How to Make and Install Hungarian Shelves




About: I try to be a happy man

First time I saw these shelves was in Budapest, at a friends apartment. I was told they had been designed by a physicist. That's why I think they are safe. The ones in the photos have been up for more than a year now.

Step 1: The Model 240 Cm by 240 Cm

This is just one model. You can personalize the design to fit your needs.

Step 2: The Materials

For the model showed in Step1 the materials are:

4 sticks of pine of 240 cm by 5 cm by 6 cm (5 is front; 6 is deep) (photo1)
6 selves of DM of 240 cm by 22 cm by 3 cm (photo2)
4 wall metal peg screws to hold large weigths (one for each stick) (photo3)
12 regular wall plastic peg screws to hold medium weigths (three for each stick) (photo4)

Step 3: Cut Off Mortices on Sticks and Shelves

The whole set is assembled like pieces in a puzzle without glue or screws.

In the sticks make a mortice for every shelf.
In the shelves make a mortice for every stick.

In our case this means 6 mortices in each stick and 4 mortices in each shelf.

As a rule, in sticks make a mortice 2/3 deep of the side of the stick and in shelves make a mortice 1/3 deep of the side of the stick. (In the example this means 4 cm in sticks and 2 cm in shelves because the side of the stick is 6 cm).

Step 4: Hold Vertical Sticks on the Wall

Use the strong screw in the middle of the stick.

Check verticality with a bubble level.

Fix the other 3 screws in every stick.

Step 5: Finishing

Once all the sticks are on the wall, assemble the shelves and VOILA! you have it done.



The last thing to do is to insert wedges of wood under all the shelves and in every stick untill all the shelves are ortogonal (=perpendicular) (=90 degres) to the sticks.

Step 6: Another Example

This is another one we made for a "used things" shop in our city.

It is 15 meters wide and 2,5 meters high with vertical sticks every 0,5 meters.

It was made with all kind of particles boards we had around.

As it can be seen in the photo it has no mortices in the selves --just in the vertical sticks-- and it works too.

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295 Discussions


Tip 1 year ago

Put them on top of some cabinets and get this modernist built-in look ;)


1 year ago

Outstanding! I'm remodeling my home and this 'ible is perfect for my office. It will be 2 months before I have walls. I'll send a photo then. Love it and can't wait.


omg this is perfect...did you just measure out each one to the longer you by chance have your measurements :)

I will take some close ups when I get a chance but there really isn't much to see in the corner. The problem I ran into early in the project was that there wasn't a stud to screw into on the left side in the corner. So I just used the verticals you see to keep it even. The left side shelves extend all the way to the wall but aren't attached to anything there. The right side shelves just butt up to the left side shelves but also aren't attached to anything there either. I thought about doing a 45 degree cut at the corner but then you can't slide the shelves into grooves.

ok here are some more pics of the supershelves somewhat filled in with lots of nick nacks. I put the 6 foot ladder in to show some perspective as to how big they are since the previous picture just didn't seem to do justice to the actual size. Very boring corner shot included as promised. Also a close up of the beveled verticals for your viewing pleasure. Also I didn't do the little wedges on the bottom as stated in the instructable. I just cut them to exact size and then had to readjust some. Some were still pretty tight but nothing a good mallet couldn't handle. Ps. the house is for sale, shelves included lol


These shelves are F%^&*ING awesome!!!!! I'm totally stealing this design for my difficult living room, which will become my difficult library.

The verticals are 2x4's screwed directly into the studs. The horizontals are 1x8's and are not screwed in to anything. They are stained with General Finish brand water based stains Espresso (vertical) and Rosewood (horizontal) though they sort of just look black in the photo. Total cost ~$120 because I used the premium pine 1x8's. All in all a very easy project and lots of positive feedback from friends.


2 years ago

My friend and I made this to hold my VHS collection. 7' tall and 10' long , It worked so well, We then made one to hold my cookbooks. My only problem is now my kids come over and look, and borrow my videos, with Mom I didn't know you had this movie. Great shelving system. Thax You for the idea.


2 years ago

I've stored many Hungarians on these shelves (you'd be surprised how easily they pack!) until I finally lost them all in a move...good times... =)


3 years ago

where do you get the wedges?


3 years ago



3 years ago on Introduction

Beautiful — thank you very much. I have been looking for just this for years, I thought I had come up with the design but wasn't sure where the screws should go. Strange that I'm in Hungary ....!


10 years ago on Introduction

Thanks so much for posting this instructable! I spent the past few weekends building these for my wife. I think they turned out pretty well and now we have a place for our books!

1 reply