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A slatted shelving unit in a brightly lit wooden themed room with a fur rug on the floor


Stylish and practical, this slatted shelf unit will look great in any living area of your home. It's easy to make, can be painted to match your decor and is a handy place to put items on display.


1Cut the timber

To make this project easier, we had most of the Tasmanian oak cut to size at Bunnings. Here's our cut list:

Cut the 65mm x 19mm oak to the following lengths:

  • 1200mm x 4 (frame)
  • 410mm x 4 (frame)
  • 500mm x 4 (frame)

Cut the 42mm x 19mm Tasmanian oak to the following lengths:

  • 410mm x 40 (tabletop slats)
  • 1162mm x 4 (slat battens)
Pieces of timber laid out on a workbench

2Make the sides for the shelf unit

Place one of the 1162mm x 42mm x 19mm pieces of Tasmanian oak on top of a 65mm x 19mm 1200mm length of timber. Make sure you leave room for the slats on the top and the side rails to finish flush. Join the timber with the fixing nails. Repeat for the other side.

Person using nail gun to nail timber pieces together

3Build the frame

Lay out the timber for the frame, starting with the 410mm lengths for the side pieces. Secure the timber using clamps, making sure the edges are flush. Then fix the frame together with the nail gun. 

Pieces of timber clamped together while person nails together

4Attach the slats

Using one of the slats as a spacer, evenly place the slats along the framework. Fix the slats with a nail gun using 32mm nails. If the final slats are slightly out, you can make small adjustments by repositioning the slats into an even space before fixing off. Repeat the above steps to build the second shelf. 

Person nailing slats to table frame

5Putty and sand the shelves

Putty up the nail holes. Allow to dry before giving it a light sand with the orbital sander using 120 grit sandpaper. Complete it by hand sanding the frame with a 240 grit sandpaper and block.

Person using putty to fill cracks in timber joins

6Paint the shelves

To paint the shelves, ensure you are in a well-ventilated area and wearing a respirator. Apply an undercoat first, spraying back and forth in an even motion across the frame. Once that has dried, apply the top coat colour of your choice.

Person applying undercoat layer to table using spray paint

7Attach the legs

Using a pre-cut 500mm timber leg, position one alongside the frame. Use a combination square to ensure it is flush with the top of the frame, then clamp into position and pre-drill using a 3mm drill bit. Set your countersink slightly deeper than the screw head and drill the countersink. Fix off using a Phillips head bit with two 50mm galvanised screws closest to the corner and 30mm galvanised screws on the other side. Repeat the same process for the remaining three legs.

Person attaching table legs to table using drill

8Attach the bottom shelf

Slot your bottom shelf in 120mm from the ground to the bottom of your lower shelf, mark its position using a combination square and pencil. Use the clamps to secure the framework. Use the same process to attach your lower shelf as you did to attach the legs. 

Person nailing shelves to frame

9Attach the inserts

Position the inserts against the framework between the top legs on the side. Attach them using the nail gun. Repeat for the bottom shelf.

Person nailing timber to shelving unit

10Putty and sand the shelf unit

To complete the look of your shelves, apply putty using a putty knife into all the visible screw and nail holes. Once the putty is dry, use an orbital sander with a 120 grit disc to smooth the putty.

Person sanding timber on shelving unit

11Varnish the timber

To finish off your slatted shelf unit, apply a coat of varnish with a paintbrush.

Person applying layer of varnish to shelving unit

12Looks fantastic

The job is done and your slatted shelf unit looks fantastic. Now all you have to do is decide where to put it and what to display on it!

Timber slat shelving unit with books, lamp and indoor pot plants
Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.