These corner shelves are easy to make and they can be used to either fill internal corners or to wrap around external corners. Clever stuff!
Gather your supplies
Long shelves (2) 90 x 30 x 600mm pine
Short shelves (2) 90 x 30 x 400mm pine
Uprights (2) 90 x 30 x 400mm pine
Offcut of merbau or similar dark decking
- Step 1: Using Corner Shelving Diagram as a guide, cut timber. Note that at 1 end of each shelf there is a 45Â° mitre cut on the wide, flat face and a second 45Â° mitre at opposite end, along the edge. The 600 and 400mm measurements are all long point to long point of the shelves. Mitres go in opposite directions to give mirror pairs. The uprights each have mitres on the ends.
- Step 2: Create the U-shape of 600mm-long shelves using glue and rubbed joints. Working on 1 joint at a time, apply a good covering of glue to both faces of joint, then spread evenly with your finger. Bring pieces together and rub them to expel air. The suction sticks the pieces together. Use a square in corner to check joint is exactly 90°, then use masking tape to hold corner together. To do this, press a length of tape onto 1 piece of timber (about 100mm from corner), then stretch it (without breaking) around corner tightly. Stick to other side (for about 100mm) without moving the joint. Repeat, so there are 3 lengths of tape at each corner. Only remove excess glue at corners with a damp cloth once all gluing is completed, as dampness may affect adhesion of the tape.
- Step 3: Run more masking tape diagonally across joint and down sides, then flip over and repeat on other side. Be gentle with the joint because glue will still be wet. However, you’ll be amazed at how strong this form of gluing is, even while the glue is wet.
- Step 4: Glue on remaining 600mm shelf in the same way. If you’re concerned about the opening gap being the same as the internal dimension of upright (340mm), cut a 340mm spacer block to ensure shelves will be truly parallel. Repeat for the smaller 400mm-long shelf to form a second U-shape.
- Step 5: To join the 2 U-shapes, apply glue to remaining large mitre faces and smooth with your finger.
- Step 6: Stand the U-shapes upright and bring them together. Rub the joint and use the spacer block to check the gap is still correct. Also use a square to double-check the 2 U-shapes are square to each other. Tape joints (as shown in Steps 2 and 3), around ends, and over and under the mitres. Wipe off excess glue and allow to dry thoroughly.
- Step 7: While shelf is drying, prepare dowels to reinforce joints. You could use bought dowel but for a contrasting colour you can make your own. Rip a 10 x 10mm bead from an offcut of merbau or other dark colour timber, using a power saw and fence. Cut dowel to 100mm lengths – you’ll need 10.
- Step 8: Drill a 3mm pilot hole in the centre of a steel offcut, then follow with a 10mm bit. Don’t clean up the edges as this becomes the tool that will turn a square peg into a round dowel. Clamp steel plate to bench so hole is just clear of edge, then hammer a square bead through hole and the steel will round it. It’s likely 1-2 dowels will split or curve, so keep a few spares on hand so you have the right number. As 1 dowel goes through, use the next dowel to push out the previous one.
- Step 9: Measure 15mm from top and bottom, and 20mm in from front and back on each upright. Drill a 10mm hole using a 10mm Speedbor bit, which will give a neat hole. Use tape on bit to drill to a depth of 45mm. Likewise, measure 60mm in from a corner, then drill a 70mm-deep hole at 45° across mitre where the
2 U-shapes meet for angled dowels.
- Step 10: Apply glue to holes and drive in dowels. Allow to dry, then trim off excess length with a fine-toothed saw, such as a plywood saw. Also, glue and drive in angled dowels across large mitres. Trim off excess length. Sand unit smooth so dowels are completely flush with surfaces of timber. Sand mitres so they are smooth on all sides.
- Step 11: Apply 1-2 coats of clear sealer, such as Feast Watson Floorseal, and allow to dry. Follow with furniture wax, applied with a 0000 steel wool, and buff to a rich sheen using a soft rag.
- Step 12: Mount to wall using keyhole fixing plates, which hook onto screws driven into the wall. Measure where you want to install plates on rear of shelves and screw on. If they are too long for thickness of timber, screw 1 to upright and the other so it overhangs at top. This way, you’ll be able to hide the plate with ornaments, once your shelving is populated. If mounting 2 units, space them 250mm apart, using a level to ensure everything is square. The mounting plates give shelves a small offset from wall, creating a shadow line.
You’ll also need
Masking tape; exterior PVA glue; 340mm timber offcut; scrap 6mm or thicker steel plate; 10mm Speedbor and twist bits; fixing plates (2); 0000 steel wool; Feast Watson Floorseal; furniture wax