A Shelf Unit Made From Leftover Pieces of Wood




About: I work voluntarily to help develop the community where I live. I like to explore new areas and experiment with making things myself. I am extremely passionate about making the change to a future where we re...

I had lots of unused shelves and cut-off pieces from others and I decided to make a contained shelf unit with them. I wanted it to design itself, meaning the pieces would stay the same length as far as possible so that it would have to fit together in whatever way it could.
First I had to measure the space that it was going to fit in so I needed to make sure I had the edges the right length, three of which I had in the picture here.

Step 1: Designing the Interior

I had to have a play around with the other pieces I had so that they would fit in. The unit was mainly to hold books and photo albums so there needed to be some spaces bigger than others. I measured the heights of things that I wanted to store and plan the shelves around that. This is what i came up with. Sorry it's a bit blurred but you can see the measurements in centimetres (I don't do inches). The ticks showed which pieces I had ready. For the last few I needed to cut some down to fit.
Once you've got the frame, you'll need to be aware of the length of the inner sides so that the interior parts will fit. E.g. the height of the unit is 92cm but with the horizontal pieces attached, the inside length vertically is 88cm.

Some of the pieces of wood were in bad condition with pieces broken off so I just painted them white to hide this as much as I could.

Step 2: Starting to Assemble the Shelves

For this you have to be really careful with the measurements as there are a lot of joins and for it to work, it's got to be precise. The general rule is to measure, then measure again. Before you drill holes, make sure you are certain that you've got things in the right place or it can go horribly wrong.
Here you can see the beginning of the lower shelves screwed onto the base piece. I made do with screws that I had, the lengths of them being at least 3cm. 5cm is a good length to keep it solid. You'll need an electric drill for this.
I put two screws in every join so that it would not be moveable.

Step 3: Adding Shelves

The same process was used to continue the rest of it. Again, precision is the key to avoid it becoming a mess so keep checking everything twice before you do it.
As you can see, there are many different sized and spaced sections. I wanted the lower middle piece to put my clock under with books on either side. I wasn't sure what to put in the taller space in the middle but I got an idea later that turned out to be perfect.
for the top edge, I needed to make this as I didn't have another long shelf. I got two planks from a pallet and painted them white and cut them to size.

Step 4:

So in the end it fitted together like this. Because the pieces were all different sizes, it meant that it didn't matter about everything being precise as all the sections were irregular, so it couldn't really look wrong! That is, as long as I got everything at right angles. I ended up with a very low space near the middle but that could be used to pile papers on or something.
Then, it was time to get it into its location and put all my stuff on.

Step 5: The Shelf Unit in Action

As you can see, I could put a table lamp in that bigger space which was a great surprise. It was luck that it fitted in like that as it hadn't been planned.
To be honest, the top shelves where the books are aren't perfect as they are very close to the edges and it's hard to get them in and out but as they just about go in, I could leave them.
Anyway, I managed to make use of that space in my room and I'm pretty happy with how it all looks.



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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is often the reason why I hate to get rid of my loose lumber pieces. It is because you never know what new creation you can build out of them. By upcycling them, you might just get an additional storage solution without any extra costs.


    3 years ago

    More than the shelf design (which I think is really quite unique), I love how you managed to make things fit inside the storage unit! That lamp! Perfect fits get me every time!

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    This is a really positive way to upcycle leftover pieces of wood that we often already have lying around the house somewhere. Instead of simply disposing them away and letting them go to waste, building something could be used to fulfill our needs such as storage or as a decorative as well. If you do not require any of them at the moment, it would be great as a gift as well.


    5 years ago

    Very nice. Just shift the shorter books to the smaller shelf.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    i like it! love how you let it design itself and let it ramble creatively