In our nursery, the book situation was a little…blah. For the longest time we used a basic – so basic it was ugly – cabinet that I came to regret the 20 dollars it costed. If you don’t like an item, even 10 cents are too many.
Enter the DIY bookcase ledges. A project so simple that I was bound to make it difficult.
For one, I nailed the 5 ledges twice. Because the first time, even with my painstaking attention to detail, my brain was – apparently – in a completely different dimension than the rest of me and so, I nailed every.single.ledge, wrong.
Even when I figured I had botched the nailing while I was doing the third ledge, somehow I went ahead and nailed the next two, also wrong.
Thankfully, because I was having a lazy day, I hadn’t used wood glue – only nails. Which makes for flimsy shelves that come apart easily. Win?
In that case it was win, as I could take the ledges apart and re-nail them right. They turned out fantastic! DIY wise, it is as simple as it gets and hardly world’s greatest woodwork.
However, they added so much dimension and practicality that I love them dearly. The small slice of wall they went on, was narrow, small and half hidden behind the door. It was a wasted space. Adding the horizontal ledges, created the illusion the wall is way wider and made the whole room look bigger.
Five 1 x 4 inches by 8 feet planks (we used pre-primed composite ones) to make the actual shelves
Three 1 x 2 inches by 8 feet, to make the front stopper piece (stops books from sliding off)
50 galvanized finishing nails and ten 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) screws for mounting on the wall
1. Cut the 4″ x 8’s – or have them cut – in half.
2. Glue and nail the two halves perpendicularly, trying NOT to mess up such a simple task – like I did. If you glue, I strongly suggest you use clamps – there is no way around that if you want a good fit.
3. If you are doing this alone and have a toddler to keep an eye on, improvise a way to stabilize your contraption in your living room, so you nail the front ledge. Depending on how good you are in Tetris you can end up with something like this:
4. Find the studs and screw the first shelf. Use all means available to ensure that first shelf is level. We used this Auto-Leveling Laser with Stud Sensor (<-affiliate link).
We still messed up – because we are awesome like that – even though we had the right tool and professional help:
We only missed two out of the ten drills so, all in all, it was a good day. I am not afraid of patching (will show you my masterpieces soon) and it was a very quick fix.
5. Using the first shelf as guide, measure equal vertical distances, adding your bookshelves starting from the bottom and working up (will make your life way easier). I gave plenty of height – 15 inches – between shelves to allow for large books to fit nicely.
6. Step back and admire your handiwork.
7. Feel proud and satisfied.
8. Realize that you still need to fill, sand and paint but decide to leave that for another day, because you just can’t wait to see how they look with books on them.
9. Pour yourself the beverage of your choice and continue admiring your awesome DIY.
Following advice no 8, I started adding books. A tricky thing to add, as The Cute kept stealing them. Eventually, I persevered:
Total cost for 5 bookshelf ledges made out of composite boards, each shelf four feet long, was – rounded up – about 56 dollars (hm, maybe we could find a cheaper material?). Plus 50 nails (10 per shelf) and 10 screws (two per shelf). The ledges are up a full week now and there has be no change in their shape. They are not to climb on but they hold all those books you see in the pictures, without budging one bit.
LIKE IT? PIN IT!
Even unpainted, they look beautiful! Love them, love them, love them! That slice of wall went from being useless (and narrow looking), to be super practical, full of interest and the most alluring kind of gallery wall in my book (oh a pun!) there is.