As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
This project was built in 2006, and this article was written at the time to go with it. In 2017 I revisited this project and made a short video where I discussed how I designed it.
Kids make things. They make crafts. They draw pictures. They bring things home from Sunday School. They collect stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff.
So we decided we needed to add some shelves to our sons' room, to give them a place to put this stuff.
At first, you might not think this is such a big deal, but I actually gave it a lot of thought, and made several different plans before settling on our final design.
For instance, we don't want things falling off the shelf, (some of their things have wheels,) so a small lip at the front of the shelf was needed. We also don't want them fighting over whose is whose, so we concluded that two shelf units were needed. We also wanted to find a way to let them hang up paper or drawings, so a section of cork board was incorporated.
Then on a purely design side, I wanted this to have an Arts-and-Crafts style to it. I also thought it would be neat to incorporate a wrought iron (looking) hook.
Here are the final design that we came up with, and then here are also some photos of the finished project.
The wood is cherry. The letters are walnut (from Lee Valley). The cork are one-quarter-inch-thick cork tiles from Rona. I glued two together to give something thicker, and then ripped them down to two inches wide to make a strip. These were glued in after all the finishing was complete.
The finish is one coat of shellac (dissolved from flake), followed by 2 coats of water-based Flecto Varathane. (Three coats on the top of the shelves.) Finally, after 2 days to cure, I buffed in some paste furniture wax.
Being shelves for kids, this is the right time to pull out the varathane, I think!
Just for fun, here are two of the earlier design ideas that were considered. I did like the angled board look of this first design, but decided it did not look like Arts and Crafts, which was my goal.
This other design was abandoned simply because it looked too ordinary. This is the sort of shelf you could expect to get at Wal-Mart or Ikea. All the back boards are the same width, which would suit mass production. I want my furniture to look like custom furniture. In my shelves, all four of the back boards are different widths, and three different lengths.