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A Children's Book Wall

Jennifer —  October 10, 2011

Asa's room needed storage for books.  I knew that storage for books would cost money and then art for the walls would also cost money.  What if I combined the two?  What if the books themselves became the art?  In a $100 room things have to take on double duty (just like with Asa's side table) to make it work.  This is what I came up with:

I am sure that there are a 1000 ways to DIY this children's bookshelf. My goals in building this bookshelf was to use what I had and buy just as much wood as needed.   This is what I purchased to make this happen:

  • Three 1 X 3 X 8ft boards (1.47 a pop)
  • Three boxes of thick elastic from the dollar store (1.75 a pop)
  • one pieces of flat trim (I am not sure for the technical term for this but it's by the quarter round and its 1/4 deep by 3/4 wide) $2.50 a pop
Here is what I had that I used:
  • a couple of yards of elastic that I had leftover from a sewing project a long time ago.
  • One more piece of flat trim leftover from trimming out my master bathroom (do you see why I don't throw away wood?)
  • Brass thumb tacks that I spray painted white (with leftover spray paint that I bought for other projects for the room)
  • brad nails
  • white paint (leftover from the fliphouse…we bought everything in bulk)
  • sand paper
  • wood filler
  • wood glue
  • White contact Paper
  • caulk – Asa's parents had this
Total Cost of the Book Wall:  $15.00 (with tax)
Tools needed:
  • Table Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • countersink drill bits
  • 3 inch gold wood screws
  • drill
  • large level
  • brad nailer
  • stud finder
  • exacto knife
Here is how I did it:
  • I cut each 1X3X8ft piece in half (I wanted the book wall to be 48 inches long)
  • Using a table saw I cut one inch off of each 1 x 3 board. (I had to do this 6 times)
  • I wood glued each newly cut 1 inch piece on top of the length of the now 1X2 board and clamped it while it dried. (note:  you could skip this step and buy 1X2 and 1×1 trim.  Since i was saving every dime it was cheaper to buy 1X3 and cut it into 1X2 and 1X1.  This saved me $10.00)
  • I put a few brad nails into the top of the glued piece to secure it.
  • I filled the seam and any imperfections with wood putty and let it dry
  • I sanded all 6 ledges
  • I painted all 6 ledges white
  • I measured the wall and figured out where I wanted the ledges to go and determined the distance between each one.  ( I started 5 inches above the floor trim)
  • I used a large level and drew lines with a pencil where I wanted the ledges to go
  • I marked the wall where the studs fell with painters tape
  • I measured (from the corner of the wall) the distance of the studs and then made ma

    rks on all 6 ledges at all three distances.  ( I wanted the ledges to go all the way to the corner.  There were three studs on the wall.  One was 11 inches from the corner, one was 32 inches from the corner and the last one was 43 inches from the corner.  So, on all 6 ledges I made a mark from the end at 11 inches, 32 inches, and 43 inches.)

  • I drilled a countersink hole into the front side of the 1X2 board.  (don't drill into the 1X1 trim you glued on top) Make sure you drill your hole in the middle of the 1X2 part of the ledge front)
  • I then drilled a pilot hole for the screw with a drill bit.
  • I lined up the actual ledge with the line that I drew with the level and held it into place.
  • The Hubs drilled a 3 inch wood screw into the ledge at the countersunk holes. Use gold wood screws.  The silver ones strip out easily. Now the ledges should be drilled into the  wall on a stud.
  • Repeat for all 6 ledges
  • Cut your flat trim into 12 pieces the distance between the ledges. (note:  the diagram below shows that the ledges are 3 inches tall.  They are in the front but against the wall they are 2 inches. see side view above)  The space between the top of a lower ledge and the bottom of an upper ledge was 12 inches.  Therefore, I cut my flat trim to be 12 inches.  (The top two flat trim were cut to 11 inches because of the crown molding)
  • Brad nail your flat trim into the wall between the ledges (the bottom of the flat trim touching the top of the bottom ledge against the wall and the top of the flat trim touching the bottom of the upper ledge against the wall)  IMPORTANT:  before you brad nail place a piece of elastic behind the flat trim so you can nail it into the wall with the brad nail.
  • Mark how high (from the bottom of the ledge) you nailed in the elastic.
  • Place the other side's piece of trim  where it should be.  Measure and mark where the elastic should be nailed in.  This is important so your piece of elastic is stretched across level.
  • Stretch the elastic across and nail behind the trim as you did the other side.
  • Use a box cutter or exacto knife to cut the elastic excess
  • Repeat this all the way to the top.  (I had my flat trim going all the way to the crown molding)
  • Caulk all your nail holes
  • Touch up paint if you need to
  • I cut small circles  of white contact paper to hide the countersunk screws.  Why?  Well, If Asa's parents or the next home owners ever wanted to take these ledges down it would be a gruesome demo if I wood filled the holes with the screws.  You can't really see the white contact paper unless you get really close.  Its only in three small places per ledge and now they can take down the ledges if they want to!
  • To secure the elastic even more I put a thumb tack into the wall right next to where the elastic goes behind the flat trim.  This is not necessary but I thought it looked cool!
Voila…You have lots of storage for books and an entire wall of art!
I hope this helps you!  Happy Monday!  Its wedding week for me!  Well, I am not getting married but I am doing the decor!
Thanks for reading,


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