In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I have almost no experience cutting wood. To be very honest, before doing this project I didn’t even remember when was the last time I had cut wood. I still don’t. I didn’t choose to do this project because I’m particularly good at this kind of thing. I haven’t taken an arts & crafts class in over a decade. I chose this project because I’ve always been a bookworm and I own lots of books -- I never really got used to eReaders... Even my grandma surrendered to the Kindle and I still haven’t. My personal library has undergone near exponential growth since I went to college and, for that reason, I had to figure out how to keep it organized.
But that’s my story… What made you click on this thumbnail?
Do you own books? Do you collect issues of a particular magazine? Do you have dozens of comics in your room? Regardless of the type of publication you enjoy reading... if you own enough books/ magazines/ comics but no bookends, chances are you're stacking them at this point by putting one on top of another and another one on top of that one and so on...
Let's face it, stacking any kind of publication like that makes it less accessible. Organizing your books/ magazines/ comics like I did in the picture above makes it more likely that you'll read them again after they leave your bedside or desk.
So unstack your mess and make yourself a pair of bookends! By following the instructions below, you'll make your personal library more aesthetically pleasing, accessible and organized.
Step 1: WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Black Sharpie marker (x1)
- Hollow plastic animal (x1)
- +/- 5" long x 4" tall
Quadrupeds are ideal (i.e.: avoid monkeys, birds, kangaroos, etc.)
- Hot glue gun (x1)
- Glue stick (x1)
- Measuring tape (x1)
- Small fine tooth saw (x1)
- Scrap wood plank (x2)
+/- 10" long x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick
- Spray paint (x1)
- Color of your preference
Step 2: THE FOUNDATION: Marking and Cutting Your Wood Planks
Marking your wood planks:
- Place one of your wood planks on a flat surface so that one of the two +/- 10" x 3.5" is facing up.
- Using your measuring tape and Sharpie marker, draw a small dot on one of the two longer edges facing up leaving +/- 6" of wood on one side of the dot and +/- 4" on the other.
- Draw a corresponding dot on the other longer (parallel) edge facing up.
- Turn your wood plank so that one of the two +/- 10" x 1/2" sides is facing up and draw another corresponding small dot on the longer edge leaving +/- 6" of wood on one side of the dot and +/- 4" on the other.
- You should now be able to draw a straight dotted line connecting all three dots.
Cutting your wood planks:
- Place your wood plank on a flat surface so that the +/- 10" x 1/2" side on which you drew the dots and dotted line is facing up.
- Hold down one end of your wood plank firmly against the flat surface on which you are working and use your fine tooth saw to cut the plank along the dotted line you drew.
- You should now have two smaller pieces: a +/- 6" long x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick piece and a +/- 4" long x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick.
Repeat all the substeps above (from Step #2) for the remaining +/- 10" long x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick wood plank.
Step 3: THE 3-DIMENSIONAL "L": Gluing Your Pieces of Wood Together
- Load your hot glue gun and run some glue along one of the 3.5" x 1/2" sides of one of your smaller pieces (+/- 4" long x 3.5" wide x 1/2" thick).
- Place one of your bigger pieces on a flat surface so that one of +/- 6" long x 3.5" sides is facing up.
- Stick the side of the smaller piece on which you ran the hot glue to one end of the side of the bigger piece that is facing up.
- Make sure their edges are perfectly aligned and press the smaller piece down against the bigger piece for about 1 minute. You should now have a 3-dimensional wooden "L".
- Leave your L-shaped wooden structure on a flat surface so that the smaller piece is in a vertical position and the bigger piece is in a horizontal position while the glue dries. The glue may take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes to dry, depending on the type of wood you're using.
Repeat all the substeps above (from Step #3) for your remaining nonidentical pieces of wood.
Step 4: THE "SLAUGHTER": Cutting Your Plastic Animal in Half
There's no need to worry, vegans -- it's only a cheap piece of plastic!
- Place the plastic animal you have chosen to work with on a flat surface standing on its 4 paws.
- Try picturing a perfect vertical straight line somewhere along its body between its back paws and its front paws. That's where you'll want to slice it! You might want to try drawing a dotted line around the plastic animal's body, but it won't necessarily help since its shape is probably irregular and its surface probably isn't very smooth.
- If you slice it in half along a slightly diagonal line, it won't look as good when you stick each half to your 3-dimensional wooden "Ls". Also, if you get as close as possible to slicing it along a perfect vertical straight line, each half will stick more firmly to your wooden structures.
- Now do it! Start by holding one end of the plastic animal (standing on its 4 paws) and pressing it down firmly against the flat surface. Use your fine tooth saw to cut from the top (moving towards the flat surface) along the imaginary straight vertical line described above. Once your saw penetrates the plastic surface, you may move and rotate the animal around as you go along if you feel like sawing it from a different angle will make the process of slicing it in half it easier.
Step 5: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER: Gluing Your Plastic Pieces to Your Wooden Pieces
The glue on both your L-shaped wooden structures should be dry by now.
- Rotate one of your wooden structures so that it is standing like a "L" on the flat surface on which you are working. The one +/- 4" x 3.5" side (of the smaller piece) should be facing down and the bigger piece should be in a vertical position.
- Run some hot glue around the cross section of one half of your plastic animal and shoot a drop of hot glue on each paw of that same half.
- Glue half of your plastic animal to your wooden structure so that the animal's cross section is touching the bigger piece (vertically positioned piece of wood) and the animal's paws are touching the smaller +/- 4" x 3.5" piece (horizontally positioned piece of wood).
- Make sure the plastic piece is standing firmly on the wooden structure and press the plastic piece against the wooden structure for about 2 minutes.
- Leave the whole thing drying in an upright position for about 15 minutes.
Repeat all the substeps above (from Step #5) for your remaining piece of plastic and wooden structure.
Step 6: COLORING TIME: Spray Painting Your Bookends
You're almost done!
- Spray paint each bookend with a single color in order to make it look like a single structure rather than three different pieces stuck together. Move it and rotate it to make sure you get every angle and don't miss any spots.
- Let each bookend dry for about 10-15 minutes.
- Spray paint an additional coat over each bookend.
- Repeat substeps 2 and 3 (from Step #6).
- Let your bookends dry completely. This should take approximately 24 hours (I know... I wasn't expecting it to take a full day either, but it'll be worth it).
Step 7: C’EST FINI: Enjoy!
- Get rid of your vertical/ slanted mess!
- Organize your books/ magazines/ comics by putting them beside each other rather than on top of each other and place a bookend on each end!
I really hope that this project helps you make your personal library more aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, however, I hope it makes your books more accessible. By making your books easier to find and/ or get, you might start reading more. Who knows? The habit of reading more than I'm obliged to definitely changed my life for the better and, if you're not a bookworm already, it could change yours too!