How to make a kids display shelf

Errol, Team member
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How to make a kids display shelf

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Project Overview

Every room needs more storage space, especially bedrooms. These display shelves are the perfect solution and they look great too. They’re really easy to make and your kids will love showing off their favourite books, toys and artwork on them. Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Pre-cut the timber to size
2 Measure and mark for the shelf ends
3 Cut the ends of the shelf to size
4 Assemble the shelf
5 Attach the ends of the shelf
6 Mark your rail position
7 Attach the front rail
8 Putty up the holes
9 Paint the shelf
10 Fix the shelf to the wall
  • Step 1. Pre-cut the timber to size

    Before you start this project, you can make it easier by having your timber pre-cut at your local Bunnings. We had our Tasmanian oak hardwood cut to 2 x 600mm lengths with an extra length needed for the shelf ends.

  • Step 2. Measure and mark for the shelf ends

    To create the shelf ends, measure out two lengths of 70mm on your spare hardwood for the ends and make your mark.

  • Step 3. Cut the ends of the shelf to size

    With your safety gear on, use a drop saw to cut your timber to size for the shelf ends.

  • Step 4. Assemble the shelf

    Run a bead of glue along the edges of both 600mm timber lengths. Then create an L-shape with the edges flush. Secure them with a fixing gun and 50mm brad nails. 

  • Step 5. Attach the ends of the shelf

    Apply a bead of PVA glue to the bottoms of the shelf ends. Put them in place, making sure the edges are flush. Turn the shelf over and use the fixing gun and 50mm brads to fix them in place.

  • Step 6. Mark your rail position

    Find the halfway mark on the shelf sides with a tape measure and mark at the front. Use the T-square to make the lines straight. The 20mm D moulding for the front rail of the shelf will be attached just above this line.  

  • Step 7. Attach the front rail

    Put the front rail in place so that it’s sitting just above where you marked. Use the fixing gun and the 15mm brads to attach the rail to the front of the shelf. Due to the thin moulding, another method of attaching the rail is to pre-drill using a 1mm drill bit and attach with a 20mm screw.

  • Step 8. Putty up the holes

    To clean up your shelf, use wood putty and a putty knife to fill the nail holes. Then let it dry and sand back with the 120 grit sandpaper for a great finish.

  • Step 9. Paint the shelf

    Before you start painting, tape up the parts of the shelf you want to protect. We painted the front rail with a colour called peppermint pie. The rest of the shelf was varnished to protect the timber and bring out the natural grain. Apply as many coats as necessary, leaving it to dry between coats.
  • Step 10. Fix the shelf to the wall

    Once the paint and varnish have dried, it’s time to fix the shelf to the wall. For a plaster wall like ours, we pre-drilled the holes and attached the shelf using 40mm hollow wall anchors. Now it’s time for your kids to display their favourite books, toys and art on.

Tools and Materials


  • Clamps
  • Cordless screwdriver with Phillips head bit
  • 4mm wood bit
  • Drop saw
  • Drop sheet
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Nail gun
  • Pencil
  • Putty knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Small paint brush
  • T-square


  • 90mm x 19mm oak hardwood
  • 600mm x 20mm D moulding
  • 40mm wall anchors
  • 15mm and 50mm brad nails
  • Paint
  • PVA wood glue
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Wood putty
  • Wood stain or varnish

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