Last week I finally spilled the details on our new apartment! Let’s be real, I think I might be most excited about the fact that I have more rooms to build things for. Anyway! If you check out the apartment video, you’ll know that we are working with a pretty weird layout in our living room. So, to help make the space functional, but also practical (hello, storage), I built a custom DIY metal and wood bookshelf! Now, if you don’t weld, don’t run away yet – I’m going to show you how EASY it is to swap out these metal legs for wood ones in this tutorial. Let’s get started!
How To Build A Metal & Wood Bookshelf
When I build furniture, I always think about the practicality of the piece I’m making. In fact, my favorite part of designing and building furniture is making something that is completely unique to the space and our needs. When we figured out that our couch could only fit in the middle of our new apartment, I knew I had to design a storage unit for the back wall… and since I had SO much metal leftover from the dining room table build I did last summer, I decided to use to to create a metal and wood shelf to store our books, pictures, and artwork.
I’m seriously obsessed with this build – so, let’s do this.
What I Used:
(9) 2 x 6 x 8′ Boards
1½” Square Metal Tubing
(or, 2 x 2 x 8′ Common Board if you’re making the legs from wood)
(1) 6″ Flat Bar (Optional)
Threaded Inserts & Bolts
1. I started by ripping my 2 x 6 boards into the following sizes on my table saw:
(6) Bottom & Middle Shelf Pieces @ 4″ Wide
(3) Top Shelf Pieces @ 5″ Wide
2. Next, I glued & clamped the wood pieces together to create three shelves:
(1) Top Shelf @ 15″ Wide
(1) Middle Shelf @ 12″ Wide
(1) Bottom Shelf 12″ Wide
3. While the shelves dried, I began to work on making the legs. I made mine out of 1½” square tubing (but you can make yours out of 2 x 2 common board, if that works better for you)!
I started by cutting my legs/bases to the following:
(9) Shelf Brackets @ 12″ Wide
(6) Legs @ 28″ Tall
Even cooler, I totally cut the metal tubing in my own shop using my Milwaukee circular saw and a metal cutting blade!
4. Next, I began the welding process for the legs. I won’t go into too much detail here, but you can totally see it in action on my YouTube video!
To attach the legs to the top shelf, I had to weld a piece of 6″ flat bar to the top of the three bases and then drill openings in the metal to thread bolts through. But, if you are making these legs out of wood, you can skip this step and attach the legs to the wood shelves with wood screws instead!
5. Once the legs were built, it was time to prime and paint them.
6. As the legs dried, I removed the shelves from the clamps and trimmed them to their final size (just shy of 8 feet) with my Milwaukee circular saw and a wood cutting blade.
7. Next, it was time to fill any voids in the wood with tinted wood putty and then sand the shelves using my Milwaukee sander.
8. Next, it was time to attach the legs to the shelves. I used my Milwaukee Drill Bits and Drill to drill openings in the metal legs and then attach them to the top shelf using threaded inserts. If you are using wood legs for this build, you can use the same drill bits to pre-drill holes and then attach the legs to all three shelves using 3″ wood screws.
9. Last step was to attach plastic plugs to the end of the metal feet!
Now, it was time fill those shelves with memories in our new space!
We have had tons of books in storage and lots of artwork from friends, so it was so nice to finally have a place to display them!
It also looks so perfect in our new apartment (definitely make sure to check out the new space if you haven’t yet)!
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