DIY DVD Shelf Project (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I gave an overview of our DIY DVD shelves. I described different options we tried, how we almost gave up on the whole project, and then how we finally found the perfect material for the shelving … Select Pine Board from Home Depot.

Today we’re back and ready to provide the nitty gritty details.  (Again, apologies for the lighting in these photos.  We have virtually no natural light in our basement.  No windows, and the french doors are actually covered by a deck, which blocks even more light! Better lighting options, including some recessed lighting, are on our master home renovation list!)

After we took some measurements, we determined the number of Select Pine Boards we would need. Our wall was 147 inches wide and 90 inches tall. We’d have to make a few cuts, but luckily not too many.

Here was the big pile of Select Pine Boards before we got started!

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First, we did an entire test row. We installed a row of brackets (in our case, we were using corner braces which worked great, and were much cheaper compared to normal brackets.)

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We used our laser level to make sure all of the brackets were being screwed in nice and level.

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Then, we put shelves on top of the brackets (without screwing them yet). We did this so we could 1) Get a precise measurement of how much we would have to cut off the end of one piece of wood for each row, and 2) To make sure that the shelf was sturdy enough to hold up lots of DVDs!

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It worked great!

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Then it was time to install the rest of the brackets. Using an end bracket on one side, Ken worked his way vertically to ensure that each shelf was spaced properly to allow for a DVD case height. We used a piece of scrap wood that was cut to match the average height of a DVD/BluRay case.

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(We knew that, thanks to the height of our wall, we wouldn’t be able to get every space evenly, so our top row is a “tall” shelf, meaning that there is more space between the top shelf and ceiling than there is between the other shelves. But that was fine, and it would be great to house some of our taller DVD collections).

Then, thanks to the magic of photography, we had a wall full of brackets!

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To get the correct length of our shelves to fit the entire length of the wall, we used, for each row, one 8 foot Select Pine Board uncut, and then a 6 foot Select Pine Board, which we had to cut about 14 inches from for it it fit the wall properly.

So, we placed the 8 foot pine boards on the brackets.

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Then we measured and cut each piece of 6 foot pine board.

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We just used a miter saw to cut the wood. We clamped it down the make the cut easier, but we actually placed the clamp on a scrap piece of wood to avoid denting or damaging the pine board.

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Unfortunately the miter saw wasn’t quite long enough, and we had to do two separate cuts. (See below where the wood wasn’t completely cut). It still worked fine though, and we didn’t have to use or purchase any additional tools.

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Then we placed the cut pieces on the brackets and we had a full set of shelves! It was time to start screwing the wood to the brackets!

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Side note: We did end up buying a tool that we did not have. It was VERY difficult to use our normal drill to screw the brackets to the wood because the space between the rows of shelves was so tight. We purchased a right angle drill and that made the job INFINITELY easier! We have lamented on previous projects that a right angle drill would have made our work easier, so we definitely see future uses for this tool!

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As we progressed, we noticed a problem. Where the two pieces of wood met, they didn’t align after they were screwed to the brackets.

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After some quick brainstorming, we decided to try simple wood glue to attach the two pieces together, essentially creating one big long piece of wood instead of two separate pieces of wood.  We unscrewed all the screws!

Gluing about 12 feet of wood together was not easy logistically, especially considering our lack of dedicated workspace (like a garage) in our house. But, we ended up rigging together something that worked. We put out two folding tables, and placed the two pieces of wood on the table. The smaller pieces you see sitting on top are just there to weigh the wood down.

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Ken put a heavy bead of glue on each seam.

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And then we clamped the two pieces together.

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We let the glue dry overnight, and since we only had space to glue three shelves at a time, this added several days to the project! But, once we would take off the brackets, the two pieces of wood were firmly bonded!

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Once the glue dried, we took a hand sander and sanded off the excess glue.

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Then we put the shelves back on the brackets, and continued screwing them in. Ken would use the right angle drill to screw from the bottom, and I would place my hand on top of the shelf so that it wouldn’t move while he was screwing the pieces together.

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We used these 3/4″ screws to affix the brackets to the wood. (Ken is a huge fan of Robinson screws, also called Square screws, but you can use plain old Phillips screws too).

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Before long, all the shelves were attached to the brackets and we had nice clean seams where the two pieces of wood met!

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And there you have it! Our completed DIY DVD Wall Shelves!

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We added some fun stuff to the shelves like my old Atari (on the top shelf) and Ken’s old Game Cube (in the middle) and Super Nintendo (Top Shelf). There’s a few other things too, like the Atari Controller, a Game Boy, and our Apple TV box (that we don’t use anymore).

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In the future, we may consider staining the wood a darker color, or maybe even spray painting the brackets. But, by the time we finally arrived at a solution that worked after our first several failed attempts, we were in a hurry to get the shelves up on the wall! But all the hard work is done now, like the measuring. Removing items one row at a time to stain or spray paint wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

But for now, we love it as-is! Much better than the old store-bought shelves, don’t you think?

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How do you store your DVD collection?

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DIY DVD Shelves for a Large Collection

Can we talk about Ken’s DVD / Blu Ray collection for a few minutes?

When I first met Ken back in 2007, I was pretty impressed, yet perplexed, but his extensive DVD collection. Why would you buy all those DVDs when you could just rent them from Netflix? How can you even watch all those DVDs? Just, why?

Well, I have grown to love the DVD collection, which now includes a lot of Blu Rays as well. But, we were running out of space. These DVD shelves had served him well for a while, but we were bursting at the DVD shelf seams.

The Old Shelves

As you can see, most of the shelf space was taken, and things were stacked precariously on top. We also mixed in a random assortment of junk. In other words, our DVD shelves were overflowing, and it wasn’t pretty!  Plus, we thought the vertical dividers wasted a lot of space.

DIY DVD Shelf Project for Large Collection - Before Photo

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Disclaimer / Note of Embarrassment #1: Why yes, that is a faux brick wall behind our DVD shelves. Redoing our basement to get rid of the paneling and faux brick is on our medium-term project list, so it stays for now.

Disclaimer / Note of Embarrassment #2: We have virtually no natural light in our basement, so please forgive the lighting in these photographs.


Proof of Concept (and almost giving up)

We started out with some proofs of concept (proof of concepts?). At first, we really liked the idea of glass shelves and how sleek they would look. But after pricing out glass shelves, especially considering how many we would need, we realized that glass was WAY more expensive than we were willing to spend.

Also, any sort of “hack” seemed out of the question. In general, DVD cases are only about 6 inches deep. Many storebought shelves, like from Ikea, are at least 10–12 inches deep, and we wanted to keep the shelves as shallow as possible so they wouldn’t jut out much beyond the actual DVD cases.

Next, we purchased some 1/4“ acrylic that we ordered from a local supplier. Specifically, it was 6”x48“ 1/4” Clear Plexi Glass (Acrylic). It was $13.17 per piece. Unfortunately, even with the shelf brackets / clamps we purchased, the acrylic was too flimsy to hold DVDs. The 1/2″ acrylic might have been thick enough, but like the glass, it was more than we wanted to spend. So, acrylic was out.

Then we explored melamine options. The melamine was very inexpensive, but it LOOKED cheap too, so that was out.

We tinkered with some MDF options, but that would have to be primed and painted (and potentially sanded too. There seems to be conflicting information online about whether MDF should be sanded before priming and painting). Since we live in a townhouse with no garage space and just a tiny backyard, it would have been difficult to prime and paint all that MDF (including waiting for drying in between multiple coats).

And, there was an additional issue with the MDF. The edges of MDF are not finished edges, and you cannot easily prime and paint them. (Some online tutorials mentioned you could essentially spackle the unfinished edges, giving it a drywall-like covering). But again, doing that for so many shelves seemed too time consuming and difficult, especially considering I can barely spackle a drywall hole without it looking like crap. There was an option to cover the edges with T-Molding, which we would have had to apply to the shelves using a very specific “T-Molding Slot Cutter Combo,” that cuts into the edges using a trim router.

Perhaps if we had a dedicated workspace in the house (you know, beyond our carpeted basement), we would’ve explored those options a bit more.

Here are some photos we took of the three options. As you can see, the acrylic shelf on top looks wavy and is bowing on the edges when filled with DVDs. Although it’s hard to tell in this photograph, the unfinished edge of the MDF (the middle shelf) was kind ugly and would take too much work to cover. And on the bottom was a white melamine shelf we bought from Home Depot. To us, it just looked too cheap-y.

 Acrylic DVD Shelf, Melamine DVD Shelf, and MDF DVD Shelf options (DIY projects)

 Acrylic DVD Shelf, Melamine DVD Shelf, and MDF DVD Shelf options (DIY projects) - viewed from the side



Select Pine Board to the Rescue!

We almost gave up on the entire project. But one day, while browsing Home Depot for ideas, we found a selection of wood called Pine Board that was sold near the decking materials. In its unfinished state it was completely smooth, so we could use it as-is (although it could be easily stained). It came in a size that we we needed (1 inch high by 8 inches deep), and above all, it was very reasonably priced!

We were having a lot of trouble finding brackets that weren’t: 1) overly expensive, 2) overly ornate, or 3) too bulky. We wanted the DVDs to be able to fit nearly flush against the wall and we didn’t want them to bump into curved brackets or anything. We found these Zinc Plated Corner Braces at Home Depot that worked fantastic as shelf brackets!

After taking home two pieces to do a proof of concept, we were totally sold. Ken double checked his measurements and we went back to Home Depot and bought the rest of the wood.

 Buying Southern Cross radiata select Pine Board at Home Depot for DIY DVD Shelves

 photo Buying Southern Cross radiata select Pine Board at Home Depot for DIY DVD Shelves



End Product

In the future posts, we’ll cover all the nitty gritty for how we built the shelves. But here are some quick spoilers of the end product!

DIY DVD Shelves for Large Collection - Picture of Empty Shelves

DIY DVD Shelves for Large Collection - Shelves Filled | SuperNoVAwife


Whew!  That was a long and intensive project!



DIY DVD Shelves (great for large collections) | SuperNoVAWife