- Ideas & How-Tos
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Create wall shelves for your feline friend with toy storage and space to bask in the sun or watch birds. Build a small shelf or one long enough to span a window.
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Build either a basic shelf that measures 36-1/4-inches long by 10-inches high by 9-1/4-inches deep or the two-compartment longer version designed to span the width of a window. The list of supplies and cost estimate cover both. The instructions here will let you build the smaller version, but you can create the larger one by repeating the instructions to build on both the top and underside of a long board at opposite ends. Adjust the board length to suit the width of your window.
Tape or glue a jig pattern on one of the boards you cut in Step 1. Then stack the boards with the ends flush and screw them together anywhere within the pattern. Using a jigsaw, cut the five notches shown. Work slowly to avoid accidentally pushing the saw blade to one side or another and follow the lines precisely. Clean up the corners as needed to make them square and remove the screws to separate the jigs.
Cut the top and bottom (A for the small shelf or A and G on the long shelf), side (B), back (C), wide supports (D), and square supports (E) to length. Take extra care to make certain the wide and square supports are all the same length. Sand all faces and wipe clean.
Glue and clamp one end of the back (C) to a face of the side (B) with the surfaces flush. Glue and clamp one face of a wide support (D) to the opposite end of the back, again with the surfaces flush.
To mark the top (A) and bottom (A/G) boards for drilling pilot holes, lay the short top shelf (A) face-up on a flat surface. Turn the bottom shelf (A or G) upside down and lay it edge-to-edge against the top shelf. Move the bottom until one end is inset 9 inches from the left end of the top board and clamp the boards together. Using a carpenter's square, measure and mark lines across both boards. Consult the project diagram for the locations of the wide and square supports and mark those along the lines. Draw a centered X in each square. Before drilling any holes, unclamp your marked boards and check that the hole locations will be directly above each other and the shelf back will be in the correct location. Now drill the countersunk 7/64-inch holes for the reinforcing screws.
Glue and clamp the side and back assembly (B/C/D) to the shelves (A, G) and let dry. Drill countersunk 7/64-inch pilot holes and add reinforcing screws.
Clamp the two jigs in position along the inside faces of the shelves and use a square to check that they're opposite each other. Then check that the pilot holes are 3/8-inch from each jig notch edge and end.
Glue and insert the square supports to rest against the notches in the jig. If necessary, gently bend the shelves enough to insert the supports without accidentally wiping off the glue.
Clamp the shelves to the supports and insert screws to help hold the supports in place. Remove the jigs and wipe away any glue squeeze-out.
If you're building a long shelf with two smaller shelves -- one each on the top and bottom -- repeat the first section and this section for the other shelf. Check your layout marks to make sure that the supports are perpendicular to the shelves, they stair-step the correct way, and the back will be where it belongs.
Fill any gaps and screw holes with wood filler and let dry. Then sand the entire shelf smooth, vacuum and wipe clean, and apply two coats of paint as shown. If you like, add fun designs to personalize the shelves.
Position the shelf where you want on the wall and mark mounting screw locations on the back. Drill countersunk pilot holes, install drywall anchors as needed, and screw the shelf to the wall.
If possible, position mounting screws so they'll intersect a wall stud on both ends. If no studs are available, use wall anchors with at least a 50-pound rating from the manufacturer.