Beehive Shelves





Introduction: Beehive Shelves

About: By day, an architect. By night, an inventor extraordinaire.

This technique uses masking tape to "clamp" when glueing mitred joints. Its a very useful technique if you need to join anything with more than 4 sides where clamps won't work. Ratchet straps also work but are more expencive.

I'd like to thank Starck Joinery cc in Salt River, Cape Town for teaching me this amazing technique. You guys are true master joiners.

Step 1: Tools

You'll need:

  • Sufficient wood to make your boxes. For the 6 boxes you see here I used a piece approx. 1700mm X 600mm
  • A saw that can cut an accurate 30 deg. angel.
  • Wide masking tape.
  • Wood glue.
  • Sand paper.
  • Wood primer
  • Wood varnish
  • Paint (colour of your choice)

Step 2: Cutting

I set my saw at 30 deg. You are looking for 60 deg. angles between joints. Just be careful which side you are wanting to face out. I used reclaimed 18 mm shutter plywood; the stuff they use for concrete work on a building site.

You can make the hexagons any size you want, but be careful; the fist couple I made turned out way too big or way too deep. The dimensions for each of the 6 sides of my hexagon boxes are (outside dimension) 150 mm deep X 190 mm long. This creates a hexagon with an approximate diameter of 390 mm.

Step 3: Filling

I had some pretty poor grade plywood with a really rough surface and I wanted one side of my shelves super shiny. I watered down my wood filler and almost painted it on with the putty knife. As I'm going to be painting this surface anyway, it's easier to do it this way then sand for days.

Step 4: Sanding

Sand the woodfiller down until you have a nice smooth surface.

Step 5: Painting

Give the surfaces you want painted a good coat of primer. Once this has dried, give it a sand and another coat. Repeat this process until you have a nice smooth surface. Always make sure the surface is dust free before starting to paint otherwise you end up with a rough surface that will need to be sanded again.
Now comes the fun part; painting it gold. Soon you'll have a nice stack of gold bars in front of you. Its more impressive in reality than it is in the photo.

Step 6: Gluing

Place 6 pieces butting up to each other with the sides you want on the inside facing down.

Now stick masking tape down the length of this leaving quite a bit of run over. You will use this to wrap around the shelf. a bit later. I rolled mine up to keep it out of the way.

Now flip it carefully.

Put glue on all the edges that need glue put on them.

Now just role it up and wrap those left over bits around the box nice and tightly. You might want to wrap more masking tape around a bit more.

Step 7: Things I've Learnt

The wood filler worked pretty well but next time I'd paint it on over the whole surface and try find something to help it bond to the wood a bit better.

I'd definitely paint the surfaces first, then cut with a fine toothed saw to avoid chipping on the edges.

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27 Discussions

Hey Papa,

I made them quite a while ago but I think they were 250mm (10 inches) but you can make them as deep or as shallow as you want.

I used small brackets and mounted them to the underside of the top of each shelf. You don't need to mount them to the bottom because of the bending moment around the fixing point. Might be getting a bit nerdy here. Anyway, it didn't look that great because you could see them. If I had to do it again, I would probably make something like the drawing attached - that could be concealed between the boxes and be both the spacers between the boxes and the brackets themselves.


Have you ever made something requiring precise angles using hand tools, say electric jigsaw or router? I love all those many corner forms, but have no fancy tools for that.

1 reply

Thanks Instructables! You guys are awesome. definitely going to be rocking the T

14, 11:29.jpg

Makes me want a Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich for some reason XD Anyways, nice job!

If you put masking tape on the painted edge you want to cut the masking tape will hold the paint in place so it doesn't chip.

Trust me, it works!

(especially on the kickboards of a brand new kitchen)

Well done! That gold paint must be stunning.

Very cool project!

I can't help but wonder how hard it would be to prevent the double-board effect between the hexagons, though. I don't have an actual idea, I just think it would be better, would use 6 fewer board segments in this configuration, adding a whole extra cell! But I imagine that a double-cut on the end of a board, getting them to line up so that the peak is perfectly centered, would be very hard.

Yours is still much better than mine, since mine is only imaginary! The tape method is an excellent idea, thank you for sharing!

3 replies

which is a cool idea, but remember that if you avoided the "Double Board Effect" the individual cells would not be able to be moved into different configurations, in case you want to restructure (or expand, or split) your unit.

My overall idea was a non-modular structure, more like a classic bookshelf than the displayed hanging beauty. Also if building a system with many more, smaller cells like a mead rack ("wine rack"), the "full" thickness of the exterior cells would be the exception, not the rule.

Also pondering a more difficult, larger, tilted cell system to hold carboys for my mead fermentation. The extreme angle of the tilt might be too much to ask of a hexagonal cell design, as the mouth of the carboy needs to stick out, but be upright enough that the mouth is still the highest part of the carboy. I'll have to measure the tilt and draw things before I can dig more into that (still imaginary for now) project. Main reason I'm pondering this is to save space, and maybe save having to move the full carboys as much as I have to now.

If you constructed the hexagon sides that were going to abut other hexagons out of wood that was half the thickness that would work. That is not to take anything away from the featured instructable which looks great.

One way to get a richer golden effect is to prime the boards with red before painting on the gold. (Traditionally gold leaf was layer over the color red) If you want silver on the inside then prime it with a rich royal blue or a malachite green.


3 years ago

Very awesome. How did you attach them to each other? Or did you hang them individually?

1 reply

Hey tland... I just hung them individually with very small brackets. You can just see them in the photo. I had thought of bolting them together with spacers in between and then just standing the shelves vertically, but decided to do it this way instead. I have a heavy duty masonry drill...I wouldn't have attempted it this way if I didn't have this drill though.