Airplane Shelves for Kids




Introduction: Airplane Shelves for Kids

About: A simple geek with handful ideas and not enough time to make them all happen. So, I'm battling one idea at a time :)

I decided to build airplane shelves for my 3 year old son. The project is very basic and can be easily done in half a day. It may take more time if the paint dries longer.

The shelves are very sturdy and you can stack quite a lot of books/toys/things on top. It has a rotating propeller, which is kind of fun.

My kid was more than happy to help. Most of the time he kept stealing the tools, though :D

I only used things that were leftovers from my house building process, mainly:


1. 60 cm x 200 cm of oriented strand board (OSB) - plywood or a plain plank should work well too.
2. A couple of broken wheels from a commode (typical furniture wheels)
3. A thin plank for propeller, under wings and cabin walls.
4. Paint.
5. Hangers/hooks for wall fixture.


1. Drill
2. Fretsaw/handsaw
3. Pencil
4. Paintbrush and paint tape
5. Screwdriver
6. Measuring tape and a level.
7. Workbench (or a stool at least...)


1. Cut the appropriately sized wings.
2. Cut the underwings.
3. Cut the propeller, the engine and the cabin
4. Grind surfaces and any and all sharp corners ( important ! ).
5. Use some screws to tighten the whole thing (more on steps)
6. Use the paint-tape to secure the needed surfaces and paint the airplane. Let it dry. Add some markings if you wish.
7. Use a level and some hangers/hooks to fix it on the wall.

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Step 1: Airplane Shelves - Tools I Used and Cutting the Wings

First step

First you need to cut the desired sized wings.

After some experiments I found out it is best if the lower wing is a bit smaller than the upper one.

The upper wing will act as a main shelve, so it has to be sturdy and able to hold lots of various stuff. I chose to make it quite big.

My measurements were: Top wing: 1,30 meters x 0,3 meters, lower wing: 1 meter x 0,25 meters, height between wings - 0,25 meters.

Had some leftover OSB for the wings. A sheet of plywood or a broader plank should work OK too.

Step one, cut a simple rectangle. You can round/shape the corners later if you like. This will require some kind of saw.

Cut another one till you have 2 needed wings.

Step 2: Airplane Shelves - Cutting Wing Holders

Second step

You will also need to cut wing holders. A had a thin pole left, so it worked like charm.

All 4 holders are equal in length. I divided a 1 meter stick into 4 x 0,25 meter ones.

Sorry about the picture quality, my LG Cookie phone made it bit blury and unclear. This is a photo from assembly page, but you can see holders fixed to the lower wing.

Step 3: Airplane Shelves - Propeller, Engine and the Cabin

Step three

An airplane without a propeller is no plane, but a flying cow :D

Well, not really, but a rotating propeller is quite a fun addition for the little ones.

Step 3.1. An engine. I took a bit of plank, then put an up sided cup on top and drew a circle. Fast and easy way to draw a circle... Drilled holes along the perimeter and a central hole for the propeller holder.

Step 3.2. Propeller. I just drew it, used the fretsaw to cut it and then used a knife to make the rims thiner.

Step 3.3. For the cabin - two short equally sized planks.

Step 4: Airplane Shelves - Grinding It All

Step four - grinding

Once again, this is important. When cut, OSB splinters, so grinding is a must.

I used an electrical grinder and did every single piece of wood rounding the corners, smoothing the wood and so on.

Step 5: Airplane Shelves - Assembly

Now it is time to assemble the airplane.

You might want to paint it first.

Using simple wood screws (drilling from below) I fixed the wing holders to the lower wing, cabin walls to the lower wing. Engine to the sides of cabin walls, then a propeller to the engine.

Make sure you drill a bit larger hole through a propeller compared to the screw. It has to rotate after all!

Use a level to check if the wing holder angles are correct. Fix the upper wing using the screws.

You may also want to fix some wheels below the lower wing. I used two broken wheels from a commode. Visually they look fine and turn too.

Step 6: Airplane Shelves - Painting

Step six

Grab a paintbrush and some colors. I used what I had after making sure the paint are not toxic and OK for interior/kids rooms use.

Used some paper under the airplane to prevent paint leaking and stains.

Two layers of paint, as one was not enough. You may want to choose a fast drying paint. Mine was a pain with a 24 hours drying period.

Add some airplane markings to make it more unique. I added 2 "LT"s (marking for Lithuania, my home country) and a Cross of Vytis - one of the main symbols for my country.

One could also write a name of the airplane on the sides of the cabin.

Step 7: Airplane Shelves - Fixing the Shelves on the Wall

Step seven - fix it on the wall

Once your plane is done and ready, you'll have to fix it on the wall.

I used hangers/hooks (each can hold up to 24 kgs of weight), so it should be more than enough. The whole structure can become quite heavy (airplane - around 10 kgs, +books +toys +all the boy stuff)

A level was really helpful at this point to make it even.

Step 8: Airplane Shelves - Let It Fly!


This small DIY project is done, painted and fixed. And the best buddy - the Piglet - is ready to be the test pilot.

And the propeller rotates too!

Some thoughts: this is a small and relatively easy half/full day DIY project. Imho - perfect weekend build. It does not require any sophisticated tools or high DIY skills.

I built it from leftovers, so it did not cost much too.

Any and all comments/ideas/remarks are welcome :)

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    11 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 8

    Wonderful model very good



    10 years ago on Introduction

    I really like this one! Will definitely make one with my son. I am a big fan of spending time with the children, making stuff, rather than me working overtime and buying something ready made.. Well done! :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very neat idea, I have always found the red baron's plane very snazzy, and that'd add another shelf!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm moving, and I might be making this for my new room. :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    They look great, It's neat that your son can help with your project.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Simple, looks good and can be modified easily for different looks.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the first comment, Rocketizer :)