How to Build Box Shelves

Box shelves are perhaps one of the easiest and most rewarding DIY woodworking projects you can take up. They require fewer tools and materials, are simple to make, and the end result is practical and useful at the same time. Not to mention, box shelves are highly versatile, and they can be placed anywhere in your bedroom, living room, and even your laundry room.

If you want to build these sleek and handy shelves for your house, keep reading this step-by-step guide on how to build box shelves from plywood. The thickness of the wood makes these shelves quite sturdy, so they are strong enough to store anything in.

Benefits of Building Box Shelves At Home

If you are on the fence about building box shelves yourself, you should consider the advantages you will enjoy. While it might sound easy to buy box shelves online or at stores, it will likely be more expensive. Most of the materials needed to build these shelves are likely with you at home already. Hence, the process will definitely be much cheaper.

Here are the other benefits of building box shelves at home:

  • Convenient and straightforward process
  • You can customize it in terms of shape, size, and design
  • It is not time-consuming
  • You can make as many as you want
  • It can be made with various types of wood

Building Box Shelves

This guide will discuss how to build box shelves that are easy to construct but can be used for many things. You can store anything from books, supplies, appliances, games, and toys for kids. You can also place them in your laundry room and put all your laundry supplies in them.

These shelves can be customized according to the size you want. So if you have a small room, you can make smaller box shelves that fit the dimension. Moreover, you can also paint them once you are done to match the room’s aesthetic. Painting these shelves could be a fun activity you can do with the kids as well!

All in all, this is an inexpensive, easy, and simple DIY project you can take up on your own or with kids that will prove to be quite beneficial and useful. It will probably only take you a day to build these shelves. The next day you can spend priming, painting, adding finishing touches to them, and hanging and arranging them on the wall.

To build these wall box shelves, you simply need four wooden planks of your desired size and fasten them together using drills, glue, and other tools. So, without further ado, let’s get started on how to build box shelves from scratch!

Supplies You May Need

You should have these necessary tools and materials lined up before you begin working on this project, as it will help you save time. You will need the following tools and materials:

Tools You Need

  • 3/8-in. brad point drill bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Brad nail gun
  • Clamps
  • Drill bit set
  • Cordless drill or driver
  • Framing square
  • Circular saw
  • Straightedge

Materials You Need

  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Polyurethane
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Plywood boards that have void-free edges
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Box Shelves

Here’s how to build these super simple, practical, and versatile box shelves for your home:

Step 1: Cut the Wooden Board

The first thing you need to do is cut the plywood boards that you will use to make the shelves. However, before you do that, it would be helpful to measure the area you want to hang them in first. Use measuring tape to see how big your box shelves should be.

Once you have done that, it is time to cut the plywood into the appropriate size. Normally, box shelves use plywood that is 11/4 inch wide strips. You will need to pay extra attention during this step if you use a circular saw for the first time. Alternatively, getting these plywood strips cut by a professional carpenter is also an option worth considering.

Make sure that all the dings, uneven parts, and dents are also cut out. More importantly, each piece of the plywood should be of the same exact width and size. This will allow you to make perfectly even and sturdier box shelves. You can stack them together and then cut them to achieve completely even box shelves.

Step 2: Fasten the Sides Together

Once you have all of the plywood cut-out pieces, it is time to assemble them. This might sound easy, but it requires careful concentration. You need the box to be sturdy and able to withstand tons of weight without breaking, which is why fastening them together will require the use of nailing and gluing both.

Firstly, you will need to place the adjacent wood pieces to make a box shelf. Clamp them together. You can also place them on carpenters square if you have them. This will ensure that these boards make a 90-degree angle when attached together.

You should apply wood glue to the edges of both boards once you have clamped them. Then, bring them together. Then nail the corners with 1-1/2 inch brad nails and your drill. You should drive three nails in each corner in order to hold them together.

Step 3: Attach the Back

Once all the three boards have been attached together, you must leave the shelf for a while. Now, it’s time to attach the back. This is what will help the shelf retain its square shape.

The back panels of the shelf will be slightly smaller in size than the other three panel boards. This will leave a gap along each edge, which will make the shelf less prominent once the box has been installed.

To attach the back panel to the shelf, you will need to follow the same method. Simply apply the glue along the edges of the panel and then drive in three nails and drill.

Step 4: Connect the Boxes

Once the box has been assembled, you will need to sand the surface using 120-grit sandpaper. This will smooth out any edges and rough spots, leaving behind dust. With a clean cloth, wipe away this dust.

If you don’t want the nails on your shelf to be visible, you will need to sink them into the board. For this, countersink the screw head by gently driving the nail further down in the board with a hammer. Then, fill in the holes with a 3/8inch screw hole button.

Step 5: Apply Finish and Paint

Once you have sanded and hidden all the screws in the box shelves, it is time to add the finishing touches. Depending on what type of bookshelves you want, you can add various types of finishes, varnish, or paint.

If you plan to paint the wall box shelves, you should first apply a latex primer. You should use foam rollers to apply the primer and then use brushes to prime the corners and edges. Let the primer dry for a few hours, and then sand the shelf again with 120-grit sandpaper. After this, you must apply the paint.

Additionally, you can apply a coat of stain and then two coats of water-based polyurethane. Once the paint, stain, and primer layers have dried, you can screw the boxes together and hang them on the wall.

Step 6: Hang and Arrange the Box Shelves

To hang the box shelves on the wall, you will need to drill two 1/8 inch pilot holes. Then drive 2-1/2 inch screws into the stud at the pilot holes. You can also spray paint these screws before driving them in. If you don’t have studs, you can use self-drilling anchors. Fasten the box shelf to the wall using the screws included in the anchors.

All of this will ensure that your shelves are firmly placed on the wall and will not move no matter how many things you put in them. Once done, you can arrange the wall box shelves however you like. You can arrange them all together or leave space between each shelf. The latter would also form compartments.

The Bottom Line

Box shelves are an excellent option if you want to make extra space in the house for storage. Unlike bookcases that occupy floor space, these shelves are floating and attached to the wall, making them perfect for even the smallest and most crowded rooms.

Box shelves might be expensive to buy, which is why you can easily make them at home. It will be a fun DIY activity and be more affordable. Now that you know how to make box shelves at home, you might already be aware of how easy the process is. Give this easy woodworking project a try, and it will definitely be worthwhile!

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