Shelf brackets can be roughly classified as inexpensive and unattractive, or crazy expensive and attractive. Maybe there’s a middle ground there, but it is a bit fuzzy.
Speed squares can be inexpensive. And it turns out they make durable, and rather fun, shelf brackets.
And even better, it’s easy.
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Drawknife (if needed)
wood for shelving (dimensions up to you)
propane torch kit (it is cheaper to buy this at your local home improvement store)
titanium drill bits
Tools that will make the job easier
How to build the shelves
This isn’t so much a tutorial as a “what I did.” And really, it’s also covered in the video. If you prefer the look of dimensional wood as opposed to live edge, then go for it. If you use life edge you may need to clean up the edges a little. In the past I’ve used a sander. This time I got an inexpensive draw knife, and it was so much faster.
I then used a pencil to lightly draw out a pattern on the edge of each shelf. Because I like a guide. Next, I traced over the pencil lines with a scorch marker. A Scorch marker contains chemicals that burn readily, so that by passing a torch over it you will be able to burn your drawing into the wood.
It takes a little practice to figure out how much you want to burn, but the process is quite fun.
That’s about it for the shelves.
These brackets are $2.99 at Harbor Freight. That’s a steal.
These “brackets” are secured to the wall with two screws. I drilled the holes for the screws with a titanium drill bit using my drill press. You can probably do it with a drill, but you’ll have to hold the squares at a bit of an angel, so it can be awkward. I don’t have a picture of this, but you can check out the video. They actually drilled a lot easier than expected.
I painted the squares black, because the shelves they are supporting them are full of colorful goodness already. But a color would be really fun on these.
Put the shelves together
The shelves can simply sit on top of the brackets. But I wanted them to be a bit more secure, so I used my table saw to cut grooves on the underside of each shelf. The grooves are 16″ apart to line up with the wall studs. (Something I tested first, of course.) Make the grooves tight, but not so much that you cannot get the shelf to sit down on them.
That’s it. To assemble, screw the brackets into the wall, checking for level. Then pop the shelves down on top. That’s it.
How secure are these? They’ve held up in my kids’ playroom for a month or two now. I will say that my kids don’t climb on them, but they are shelves, not a climbing wall. If you want an indoor climbing wall tutorial that’s here.
What do you think? Yay or nay on the speed-square-as-brackets thing?
Here’s how the shelves look assembled:
This is a quick project to knock out, and fun to do. If you have any questions, shoot them my way. And if you make some, send a photo!