Today I’m going to show you how I built these DIY triangle shelves for under $20. You can make anywhere from 6-10 of these out of a single 2′ x 4′ sheet of birch plywood depending on the size of the shelves you choose to make. Check out the video above for detailed visuals and let’s get to work.
STEP #1: MATERIALS
This project really only has one material so it’s super cheap and super easy. I purchased a single piece of 2′ x 4′ 3/4″ plywood from Lowes for this project for $16 (it’s actually .69″ instead of .75″ but I won’t tell if you don’t). Now you could upgrade the plywood to an even nicer Baltic Birch Ply (which I think has an awesome visual appeal) or even Walnut Ply if you wanted but that’ll put you over the $20 budget I’m showing you here. The key is that you can still achieve a cool look with a cheaper version and save yourself some cash which is what DIY is all about.
STEP #2: MAKING THE CUTS
Before you get to chopping your materials you’ve gotta figure out the dimensions you want for your shelves. For the video above I chose shelves 4″ deep by 12″ tall. This size is big enough for a few small items on the shelves like candles, succulents, small books, etc. The bigger you make the shelves the less of them you can make out of single piece obviously so be creative and think of the items you want to display in them once they’re finished and work backwards from there.
The pieces go together like this. Each overlaps the other creating a triangle. I’d recommend hitting the shelves with some sandpaper at this point just the clean up the joints before glue up. Something like 120 grit works well. Just clean up the edges so you get nice clean corners for glue up.
To glue up the shelves I used a new product from DAP called Rapid Fuse. Full disclosure, they sent this to me for free to test out so this was the first time I’ve used it. I was a little skeptical at first as to how strong it would be but if you check out the video above you’ll see that I tried to break it apart once the glue set up and I couldn’t do it. I even stood on it to see if it would come apart but no dice! Normally I’d probably use a traditional wood glue and use some brad nails to hold it together while the glue dried but the Rapid Fuse allowed me to glue it up and just use some painter’s tape for clamping pressure. Not having the brad nail holes to deal with was a nice bonus so I didn’t need any wood filler or anything. The glue set up in 30 mins and I could move onto finishing! Rapid Fuse doesn’t have as long of a working time (around 3 minutes) as traditional wood glue so make sure you get it glued up quick once you get started.
STEP #4: FINISHING
Once dried, all that was left to do was finish sand the shelves. I first hit the shelves with 120 grit sandpaper on the orbital sander and then 220 grit for final smoothing.
For finish I chose to hit the shelves with a Tung Oil finish. It brings out the grain in the ply and especially adds a contrast on the ply layers on the sides which I think looks awesome and also adds a protective varnish finish.
Here’s the finished product mounted to the wall! To mount the shelves I just used finish nails driven downward at an angle. You can carry a surprising amount of weight with that technique and more than enough to carry the weight of these shelves.
What I particularly like about these shelves is their versatility once built. You can really play with the design and layout of the shelves on the wall and make whatever design you want with them. You can space them out or consolidate them all together AND you can make changes over time if you just want to give the room a new feel without buying or building new shelving. It’s a very modular design so it’s up to you how you work with them!
Good luck and get to work!
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