Levitating Bookshelf With Light (Magic Bookshelf)

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Introduction: Levitating Bookshelf With Light (Magic Bookshelf)

The magic bookshelf mysteriously levitates your books along the wall. But that's not it's only a trick. Open the bottom cover of the lowest book for a convenient reading light glowing from inside the pages.

Its magic!

Actually, it’s based off of the idea of the invisible shelf (https://www.instructables.com/id/Invisible-Book-Shelf/)(this is one of a few versions out there), which uses a book and l bracket as the shelf to make it seem like all the books are floating.

However, this bookshelf also houses a string of battery led lights inside the bottom book, transforming any wall into a covert reading nook, (magically of course).

Project Outline

  1. Acquire book cover
  2. Prepare the pages
  3. Make the pages
  4. Glue bracket and page base
  5. Glue pages
  6. Prepare the lights
  7. String the lights
  8. Secure the cover
  9. Mount it
  10. Feel proud as you cast levitate and light on your books

Supplies:

materials

  • The cover of a hardback book

  • A stack of 8.5x 11 paper (or whatever size fits your book)

  • L bracket, 3 1/2 in

  • 3/4 in screws x2

  • Other screws (or other objects of similar dimension to be used as pegs) x 9- 12

  • Dc Led string lights (i used these)

  • Velcro or command strips x1

  • Staples

  • Binder clips,x 1-4

tools

  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Glue gun and lots of glue
  • drill/bits (size may vary, i used 1/8in bits)
  • Stapler
  • Ruler, optional

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Step 1: Acquire a Book Cover

It should be from a hardcover book. Only the outer binding is required, so you can keep the contents intact if you want, or use a book that already has interior damage such as missing pages or water damage. A book that is Approximately 8.5 x11 is ideal both because it is a nice size for the shelf, and because it will be easier to make the false pages from printer paper later. It should also have some thickness, at least around an inch to fit the lighting components inside, but it also shouldn't be the size of War and Peace, unless you really want to cut a lot of paper in subsequent steps.

If you plan to use a different set of lights, make sure the entire string and battery pack will be able to fit in the space where the pages are in your chosen book.

Where to find books.

Homeless books are everywhere. Libraries and bookstores often throw away old unused volumes, so you can ask if they have any they could give you, or purchase for cheap. You can also find them at garage sales, in alleyways, around schools at the end of the year, or even at friends' houses (obviously ask first). I used a lone encyclopedia I found in a cardboard box outside a bookstore.

Once you have your book, remove the cover. If you want to preserve the interior, use a knife to cut the front and back cover carefully from the attached pages and slowly peel the spine back. If you don't care about the contents of the book, you don't need to be as careful. I performed delicate surgery to preserve my 30+-year-old single-volume encyclopedia text because I am a proud book hoarder.

Step 2: Make the Page Template

For the pages, you will need a stack of paper, about as many pages as the original book. You can also use the pages you removed if you don't want to save them. These steps cover making the false pages out of printer paper.

First, make a template. It will be the same dimensions as the pages, except hollowed out on the inside edges. Trace the outer edge of the book and make the inner edge .5-1 in into the interior on each side. Cut the template out. if your book is about 8x11 like mine, you don't have to do any cutting for the outer edge, which is why it's a good size to use.

Step 3: Make the Pages

Take a thin stack of paper, about 20-30 pages to start. Make the edges of the pile even and clip them together on the 3 sides you will cut with binder clips, and or staple them. Try to avoid lumps and unevenness in the paper. Trace the template onto the top page and cut out the stack.

Put the stack aside and repeat with more small stacks until you accumulate a pile of cut outs about the height of the original book. Cutting the stacks can be a bit tedious but also therapeutic. You can also save the unused inside cut for other things.

Play with stack size to figure out what thickness works best. it's alright if the interior cuts of the stacks don't line up exactly since they will not be visible. Also, It's usually good to put at least one staple in each small stack to hold it together, as larger piles can become unwieldy and difficult to keep stacked. Now, if you, or a ghost, cat etc comes and knocks the pile over, you don't have to pick hundreds of of individual papers up off the floor and restack them. Be sure to rotate the staple site between piles, otherwise they will make a lump when you put the stacks together in the final pile.

Step 4: Glue the Page Base and Brackets

Measure and mark the center point on the inside of the front cover. Position the l bracket facing up and glue or screw it down.

Next, lay the foundation for the pages. Take one of the smaller stapled piles and place it along the book edge over the square. Mark on the paper where it overlaps and cut that part out. Then glue the two pieces around the bracket to the cover of the book.

Step 5: Glue the Rest of the Pages

Take the rest of the page piles and put on top of the base you just made. To make the pile even, tap outer sides with something flat while pushing from the inside. Once they are even, make a line of hot glue connecting all the pages together at several points on the interior of the large stack. Fill in the rest of the inside edges with more glue or some other kind of adhesive, so that the pages become a single solid block.

Step 6: Prepare for the Lights

I used these lights but you can use any battery led string lights. Take the battery case for your lights and find a place for it inside the box. Putting it more towards the middle will make for more even light coverage, but putting it next to an edge can make it more convenient to string the lights. I did something in between (who needs definitive decisions).

Glue the box down, alternatively, if you want to string the lights from the other end, you should still trace the outline into the cover so you don't accidentally string the lights under it.

Next place and glue down the pegs that the lights will be strung around. I used some screws pointing out of the book, but you can use other things. I started off with 9 and ended up with 12 pegs for a string of 100 leds. Staggering the pegs will allow for more variation with stringing patterns.

Step 7: String the Lights

Make sure that the lights aren't tangled before gluing them down, because untangling lights is enough of a pain without one end glued to a book.

Glue down the beginning of the led sting, and wrap the lights around the pegs. Be sure the bulbs are facing out and vary the pattern so that the bulbs are spread relatively even. It helps to glue down sections next to the pegs every so often for stability. Towards the end of the string, I had to be a bit more strategic about placing and gluing so that all 100 leds fit inside the book. Take as much time, pegs and glue as you need.

After you secure the other end of the string, glue down any loose or hanging lights, you can turn the book over to test stability.

Step 8: Secure Cover Flap

Cut 2 small pieces of velcro or command strip, less than .5 in should be large enough. Attach one side to the top of the pages, one on each side of the book, and the corresponding piece to the matching location on the inside of the back cover. You may need to experiment to figure out what amount of velcro works best, it should hold the bottom cover closed when the square is facing up, but shouldn’t rip the top layer of paper that the velcro is attached to. Estimate less and add more if needed.

Step 9: Mount the Book

Pick a potential reading nook next to a wall, somewhere where the shelf will be relatively overhead when you sit (or lay, or however you position yourself while you read). Position the shelf, and mark on the wall where the screws will go. Then drill a pilot hole (this will vary depending on the bracket and screws, mine was ⅛ in), position the shelf bracket, drill the screws into the wall to secure it.

Step 10: Cast Light and Levitate on Your Books

Congratulations, you are now a very accomplished wizard who can levitate your books AND make them glow. Stack enough books to cover the bracket and adjust your lights to the desired setting. Pick a title off of your shelf, and read beneath the light of your new creation.

Warning, temporary confusion may occur in family, roommates, and friends as a result of observing the magic shelf without explanation. This is normal and also rather amusing, it will also go away after you show them how it works.

Enjoy, and feel free to provide feedback on my first instructable!

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    5 Discussions

    0
    oragamiunicorn
    oragamiunicorn

    13 days ago

    looks excellent in the photos, i agree with TimothyM116 that it would be nice to have the light come on when the book opens, also it would be a fiddle to change the battery, maybe a powerbank on velcro so it could be taken out for recharging.

    1
    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    17 days ago

    This is an amazing take on the floating shelf idea. I love the hidden lights! Thank you for sharing your work :-)
    Regarding step 3, if you squash the full required thickness of paper between two bits of scrap ply, you can cut the whole thing with one pass of a jigsaw (or a handsaw) which is _much_ faster :-)

    0
    veradysonn
    veradysonn

    18 days ago

    This is so brilliant and cost effective. It's indeed magical..haha. Thanks for sharing and inspring a new idea in me.

    0
    TimothyM116
    TimothyM116

    19 days ago

    The idea is brilliant. Congratulations. If I'll make something like this perhaps I would try to add a NO/NC switch so that it turns on automatically when you open the cover.

    You gave me some nice suggestions.

    Thank you

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    19 days ago

    Adding a hidden light to a levitating shelf is a great idea :)