' essential oils I knew the height I needed so they would fit. (These plans were created with young living oils in mind). I also wanted her to like the size. Since she is a visual person I used some cardboard to first cut out my size plans and shelf height.

I held the cutout on the wall to make sure we both liked the sizing as well as drew the shelf lines to make sure she like the clearance she had for her oils of different sizes.

After the plans were approved it was time to get the material. For the plans and measurements provided you will need 3 - 1"x4" at 6ft.


I have provided detailed measurements from CADing up a perfect hexagon with seamless gaps and all. I built and measured my pieces out before using the CAD model and some of my inner shelf dimensions are different then when I used CAD. My actual measurements are in parenthesis "()". So take this as word of caution is you might need to measure your own out as you build to make sure it is assembled as desired.

Step 3: Cut and Assemble Outside Pieces

First cuts are measuring and cutting out the 6 outside edge pieces. Set the angle cut of your saw to be 30 degrees for cutting each end. (This will get the proper 60 degree angle in my drawing) And lengths should all be the same.

Then start at one corner and glue the two pieces together and nail in two finish nails from one piece into the other. Then continue going around and connecting all of the corners together using the same method.

Tip: If desired use a nail punch to further inset the finish nail into the wood. Or hammer nail in close to the wood, then finish driving the nail in with the punch tool to avoid denting or marking up the wood with the hammer.


I personally tried to keep the nails on either the under side or on the top so fewer of the holes would be noticeable when hung. Granted still potentially planning on using nail filler and painting/staining over it.

Step 4: Add Upper and Lower Shelf

Next measure and cut the upper and lower shelf with 60 degree cut ends. In my plans these should be the exact same size. You can either use the plans provided or use some trigonometry and use the following formula :)

x=open space height

short edge length = bottom shelf length(the inside edge) + 2 * (x * √3)

After you know the height (x). On both outside edge pieces measure up along the inside edge the distance of (2 * x)

Now place glue on either ends of the shelf and line up the shorter length edge with the mark created on each side and nail into place. Repeat with measurements, gluing, and nailing into opposite end of shelf.

You should now have the upper and lower shelves added.

Note: You want to make sure these are at the same height for various reasons. One is that it will keep all your shelves level and parallel with each other. Also the outer edge pieces might adjust in shape, as you add shelves it will strengthen up the entire shelf. (Just like adding triangles to square structures)

I placed a large clamp across the middle corners to help keep the hexagon shape while using clamps on either side of the placed shelf to pull down into its desired position. As you add more pieces the entire shelf will become more rigid.

Step 5: Cut & Check Second Upper/Lower Shelf

Next we will measure and cut the upper and lower shelf with 60 degree cut ends. Use the same formula in above step to figure out the short edge length.

x=open space height

short edge length = 1st shelf length(the long edge) + ( 2 * (x * √3) )

After you know the height (x). On both outside edge pieces measure up along the inside edge the distance of (2 * x)

*Now do not mount (glue & nail) yet but test to make sure the pieces fit

Step 6: Cut & Add Inner Square

With the second shelf pieces dry-fitted measure from the inside edges shelf to shelf to get the height of the inside upright pieces and go ahead and cut 2 pieces out.

Go ahead and figure out how wide you would like the inner rectangle/square section to be.

Remove all four pieces and take your desired width and divide by 2. Measure that distance from the center of your shelf pieces and glue and nail together.

Repeat with the other shelf piece and then repeat all of that with the second upright piece. Should look like the attached image on this step.

Step 7: Secure Inner Section to Shelf Unit

Now go ahead and place the section we built in the last step and place, glue, and nail into the main shelf unit

It's now beginning to look like an actual shelf unit!!!

Step 8: Center Shelves

Last two piece to cut and place!

This is what worked for me and how I did the last two shelves with the pointed end into the corner.

First I took a piece longer than what was needed so I had extra play. On one end I marked the center point within the thickness of the piece of wood. (reference point for the point). Now with the 60 degree setup, cut the end with the cut to the point. Then flip the piece around and cut the second angle to make the point.

If you messed up getting the point centered, just repeat until you get it as desired.

Once you have the point, measure the distance on the shelf unit from the inside point to the upright piece and transfer that to your piece and cut. Go ahead and glue and nail the piece into the shelf unit. Repeat for the other side.

Step 9: Paint or Stain

Feel free to go ahead and sand everything and paint or stain the shelf how you desire. I plan on staining ours but haven't done so yet. Once I complete that I will add photos.

I think there are plenty of other well done staining or painting instructables out there so won't go into details here. I have added some links to others below.

How to Apply Stain and Surface Finish to Wood

How to Burn & Stain Wood AKA Shou Sugi Ban - A different effect, might want to plan the burning part ahead before piecing together, I personally haven't tried this before.

Step 10: Mounting

Once you have finished staining or painting, or if you just like the natural wood look feel free to mount and hang how you desire.

Currently I have just taken 4 small 'L' brackets and placed two at the bottom and two under the top piece and has worked well.

I also thought about trying to route out a groove in the back of the upper piece so I could place a screw/nail in the wall and then slide the shelf into place in the groove.

Now that you have it hung go ahead and place whatever you would like and desire to be used on the shelf.

Shelving Contest

First Prize in the
Shelving Contest