Friday, June 21, 2013

Toddler Book Ledges

Today my daughter had a field trip with my mom and brother as they went out to eat lunch.  I haven't revved up any of my saws since I've been at home watching her, so this was an ideal time for me to get a quick project completed.

In 3 hours, I made these two simple book ledges from first cut to installation and you could too.

I made these shelves with leftover lumber from our coffee table build, which included a 1x4 for the back, a 1x2 for the bottom of the ledge, and a 1x2 for the front of the ledge.  I originally saw ledge plans from Ana White's $10 ledges.
2 - 1x4 @ 28 3/4 inches (already owned, paid $0.40)
4 - 1x2 @ 28 3/4 inches (already owned, paid $1.00)
Miter saw, wood glue, clamps, brad nails, hammer, nail set, wood filler, sander, paint, paint brush, drill with 3/16 bit and Phillips head bit, wood anchors and screws, level, and pen.

I wanted to fill the space between my daughter's bedroom door while open and her crib, and we also needed to start adding storage space in her room.  Thankfully, I found two leftover pieces of 1x4 that would be a perfect fit for the space.  I cut all the wood to the same length, then applied wood glue to one side of a 1x2 and clamped it to the 1x4 so it was shaped like an L.  I used brad nails I had to attach the pieces, because the 1x2 was too short a piece to need pocket hole screws.  I then attached the second 1x2 to the base 1x2 so the side piece looked like a J.  I counter sinked the nails, then wiped up excess glue.  I then repeated these steps for the second ledge.

I applied a natural wood filler, sanded the piece smooth, then used Olympic No-VOC semi-gloss (straight from the can, without custom tint) to the ledges.

Once the paint was dry enough (since I was working in a 3 hour window), I brought the ledges to my daughter's room and checked for fit between her crib and door.  I marked where I wanted the shelves to be, held each shelf against the wall, and after using a stud finder to locate studs, electrical wire, and the lack of studs, I drilled pilot holes through the ledge and through the wall.  Then, I screwed in wall anchors that could be used in drywall and wood.  I placed screws in the ledges deep enough so I could match them with the wall anchors in the wall, then drilled them in place, slightly countersunk in the ledge.  Now the unused space between the crib and the door is a functional storage space.

My daughter came home at the perfect time: right after I drilled in the last screw.  She excitedly helped me pick out books of the week, including 2 of her library books and a puzzle we made together, and helped me arrange them on her new ledges.

I love how we still have access to the electrical outlet, but the ledges are trim enough to not be an obstacle upon entering the room.

Immediately, she set to work using her new book ledges for some excited book browsing on her bed.

In the amount of time it took my mom, brother, and daughter to go to the mall and eat out, I was able to create two book ledges for my daughter's room for less than $2 of reclaimed lumber.  :)  I'd say this was worth it!

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