Make Yourself an Awesome Little Shelf

IMG_6543 The conversation I had with my little brother on his birthday...

Me- "Happy Birthday!"

Bro- "Thanks"

Me- "What do you want to do.. want to come over, I'll make you something, anything you want…donuts, cake, pizza…"

Bro- "Make me a shelf, I got like seven books for my birthday"

Me- "Um, ok… what are you thinking?"

Bro- "Something to hold like seven books"

Yup, he got "like seven" books and needed a shelf……. I guess I didn't realize that "like seven" was a unit of measurement. Man, I love my little brother,  but sometime I wonder about the kid. Anyway, Being that coolest big sister he's got (and coolest big brother in law who did most of the work), we went along and made him a  shelf. Hopefully it holds those "like seven books".

IMG_6419Here is the list of what you will need to make the exact shelf with the same measurements that we used…but feel free to use and adjust the measurements to your want or need.

  • 2 pieces of 1x8 common pine measuring 25 1/2 inches (sides)
  • 2 pieces of 1x8 common pine measuring 17 1/2 (top and bottom)
  • 1  piece od 1x8 common pine measuring 16 inches (middle shelf)
  • 2 pieces of 1x8  common pine measuring 4 inches (legs)
  • Wood glue
  • About 20 (having a few extra never hurt) 2 1/4 inch finishing screws


  • Drill
  • Either a circular saw or a chop box to cut the legs
  • Measuring tape
  • Speed Square or something to make a perfect straight line


The legs are the hardest part to make and really, it's so not hard. Take both 4" pieces of pine and cut in half ( each piece will end up being 3  5/8".. how is that you ask? Well here is some knowledge… 1x8  pine actually measures 7  1/2 "…. nuts right?) With each piece, measure an inch in on the bottom and side…Draw a vertical line to connect and  then cut the line. Repeat last step with the second piece you just cut, then repeat the whole processes with the second piece  of 4" pine. These words seem a little confusing, just look at the picture above, it has all the measurements on it too. In the end, you should end up with 4 legs.

IMG_6445Take one of the 17 1/2" pieces and with a straight edge, draw two lines form opposite corners to find dead center.  Measure 8" from center on each line, that is where the legs are going to be placed. Working with one leg at a time, add a smear of wood glue to each leg as you are about to screw it down. Place leg on mark and sink a screw about an inch up from the inside of the leg, screwing at a slight angle (see photo)..

Phew.. this is the most complicated part of the whole shelf so once you get the legs on… its all smooth sailing.


Flip bottom onto legs and sink a screw in (1 inch in on both sides) into each leg.

IMG_6468Now grab the top piece (17 1/2 ") piece and the two sides pieces (25 1/2"). Add a bit of wood glue to the side ends and line up top piece with the sides.  Sink 2 screws into each side. If you have another person helping, have them hold the pieces for you while you screw the top into the sides.. if not, use the bottom to rest a side against (like in picture). 

IMG_6483Now flip over and screw the bottom piece into the sides……


Take a minutre…. Look at what you have accomplished! You have a kick ass square with legs!

Now place the shelf. We went for just about center.. 12 1/2"  from the bottom. Mark the measurements on both sides and use a square edge to draw a line.

IMG_6515Place shelf on the lines (The wood should fit in tight, you might even have to bang it a bit to get it into place….but you want it to fit nice and snug.) Now screw the shelf…two screws on each side.


Flip onto legs and ……….TA DA!!!! So Fancy!

 You now have a shelf to shelf things.. Simple as that. And I tested it out…It holds more the "like seven" books. A success! 

Note…...If you are feeling like you need to, use a little wood putty to fill in the screw holes. You can sand it if you want. You might even want to stain or paint it. Up to you. The shelf is made and is yours to do what you will. Me, I like it just the way it is.

If anyone out there takes this little shelf project up.. let me know how it goes, maybe even send a picture…and feel free to ask any questions!

Have fun building awesomeness!