Bookshelf w/ Pebble, Wood & Resin Top
Step 1: Intro
What do you get when you have spare wood from a previous project and a bunch of books without a shelf? You get me trying my hand at a bookshelf of course! It was a lot of trial and error but in the end I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I was pretty determined to not buy a bunch of supplies and instead to just use what I had so in a lot of ways this is a scrap wood project. The only wood I did purchase were the two long boards that ended up being the frame or the shelf. That being said you probably won’t have the same spare wood pieces just floating around so improvise, get creative, and use your imagination.
*Note* The pebbles and resin are optional. I found midway through that I didn’t have enough wood to finish the top the way I planned so I used the two as a filler but if you have enough wood you won’t need the them but if you like the look of it, use it anyway the choice is yours.
Step 2: Supplies
The Supplies I Used
- 4 long boards of equal length and width. (Mine were a little over 8ft. pine boards)
- A piece of plywood (it’s going to the backing of the shelf)
- Two 47” boards (These will be the middle shelf)
- One 2”x 4” (middle shelf)
- Several pieces of 1” thick wood(This was part of my scrap wood. You can get a lot of this wood off of the discount wood cart at Home Depot, it’s usually 70% off just make sure it’s all the same thickness.)
- Wood Glue
- About a half-gallon of resin
- Hand held wood file
- Belt sander
- Circle saw
- Several 2” Screws
-Several 1 -1/2" screws
- Six 2” Nails
- Pencil and Ruler
- Wood Stain
- Rags/Paint brush
-First you’re going to cut the pieces for the book shelf frame (basically just a box)
- Lay your first 8ft board (long board) on a surface you can cut on
- Measure out 4ft & mark w/ a line. Below that line measure 4ft more & mark w/ a line. This is where you’ll make your cuts.
- After making your cuts you should have two 4ft boards (I used a jigsaw).
- On the next two boards measure out 47” and cut.
- You should have four pieces of wood now. Two measuring at 4ft and two measuring at 47”.
- Choose one of these just cut 4ft pieces to be the top of the shelf.
(I used the piece with the least amount of knots & natural wood markings so I could save those pieces for the sides of the shelf. That way I can see the beauty of the wood when looking at it from the side, but your shelf your choice.)
- Using a wood file smooth out all the edges and then wipe them down to avoid splinters on all the pieces.
-Set those pieces aside.
- Next go through your 1” thick boards and decide what you can use.
- Using a pencil and ruler mark off lines so that you get a bunch of triangles, squares and whatever shapes that you like.
- Place board on a sturdy surface (I used two chairs, be careful as you get to the end of your board while cutting)
- Following the lines you drew, cut out your shapes. I used a jigsaw. Go really slowly so that your lines will be straight and it’ll be easier to fit your pieces together later.
- Once you have all your pieces start playing with them on the board you selected to be the top of the shelf earlier. Play w/ different designs until you see what you like.
- I started from the top corner and started to work my way down but…
- In retrospect I would have started in the middle and worked my way out which is what I started doing after I realized I didn’t have enough wood pieces to cover the entire surface. If you use the resin then just decide where you want it to show the most. Mine was kind of trial and error but yours doesn’t have to be.
- Once you’re sure about your placement start gluing your pieces down to the 4ft board you chose earlier to be the top of your bookshelf. (About a quarter size dot of glue should do the trick.)
- Take your time and figure out a placement you really like b/c wood glue is a beast and once it’s on it’s a bit of a pain in the arse to uplift.
-If you do have to pry some piece up after the wood glue is dry (like I did) the back of hammer or a wood chisel works well and you can use the same tool to hammer in stubborn pieces that need a little help fitting in. Use a piece of sand paper to smooth out any wood remnants left behind from prying off pieces.
- If you have pieces that hang over the edge remove the slack after the wood glue has set completely by cutting them. I used a jigsaw.
- Once your edges are cut down and uniform use a wood file or sandpaper to smooth them over. (Shout out to my dog the late great Bugsy in the background.)
- Next slowly go over the entire surface with a sander to even out any slightly uneven levels in the wood. I used a belt sander with a super rough grit finish.
- Go slowly since on some of the pieces you’ll be going against the grain you want to try not and tear your belt (if using a belt sander). Set aside when finished.
-Now it’s time to start putting the whole
-Lay the board that will be the base of your bookshelf on the ground. This is the board the same length as the top board you just did the wood mosaic on.
- Creating an “L” shape position one of your 4’ boards against that base board.
-Next drill 4 pilot holes two at the far
left of the board and two to the far right (they should like vampire bites) make sure they go through both boards. Follow the pilot holes with a screw I used 2” but that might have been a touch too long.
-Go slowly so the screw stays in line with pilot hole and doesn’t poke through the wrong part of the wood. (If that does happen all hope is not lost! Just change the settings of the drill to rotate in the opposite direction and it will pull the screw right out.)
- Do this on each side it should look something like this once you’re done.
- Next determine what part of this three board frame will be the back of your book shelf.
- Once you know line your plywood up so creates a backing for the lower part of your shelf.
- Using a straight edge draw a line where you’ll cut off the excess wood.
- Draw on the dots where your going to place your pilot holes.
- Following your marks drill your pilot holes, make sure you hold the boards securely so all your holes line up.
- Follow pilot holes with screws, I used 2”.
-Do this along the base, left, and right side until the plywood is firmly attached to the lower half of the bookshelf frame.
-Once all your screws are in, follow your marks to cut the excess wood off. I used a jigsaw.
- Now you’re ready to add the backing to the top of the frame.
- I started off using a wood board (which is what is pictured but ended up choosing a piece of painted particle board to cut down on the weight of the shelf, but you can use whatever you’re comfortable with or have on hand.
- Line this piece of wood up to the upper half of the shelf.
- There will be a space between this back board and the bottom plywood backboard.
- Using a straight edge & pencil draw a line to the cut the excess wood.
-Draw dots where you will make your pilot holes. ( Notice here where I switched to the painted particle board)
-Make your pilot holes being sure that you drill all the way through.
- Follow your pilot holes with screws, I used 1”. Do this on both the left side and the right side until the top board is firmly adhered to the upper back half of the bookshelf frame.
- Next follow your lines to cut off excess wood. I used a jigsaw.
- It should look something like this once both backings are on. (Laying down)
- You’re going to do the middle shelf next. I used a 2x4 to make a sort of “support beam” for the middle shelf.
- Lay the bookshelf flat. Put your 2x4 on top of the frame lining it up with the top of the plywood.
- Using a straight edge and pencil make a line on the2x4 where you’re going to make your cut to remove the excess wood.
- ***NOTE When you measure and make your cut marks make sure you account for the wood being within the frame.
- Following your marks cut the excess wood off. I used a jigsaw
- Using a sheet of sandpaper, sand the edges and ends of the boards to remove any splintered wood.
- Once you know both 2x4’s fit evenly you can remove one so you’ll have room to screw in and attach the board sitting against the plywood.
- Make sure your board is secure and make two pilot holes
-Follow each of your pilot hole with a screw. I used a 2” screw.
- Repeat this step on the other side of the bookshelf as well.
- When the board is attached it should look something like this.
-Line your second board up with
the front edges of the bookshelf frame (this will leave a space in between the boards.
- Repeat the steps you took drilling your pilot holes and screws with this board, when you’re done it should look something like this.
- Next you’re going to reinforce the back plywood to the 2x4 sitting against it.
- Lay the shelf down flat so the back is facing up.
- Mark 5-6 dots where you’re going to drill in the screws
- Follow those dots with screws, I used 2” (I got a little help)
-Once all the screws are in there shouldn’t be any gaps between the plywood and 2x4.
-Now it’s time to put on the top of the shelf you worked so hard to create!
-The idea is to have it fit in nice and easy like this and if that’s how it works out for you then cheers to you!
-Somehow that wasn’t the case for me and my bookshelf top had somehow grown longer! Oh well no worries if this happens to you as well, just re-measure and trim off the excess. I used a jigsaw.
- Lay the shelf flat so you can work on it
- Mark the spots where you’ll make your pilot holes to attach the top and then follow those holes w/ screws. I used 1- 1/2” screws.
- Make sure when you’re attaching the top to the frame you drill into the board that your wood mosaic pieces are glued onto not the pieces themselves.
-Secure with screws along both the left and right sides as well as the back frame.
-It should look something like this once attached.
-Take this time to go over all the edges and corners with medium tooth sand paper by hand.
-Remove any sand dust or dirt with a cloth or brush.
-Now it’s time for the stain! (If you want to stain it)
-True to my Libra indecision I couldn’t quite make up my mind about the stain I wanted soooo….
- I started off using dark walnut then switched to honey…but who care right it’s wood stain not the cure to a deadly disease! So take your time figure out what you like and just go with it until you get what you want.
-I applied it with a brush to get the cracks and crevices and cloth for broader strokes.
- Continue on to stain the rest of the shelf with whatever color you decide to go with.
-Let the stain dry I gave it about a week in a well ventilated area.
-Once your stain is totally dry using a heavy duty duct tape create a boarder and line the sides and underneath of the top of the shelf.
- You want to boarder it in such a way that it will create a pool for the resin.
- **** NOTE Leave yourself tabs of tape to remove after the resin has set. Also I had A LOT of problems with this, I think primarily b/c I ran out of duct tape and tried to use masking tape…DO NOT USE MASKING TAPE or PAINTERS TAPE, it’s a real pain in the to remove after the resin sets. DO double, triple, and quadruple up on your duct tape boarders so your resin won’t leak and run out.
- Next choose whatever pebbles you like to fill in the gaps of your wood mosaic. Make sure they're washed and thoroughly dry to remove any dirt and water remnants.
- I’m a girl who likes a little sparkle in my stones so I added some little jewels here and there. This is totally optional of course.
-After you’ve poured your stones or whatever material you’ve chosen to fill the spaces mix the resin according to the instructions.
- I ended up needing a little more than what is pictured here. - After you’ve mixed your resin according to the instructions, pour your first thin layer to set the stones. - ****NOTE This was my first go w/ resin and what I learned is that you should mix gently and pour slowly to avoid bubbles. Be patient and take your time so your final piece is messed up by bubbles.
- Allow to set according to the time specified in the instructions for your resin. - Your first layer of resin is just so everything can set.
-The stones should not be completely submerged in resin at this point.
-Once you’ve poured your resin a lot of air might be trying to escape so have a toothpick or the like handy to pop any bubbles that surface.
- Keep an eye out for any resin running out of the tape and smooth it out. This is why your duct tape barricade is so crucial!
- Allow to set, I gave it two days but it sets pretty quickly.
- Once it’s completely dry you can remove the tape.
-The final step is adding your middle shelf. Just to be sure measure the area where the
middle shelf is going to go.
- For this shelf I used two pieces of pine that I already had and them cut them to equal lengths using a circle saw. 47"
- To adhere them to the 2 x 4’s I used three 2” nails. One at the far left, one in the middle and one to the far right.
- Repeat this step with both boards
-Go over the edges w/ a wood file
-Sand the entire surface w/ a fine grade of sandpaper, then wipe off any excess sand dust
- Finally I added a coat of stain to the to the final two boards.
- I used a brush then smoothed it over w/ a towel.
-I let this final stain dry for two days.
-My final step was coating the entire shelf, minus the resin top with a clear coat of satin finish polyurethane.
-I let this dry for three days.
-Finally I brought this inside and loaded em’ up with books! As always I had fun and learned a lot.
Hope you do the same. Thanks for reading & happy building!