last weekend ac and i scooted up to williamsburg for burgers at dumont burger (yum) and some quick book browsing at spoonbill and sugartown (where i always end up buying a handful of new pancake and franks cards). while looking sifting through a table of incredible penguin books (and drooling over their covers), i looked up and caught a beautiful set of atlas shelves. as my mind starting mentally calculating how long it would take me to save up for a set of the real things i remembered that we had a fantastic diy-version of these shelves waiting to be posted! d*s reader susannah becket was a finalist in this year’s diy contest and was kind enough to send in the full instructions for her budget-friendly atlas-inspired shelving. if you’ve got a wall of books at home like we do, this project will certainly come in handy. click here for the full post, more pictures and instructions or just click “read more” below. thanks to susannah for sharing!
Susannah’s Atlas-Inspired Shelves
- Minwax “English Chestnut” wood stain, or desired brand/color
- Unfinished 1×10 pine board cut to size (more on sizes and quantity below)
- Two IKEA “Broder” L-feet w/brace
- Two IKEA “Broder” 80-inch posts
- Twelve IKEA “Broder” brackets (Make sure you get the straight ones, not the angled ones!)
- Box of #8 1 1/12-inch wood screws
- Box of #8 1/2-inch wood screws
- White spray paint
- Plastic tarp
- Paper towels
- Power drill
- Large clamp (I used one like this from Home Depot)
- Drill bit
- Helper-person (for the Broder assembly)
1. Assemble your Broder frame. It comes with instructions, but basically you just drop a post into each foot and secure with the provided screws. When you have your two posts-with-feet, put a brace
between them at the bottom and at the top and again secure with screws. Once you have your frame up, you can play around with it a bit, pulling it wider or narrower until you figure out exactly how wide you want/need it. This will help you determine how wide you want your shelves to be. Mine is about 36 inches wide, with six 48-inch shelves, and each shelf has two six-inch end pieces. You can make yours a bit narrower, or have your shelves not extend as far beyond the Broder frame, or have fewer shelves, or have the end pieces be bigger or smaller depending on your space and the look you want.
As you’re setting up your Broder, please also take into account where your wall studs are so that you can secure the frame to the wall and make the whole thing earthquake- and bump-proof. the Broder frame is not unstable by any means, but our floor was a little uneven and the shelves would shake a little bit every time we walked by it until I secured it to the wall.
Most importantly, learn from my mistakes and DON’T cut your wood until you’ve set up the Broder and figured out how wide you want everything to be!
2. Set out your tarp and spray paint the Broder frame and brackets white.
3. Lay out your wood and using an assembly-line method, stain all your pieces on all sides. Paint on, leave for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a paper towel. Minwax advertises itself as an all-in-one stainer/sealer, but If you really want to go the extra mile, follow up your staining with a coat of polyurethane.
4. Once you have your pieces stained, take one of the longer pieces and one of the 6-inch pieces and place the shorter piece perpendicular to the longer piece and clamp it on tightly.
(Once my wood was stained, I found that the stain had brought out really cool patterns and knots and stuff in the wood, so I played around a bit with the assembly of the shelves to make sure those features would be on the front of the shelves.)
5. Using your drill bit, drill a pilot hole into your wood where you want your screws to go. Do this on the top and the bottom, then switch out your bit for a Phillips head attachment and drill your longer wood screws into the holes you’ve made.
6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for the end piece on the other side of your shelf.
7. Repeat steps 4, 5, & 6 for each of your shelves.
8. Attach your brackets to the shelves using the shorter wood screws.
9. Mount your shelves onto your Broder and step back to admire.
DIY BONUS! I originally cut my wood much too short, but using the same shelf construction method, I recycled the extra wood into modular shoe shelves for my closet. Just make the u-shaped shelf, flip it over and stack as necessary.