Build house-shaped book shelves

Published: Monday, 25 September 2017

 

This week I'm sharing a different kind of DIY. As I've mentioned before, I LOVE making things, all sorts of things, and almost nothing is out of limits for me. If there's something I'd like to make but I've never done that before, I'm definitely jumping in that pool fully dressed. That's how I roll, because ultimately what I really love is learning new ways to be creative. And woodworking is one of them.

Now, I'm not going to go out and say I'm a pro-carpenter because I can use some tools and I have built a few things. I'm far, FAAAAAAR from it... which is why I think anyone could learn to build these little house-shaped shelves. They're easy, they require minimal tools and materials, and it's a great addition to a kids room... or your room. (Never grow up!!)

 

 

Want to build your own? Here's what you will need...

Materials:

  •  3 - 1" x 4" x 4' pine boards
  • wood glue, I used this Gorilla Glue
  • 1  1/4" finishing nails
  • craft or acrylic paint
  • protective top coat, I used my go-to Polycrylic in satin finish
  • flush mount picture hangers, like these ones

Tools:

  • miter saw (you can cut them with a hand saw and a miter box, but power tools make life easier)
  • hammer
  • level
  • measuring tape
  • heavy duty stapler with 5/16" staples (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 - 1" foam brushes (found at any craft store... or dollar store)

 

 

The first step will be to cut your pine boards to size. You can basically make these shelves in any size to fit your space, but as a guideline, these are the plans I made to cut mine...

 

NOTE: all the miter cuts are at a 45 degree angle.

Once you have all your pieces ready, it's time to assemble them. I first did a "dry fit" to make sure all the pieces were the right size and it would all fit the way I had planned it.

 

 

When you are satisfied with the way everything fits together, you can start the 'real' assembly. I glued and nailed everything, allowing the glue to dry on one joint before adding another piece. The building process goes pretty quick, since you can assemble all three houses at once, and the Gorilla Glue really does dry fast.

 

 

Once I had each house assembled and fully dry, I stapled the joints on the back of the houses to make the bond extra strong and secured. These pieces aren't going anywhere.

 

 

Sand the whole thing really well, specially the edges and corners, making sure everything is super smooth to the touch and there is no dried glue showing along the joints. You may also want to putty over some of the nails and interior edges (where you will be painting), and sand well once the putty dries.

And there you have it... your first little house shelf is built. You can leave it like this if you're going for a more natural wood look, and I really debated doing that and just adding a protective coat. But my daughter's room is painted in a very light and neutral white-grey, so I thought adding a splash of colour to the mix would probably work better for the space.

If that's the route you want to go, now it's time to paint. You can use any craft paint or acrylic paint... or any other paint you have left over, really. For the pink and blue houses I used craft paint, and for the yellow house I actually used exterior enamel paint that I had from when I painted my front door, because I love the colour... and I had it on hand. Use what you have.

 

 

To be honest, I didn't even tape the edges, because I'm lazy like that. I just used the foam brush and went slowly around the edges and corners to avoid mistakes. I did 2 (maybe 3 ?) coats of paint on each colour. Craft paint dries in no time, so you won't even have to wait much in between coats. Quick, quick, quick... done!

To finish it and protect it, I gave everything 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic in satin finish, sanding very VERY lightly in between coats (I didn't want it to be too shiny, but if you do, you could use a semi-gloss or gloss finish). I use this polycrylic ALL THE TIME. It dries much faster than regular polyurethane and it is water based, so you won't have to open all the windows in your house to use it.

When everything is dry, add wood glue on the sides of the shelves you want to join together, and clamp them carefully making sure not to ruin the paint job (you could also use really heavy books... that's what books are for, right?).

Finish it all up by adding 2 flush mount picture hangers at the back, were the house-shelves meet. Sorry I don't have a picture of this, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory, no?

And that is that!

 

 

I really love how they turned out. These little houses are bright, colourful and playful. And they are so functional! They are right by my daughter's bed, so she can easily reach for books to read at bedtime.

 

 

And she can use them to display all her little trinkets. Full disclosure here... these shelves are NEVER this tidy. They usually exhibit her carefully curated array of unidentifiable treasures (pick your battles, mom).

 

 

What I really love about her room, though, is that I can see my handmade touch in almost every corner of the space. And that makes me so happy.

 

 

At some point I will probably share other tutorials on how to make these items, and all the other items I made for her room (which you can't see here).

As for the unicorn head, you can find these beauties in my Etsy shop, alongside the equally awesome deer heads.

 

 

Later Gator,

Julia (with an H)

 

PIN ME:

 

 

 

 

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