French Cleated Shelves
I should start by saying, we live in a cozy sized home and storage is a premium. My wife and I have wanted to build some shelves to keep all of our family games on – so that we can reclaim the space for a pantry. I have always liked the idea of French Cleats as it allows me an amount of versatility. What I especially like is I can add and take shelves away as needed.
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Step 1: Cut to Size
I started by cutting down some pre-primed pine I bought at Home Depot. I chose both 6 and 8-inch 3/4 stock. The pictures only shows me making some 8-inch boxes, but the steps apply to any size you wish to make. I made 12 x 12 and 18 x 24 inch boxes that you’ll see here. The cleats are made out of some 4-inch pine as well as the bottom rail spacer.
The cuts were:
2 @ 12"
2 @ 10.5"
2 @ 18"
2 @ 22.5"
Cleat and Spacer
1 each @ 12"
1 each @ 18'
Step 2: Cleats
Make the cleats by setting your table saw to 45 degrees and ripping the 4" stock in half.
Step 3: Sanding
I sanded all the pieces a bit to knock down some of the primer and other imperfections.
Step 4: Assemble
I then glued and pinned the pieces together using some 18 gauge brads. The whole point of the cleat system is to have two lengths cut at 45-degree angles to lock the shelf into place against the wall. The small piece at the bottom of the box is a spacer for keeping it flat against the wall.
Step 5: Sanding the Joints
I then sanded the boxes down again, smoothing out the joints. Not shown in the tutorial is I filled the nail holes, sanded again and then painted the boxes and the cleats. I used three different colors of paint, which matched the palette of our living room.
Step 6: Mount the Cleats
I found the wall studs with a stud finder and pre drilled my cleats. I used 3-inch screws for mounting the cleats and leveled them as I went.
Step 7: Add the Boxes
I then placed the shelves as desired onto the cleat. My intention is to keep the shelves spaced apart, but the cleated system allows for you to place all the boxes/shelves side by side so that you get a shelf and then additional storage below inside the box.
*** Not shown is, I made a 36 x 18 and a 24 x 24 inch box for another part of the house. I also made a cleat to go across the middle of the 24 x 24 inch box to hang a 12 x 12 box inside of it – for kind of a shadow box effect.
Step 8: Enjoy
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