Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bunk Bed Book Shelves

Edited to add: a part of DIY DAY at A Soft Place to Land

In theory, the kids are in bunk beds now. I say in theory, because apparently, my son hasn't gotten the memo and has decided to stay in his crib. (How they ended up in the same room is a story I'm not sure I've told, but if I haven't, I should - it involves another creative solution.)

Well, for years, I've wanted, no... Coveted shelves like these:

(Available at

The problem with all the ones I've seen have included the wrong proportions, the wrong color and lets fact it, the wrong price. (They seem to fall right around $50 per shelf.)

I've wanted to make them myself but, just had quite enough motivation. Well, I saw them on another blog this week and had to get off my butt to make them! Here is what inspired me... Traci over at Beneath My Heart made these for her little boy's room. Our end results were different and the way we got there was as well - but she did a MUCH better job of documenting her process so you might want to check her's out instead of mine.

So here is what I started with:

Pictured is (See, I'm starting to think like a blogger and take photos of my process!)
  • 2 - "French Corners" - I wouldn't know what they were if my A.C. Moore receipt didn't tell me. They are the plaque looking things in the background.
  • A whole bunch of balsa wood, 4 pieces that are 4 inches wide, 4 pieces that are 1 inch wide, 4 that are half an inch and 4 that are about a quarter of an inch.
  • Gorilla Glue Epoxy
  • Keyhole picture hangers
  • Red paint
All the materials for 2 sets of the shelves ended up costing $37.41... THIRTY SEVEN dollars and FORTY ONE cents people. Less than $20 per shelf. Oh I'm so happy I made these myself and didn't spend $100 to compromise on something that wasn't perfect.

Next, I glued the 1 inch, half inch and quarter inch pieces together to give the front edges more of molding look. Yes, I could have BOUGHT molding. But they didn't have 24" molding at A.C. Moore and I don't have the time to run to 50, or 2, places to get what I need. Sometimes, you've just got to do what you've got to do.

Then I glued the bottom of the shelf and the back of the self to the sides of the shelf (that I cut earlier, without taking a picture... hey, I'm not a perfect blogger.) The ends are the "french corner things" cut in half. And put the "homemade molding" along the front of the bottom and a few inches up.

All that was followed by sanding, a coat of red paint, sanding, a coat of red paint, sanding and a coat of red paint. I'm a big believer in sanding between coats, it really makes all the difference.

And then, 2 coats of spray varnish. Finally, we installed the keyholes on the back.

Here is a finished shelf:

A view of the kids beds before:

And after, with the bunk bed book shelves installed (plus some reading lamps courtesy of Ikea)

Now, in theory, both kids have books within reach while snug in their beds. Does it get any better... Well, I guess it would be better if my son was actually sleeping in his big boy bed and not still in his crib. 


  1. Thanks so much for sharing the link to your blog...this is wonderful! I've been reading thru your archives and I LOVE seeing what you've been many amazing, creative and inspiring projects! I look forward to reading lots more...keep 'em coming!

  2. I love these! No drill required - bonus!

  3. This is so great and easy, I think I could do it too! My girls have bunk beds and I have always wanted to have them a place to put their books. Thanks for sharing! I am going to add this to my husband's honey do list!

  4. Thanks Mrs. Ward - I'm flattered that you like what you've seen so far - now the pressure is on to keep it up!

    Wendy, they really were very easy - the hardest part was being patient for each step to dry while waiting to move onto the next. Between the epoxy, the paint and the varnish, I felt like all I did was wait!

  5. What a great idea! My little girlie's would love these for their bunk beds-my only fear is that they wouldn't sleep because they'd be too busy reading!

  6. This is really fantastic! I love how you just used the plaque cut in half! What a great idea!


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