DIY DVD Shelf Project (Part 2)

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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

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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

DIY Banquette Kitchen Bench – Finishing Touches

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This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series DIY Ikea Kitchen Banquette Seating

After adding our spacer panels and putting the doors on the cabinets, we added a few finishing touches.

At this point, the top of our banquette looked like this (we were still missing that door on the end thanks to the damaged piece). We wanted to cover the top of the banquette with some sort of finishing panel for the top.

Top Panels

We purchased two 80 inch Ikea Perfekt panels and put them on top of the benches to get an accurate measure of where to cut them. We wanted a slight bit of overhang on each side, so we took that into account.

We took the panel over to our sawhorses and cut the panels to size.

We put them back on top of the banquette, and we thought it looked great.

We positioned the panels so the cut edges faced the “inside,” and you wouldn’t have to see the raw edges.

Then we screwed the panels from inside the cabinets using very short screws and fender washers for fear of going right through the top of the panel. (Not pictured, sorry).

Toe Kick

Next, we needed to add some sort of toe kick to hide the banquette’s base frame. We decided to use Ikea’s toe kick edging, called the Perfekt Plinth.

We had to cut the plinth to the appropriate length and height. So we took some measurements.

We cut it lengthwide using a miter saw.

Then cut the height using a circular saw.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that cutting Ikea pieces generates an insane amount of sawdust. The plinth was no exception.

You’ll notice that the cut was not the cleanest cut in the world, but since it would be hidden, we didn’t really mind.

We made sure the cut toe kick fit, then we repeated cuts for each of the four toe kick pieces we would need.

Then we placed the toekick, and repeated it for all the edges. We did not attach the toekick to the banquette or frame. Instead, we just created a sturdy “L shape” with the toe kick pieces and placed it around the frame.

We originally hot glued the edges together, but that didn’t work well at all. The glued pieces came apart within about two weeks. Instead, we recommend using something like this to attach the toe kick pieces in an L shape.

We have base moulding as well as shoe moulding (quarter round) in our kitchen. So, using a coping saw, we cut out some pieces of the toe kick so that it would fit flush against the wall.

Top Trim Piece

We don’t have any pictures for this next part. I was out of town for the weekend and Ken was feeling ambitious, so he did this without me around and he forgot to photograph the process!

For a more finished look, we wanted to add a top trim piece, which is pictured here.

He cut another Ikea Perfekt Panel and simply affixed the trim to the wall using Command Mounting Strips. . The trim is not actually attached to the banquette part, but it is directly above it, so the mounting strips really aren’t holding that much weight. It’s mostly to prevent the trim piece from tipping forward.

Future phases?

And that was about it! We took advantage of our new storage and put some items in the bench. In the future, we may try to caulk some of the small seams between some of the more visible pieces, like the two top panels and the top trim pieces, but for right now we’re happy with it as-is.

We also may explore making (or buying) cushions for the banquette. I’m not exactly a seamstress, so it seems pretty overwhelming to make fancy custom size cushions, but I might give it a whirl someday.

There you have it.  All about our DIY Banquette Kitchen Bench Seating we made using Ikea upper cabinets.  We’ll have a few other posts, including a list of some of the key tools we used, as well as an “outtakes” post, which outlines all the things that went wrong during the process.

Spacing our DIY Ikea Banquette Cabinets

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series DIY Ikea Kitchen Banquette Seating


This post will cover some important steps that will made our upper cabinets start to appear more like a single uniform bench!

Spacer Panels and End Panels

We realized that we did not want to put the cabinets flush up against one aother. We had some additional space to fill along the wall (i.e., the cabinets would not, as expected, take up the entire length of the walls. We knew this in advance when we were determining what size cabinets to purchase.

So we wanted to add a little “filler” between the cabinets to add an extra inch of width. Also, the sides of the cabinets themselves are not terribly pretty. In fact, when you’re installing these cabinets as, well, kitchen cabinets and not banquette benches, you add Ikea “Perfect” cover panels to the ends to make the exposed edge of the cabinet more finished and aesthetically pleasing.

Therefore, we wanted to add cover panels to separate the cabinets (I’m calling them spacer panels), as well as cover panels to cover the ends of the cabinets that would be exposed (I’m calling those the end panels).

We purchased two of the Ikea Perfekt Cover Panels for this purpose. We wanted the panels to be 15 inches high (the exact hight of the cabinets), so we had to cut the panels into 15 inch pieces (sorry, we didn’t take pictures of that step! We used a circular saw) Then we just placed the cut panels in their intended spots to ensure that they fit.

Although the cut edges of the panels are unfinished, we didn’t have to paint them or anything, because everything would be covered with another separate top panel (discussed in a future post).

(In the above picture, don’t mind that the side panel goes all the way to the floor. That was something we tried, but it didn’t work, so we eventually cut it shorter to match all the other spacer panels)

When everything looked good, we screwed the cabinets to the side panels! We used fender washers when screwing the cabinet to the panel to avoid the risk of the screw going all the way through the wood.

We clamped the side panel and cabinet together and screwed them together from the inside of the cabinets.

We repeated this for all the spacer panels.

Power Outlet Issues

Our L-shaped banquette would be blocking two power outlets, so we wanted to make sure they weren’t covered. So, just using a drywall saw, we cut holes for the outlets. There are probably a million other tools that would make this cut neater and more efficient, but we already own a drywall saw, so it was readily accessible, and we went with it.

We repeated this for the other outlet as well.

Installing Cabinet Doors

After the spacer panels were screwed together and the holes were cut out for the power outlets, we decided that this would be a good time to install the doors on the cabinets.

If you recall from our Introduction post, we opted for the Ikea Lidingo doors.

But, if you notice, the “corner” cabinet of our L-shaped banquette would be inaccessible and almost entirely hidden.

Since that cabinet would be blocked, so we opted for the smooth (and much MUCH less expensive!) Ikea Harlig Doors. (Which we had already installed in the above picture).

For the rest of our cabinets though, we installed the Lidingo doors. Installing the doors is quick and easy. We just followed the instructions in the package.

Here was the door hardware.

And installing the door hardware.

The doors then snap right into place on the hardware.

We were annoyed because one of the doors that Ikea sold us was damaged and we had to return it, but use your imagination that all of these cabinets had doors.

It’s looking a lot more like a banquette and not just some random cabinets sitting on the floor now!

 

 

Building Seating Supports for DIY Banquette

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series DIY Ikea Kitchen Banquette Seating


After we assembled the cabinets that would be used as our banquette, we realized that we wanted to add a little more support. These cabinets are meant to be just that, cabinets, and not necessarily designed to be sitting on. They’re not like lower cabinets that are designed for having heavy granite or marble placed on top of them.

When we sat on the cabinets / bench, we didn’t notice any clear bowing, but something about it didn’t seem quite as solid as we were hoping. We saw some potential for the cabinets to bow after many years of sitting. So we figured we’d just take care of it then and add some supports.

Here is the banquette without supports inside of the cabinets.

And here it is with the supports (note the 2×4’s) in the front (there are also some in the rear, pictured later).

First, we measured the interior height of each cabinet, and had two pieces of 2×4’s (for each cabinet) cut very slightly smaller than that interior height. We then placed them in the cabinet. We placed them different directions to maximimse the storage space inside the cabinets.

We filled in the tiny gap at the top with some shims.

First we pushed them in by hand.

Then took a rubber mallet and gently pounded the shims in more to ensure that the 2×4“ piece was fitted tightly. (We repeated this process for both the front 2×4” piece and the back 2×4″ piece)

Now it was time to secure the 2×4 pieces to the cabinet. We wanted the screw heads to sit flush with the cabinet, and not slightly elevated like when you normally screw something. So we decided on an improvised countersink approach (Here’s a Wikipedia article on countersinking, and a YouTube tutorial on countersinks). We don’t own a countersink bit and didn’t feel like spending the money to buy one. Since the top part of the cabinet / banquette would eventually be covered by a finishing panel, we didn’t need the countersink to look pretty, we just needed it to work (meaning the screw to sit flush).

What Ken did was use a small bit to drill a hole that would fit the screw.

Then we used a ShopVac to clear out a lot of the sawdust. (These Ikea pieces make SO MUCH SAWDUST when you’re cutting them. It’s unreal).

Then we used the larger bit to drill just down just very slightly (not nearly as deep as the first hole we drilled with the smaller bit.)

And then we cleaned up with the ShopVac again

Then it was time to attach the screw.

We used these #12 x 2 1/2 Flat Head Phillips Wood Screws from Home Depot.

After we attached the screws on the top of the cabinet (to both pieces of 2×4’s, we attached them on the bottom of the cabinet as well, using the same countersink approach.

Then that was it! We put the cabinets back in their intended location in the kitchen. When we sat on them, they felt much sturdier!

The pieces of 2×4 do cut into the storage space a little bit inside the cabinet, but it has not been a major annoyance. It is still a HUGE gain in the amount of storage!

In retrospect, I wish we would have painted the 2×4 pieces white before we decided to screw them in there. The unfinished wood is a little unsightly. But since they’re eventually covered by cabinet doors, nobody ever knows!

 

DIY Kitchen Banquette Bench Seating Using Ikea Cabinets