Introduction: How to Make a Snoopy Doghouse Display Shelf

About: I like making things without spending very much money. I try to get my materials free (pallets), if possible. If at all possible, I'd rather fix something myself than pay someone else to fix it. If I don't …

I wanted to make my wife something special for Christmas. She is a huge Snoopy fan. I came across a bookcase on Pinterest that I knew she would like. But I wasn't ready to make a large bookcase. I thought, "Why not a shelf, just scale down this bookcase?" It would be perfect for her Snoopy collectibles.

The shelf itself is just under 2 ft x 2 ft. Counting the roof structure and Snoopy it is slightly under 3 ft x 3 ft overall. The shelf depth is 2 3/4 inches.

What follows is how I made this shelf.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

I used most general wood working tools for this build. Such as:

Table Saw

Miter Saw


Circular Saw

Brad Nailer w/ Air Compressor


Band Saw or Jig Saw


Tape Measure and Pencil

Drill or Screwdriver

Utility Knife


Wire Cutters or Grinder

Pocket Hole Jig

Putty Knife


The following are the materials I used for this project:

1 1/2 - 2x4x8

1 - 1/2 inch piece of plywood about 12 inch x 12 inch

1 - 1/4 inch piece of plywood about 2 ft x 4 ft

Wood Glue


Paint & Brushes

Scrap Cardboard

Masking Tape

Wood Putty

Step 2: Breaking Down Materials

I used a 2x4 for this project, but it was too thick for the shelf I wanted to make, so I used the table saw to cut it down to a better size.

First, to make handling the wood easier, I cut the 2x4 down to a manageable size. I cut it on a miter saw down to about 24 inch pieces.

Next, I trimmed a little off of each end to square off the 2x4. Then I ripped it down the middle to give me two even boards from each of the 2x4 boards. Now I have twice as many boards than what I started with.

Lastly, each board was sanded to remove any saw marks or splinters.

Then I trimmed four boards down to 22 1/2 inches.

Step 3: Assemble a Box

I laid the four boards out on a flat work surface. I used a corner clamp to hold two boards together. Then I drilled pilot holes for 2 screws and added the screws. I did this on each corner to make a box.

I checked the box for square, which it wasn't. I used a clamp to hold down one side while I pushed the other side to correct the box for square. Once it was corrected, I clamped it down.

I was ready to route out the rabbet for the back panel. I used a rabbet bit in my router and set the depth by holding a piece of the 1/4 inch plywood up to the router and setting it slightly deeper than the plywood. I worked around the frame and moved the clamps when I came to them. Once I was done I checked it for square again.

Then I measured and cut out a piece of plywood. The corners were still square and did not match up to the back of the frame, they needed sanded down to match the curve from the rabbet.

I tried the plywood in the frame and removed the clamps. I checked for square to confirm that it was still good.

Time to glue it together. I removed the plywood and the screws from the frame. I put glue between the joints and screwed the frame back together, using a wet rag to wipe up any excess glue. Then I laid down glue for the back panel and used brad nails to hold it down while the glue dried.

Step 4: Make the Shelves

To make the shelves, I measured the space between the frame and cut down 3 boards to fit this space.

I wanted the shelves to sit back from the frame slightly, so I ripped off about 1/4 inch from each shelf board.

To get the shelf height I measured the inside height of the frame and divided by 4. I used 4 because there will be 4 shelves (don't forget that the bottom of the frame is a shelf as well). The result was an 21 3/4 inches. I dropped off the 3/4 inch and divided by 4 again to get 5 1/4 inches. This is the figure I used for the shelf height and I left the top shelf being slightly higher than the others to account for the 3/4 inch from earlier.

I measured up from the bottom of the frame 5 1/4 inches and put the first shelf. I put wood glue on the ends of the shelf and then used clamps to hold the shelf in place, then attached it with brad nails. I could then remove the clamp. I repeated this for each of the remaining shelves.

Afterwards, I turned the shelving unit over. I used the brad nailer to attach each shelf to the back panel of plywood. To insure I wouldn't miss the shelf, I drew straight lines across the back panel representing where to put the brad nails. Doing so prevents blowout if the brad nail misses the shelf board.

Step 5: Making the Roof Structure

This is a fairly difficult step because of the angles used making the roof structure. The best way I have found is to use scrap cardboard to work out any angles or tricky cuts. Cardboard is readily available and cheap so if you make a mistake your not wasting your precious lumber.

Once you have a satisfactory shape, it can be traced onto your lumber to be cut out, three in all. Cutting out the shape can be done with a jig saw or band saw, depending on which you have. After they are cut out they need sanded smooth to the lines for a perfect fit.

I attached the roof structures to the top of the shelving unit with glue and brad nails. Then I measured the space between the roof structures and cut boards to fit this space to fill in the gaps, attaching them to the frame with glue and brad nails. When nailing the last board, the nail did not go into the wood as planned as sometimes happens. I cut it off with a pair of wire cutters, or it could be ground down with a file or grinder.

It was at this point I realized the point of the roof structure should not be a point but rather a flat surface for the top of the roof. I used a saw to cut off the pointed ends and sanded down the rough edges.

Step 6: Making the Roof Deck

Before proceeding with the roof decking, I wanted to paint the portion that would be underneath the roof since it would be easier to get to now. I simply used some black spray paint to accomplish this.

Next I measured for the front panel, which was 32 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches. On each end I measured in 5 inches and drew a diagonal line to give the roof panel the shape of a trapezoid. I cut this out on my band saw and sanded down the edges to remove any splintering. I also cut down a piece of plywood 22 1/2 inches by 1 1/4 inches to cover the top of the roof structure. After attaching it with glue and nails, I realized it was too narrow. To fill in the gap it left, I cut a wider piece to go on top of it.

To get the sides correct, I went back to using cardboard to fit and try out shapes. This was especially good since the cardboard and plywood are about the same thickness. Once I had the shapes I wanted, I cut them out and attached them with glue and brad nails and using some masking tape to hold some pieces together.

I filled in the back piece with a board cut to fit the shape, basically a triangle. This piece also gave me something more solid to attach the roof panels with. I finished off with the bottom panel in the same manner. I also used masking tape to help hold the panels together while the glue dried.

One last step with the roof structure was to cut back the middle support. I didn't like how it was protruding into the shelf area. I used a multi tool to trim off the small amount I wanted to remove.

Step 7: Making Snoopy

Time to make Snoopy.

Using the 1/2 inch plywood, draw out the shape of Snoop laying down. I looked to google pictures for ideas and found a shape I was happy with. His ear and paw are cut out separately and will get attached after painting.

Once its drawn out, I cut it out with my band saw. Then sanded the edges to get the shape I was happy with. I also sanded the ends of the ear and foot to a 45 degree angle to get a better fit on the roof later. I also drilled 3 pocket holes on the back side to attach Snoopy to the shelf later. Once it was sanded I could start painting.

I painted Snoopy white. It took at least 2 coats of white paint to cover it well. After the white paint dried, I traced in the features for his eye, collar, feet features and arm/leg using a pencil. These get painted black along with his ear.

Step 8: Painting the Shelf Unit

I used wood putty to fill in any nail holes and screw holes or any other small defects. After it dried, I sanded it smooth. Before painting, I wiped down the entire project with a wet rag to remove any dust or dirt. Once it dried, it was ready to paint.

I used a barn red paint to paint the exterior of the shelf. I believe it is a good match for the red that is on Snoopy's dog house. I started by painting the back, waiting for it to dry before flipping it over.

The interior of the shelves I painted with an antique white. I wanted a different color than the white of Snoopy. I think a cream color would also work well.

I used black paint to touch up the underside of the roof and to make highlights on the roof to resemble shingles.

I tried using masking tape on the bottom shelf to keep the antique white from getting on the edge of the shelf, but found it easier to just take my time and use a small brush to touch up after using each color.

Each color needed at least two coats of paint, and I probably put down three of the antique white to get good coverage.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

After the paint dries, Snoopy can be attached to the roof with the screws through the pocket holes. His ear and foot are glued and one brad nail in each is used to attach them. The ear needed a clamp on the lower end to keep it held down while the glue dried (I didn't use a nail here because it would go through the roof panel).

I also decided on the hanging method I wanted to use. I chose these clips and attached them to the uppermost part of the shelf frame. I drilled holes then added screws to hold them in place. This should be plenty to hang it on the wall.

Step 10: A Display Shelf to Talk About

Here is the final shelf, ready for display. I didn't hang this one on the wall just yet.

This is a perfect display shelf for small objects that any fan of Snoopy would love to have. Whether or not your putting Snoopy objects on display or some other collectible, Snoopy will always be hanging out on the wall near you.

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016