The T-shelf in Paper (second Try)




About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (; now thinking about climate...

I was inspired by the T-shelves by J1 Studio- beautiful modal furniture that looks great and is held together by zip ties.

This is really take two- I did a paper prototype of this yesterday ( But after messing around with my little triangles-and-squares glued together model, I had to admit to myself that something was structurally wrong with my model. So I went back to the website and, with the help of my friends, realized how it was really supposed to be done! It's not tiny squares and triangles; it's bigger triangles with slots to fit them together!

I've really been enjoying working with the easy geometric shapes, so I thought I'd make a step-by-step so you could play along.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Cut Out Triangles and Slots

I used a Silhouette Cameo CNC paper cutter, but you could easily do the same with a sharp blade and a measuring tool.

Above is the design I used to cut- it makes 32 triangles, though I only used 19 in the shelf design I built. Basically, it's a triangle with two slots that go halfway through between the midpoint of each leg and the center of the hypotenuse.

Step 2: Build!

It's pretty easy- just slot pieces together! If you're looking for inspiration, go to J1 Studio's gallery page.

Use tacky glue to bind the edges (in the wood version, these are held together with zip ties).

Step 3: Finished!

Congratulations, you now have a small shelf! Or maybe not that small if you cut this out of cardboard or something. And it's much more structurally sound than my other prototype.

It works, so look for a full-sized wood version soon!

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea, SelkeyMoonbeam!
    But what about uploading the for all of us, who try to repeat your steps?
    Thanks in advance!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Tom,
    I don't think I ever saved the file, because it's so simple to make! It's very geometric; just draw lines within the Cameo software after defining paper size and grid dimensions, then copy the small lines down once you've got them lined up.
    Best of luck in your making- I'd love to see the results!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Looks very nice! I tried to make one but I just don't get how to put the pieces together :-(

    1 reply

    I'd say experiment with the pieces until you get the hang of it- you can try slotting them together and see what shape they make before you glue! Let me know if that works for you.
    I just built it up by looking at the picture. None of the pieces overlap (there's no piece that has two pieces of paper right on top of each other). The most confusing bit is adding the back- there is actually a straight seam between the front and the back, which you can just barely see subdividing the shelves in the third level in my picture.
    Does that help?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I'd like to try this with cardboard, it looks great.