How to build a D.I.Y. slatted shelving unit

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How to build a D.I.Y. slatted shelving unit

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Project Overview

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 décor and is a handy place to put items on display. Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Have the timber pre-cut at Bunnings
2 Make the sides for the shelf unit
3 Build the frame
4 Attach the slats
5 Putty and sand the shelves
6 Paint the shelves
7 Attach the legs
8 Attach the bottom shelf
9 Attach the inserts
10 Putty and sand the shelf unit
11 Varnish the timber
12 Looks fantastic
  • Step 1. Have the timber pre-cut at Bunnings

    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)
  • Step 2. Make 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.
  • Step 3. Build 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.
  • Step 4. Attach 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.
  • Step 5. Putty 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.
  • Step 6. Paint 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.
  • Step 7. Attach 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.
  • Step 8. Attach 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.
  • Step 9. Attach 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.
  • Step 10. Putty 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.
  • Step 11. Varnish the timber

    To finish off your slatted shelf unit, apply a coat of varnish with a paintbrush.
  • Step 12. Looks 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!
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