Create an attractive media wall around your TV by combining simple open shelves with storage compartments for electronic gear.
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Using a straightedge and a circular saw, cut the shelf tops/bottoms (A) from a sheet of 1/2-inch-thick MDF (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram). Sand the panels with 120-grit sandpaper.
From 1 x 2 pine or poplar boards cut the shelf fronts (B) and the shelf ends (C) to length. Secure the shelf front to the shelf top with glue and nails. Secure the shelf ends at each end of the shelf top (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). The Cutting List and Cutting Diagram allow for enough material to build two 42-inch-long shelves.
Use the shelf ends to prop up and stabilize the shelf top while adding the front.
Flip the assembly over and apply glue along the edge of the 1 x 2 boards, Set the shelf bottom in position and secure with nails.
Cut 1/2-inch-thick boards to length for the end trim (D). Glue and nail trim to each end of the shelf assembly.
Cut the shelf front trim (E) to the length listed (Project Diagram, Cutting List), which is 1 inch longer than the final length needed. Place the trim in position with one end even with the shelf assembly and mark the opposite end to determine the exact length.
Size differences in how materials are manufactured and parts are cut mean you’ll get the best results if you cut some parts to fit the project, not to a size in the plans. Always double-check the measurements of each part as you proceed through the steps. The instructions will highlight the key locations where this is essential.
Cut the front trim to length and secure with glue and nails. Repeat this assembly process for the second shelf.
Assemble the long shelf (Project Diagram, Drawing 2) as you did the short shelves using the long shelf top/bottom (F), long shelf front (G), shelf ends (C), end trim (D), and long front trim (H) (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram).
Cut the dividers (I) from 3/4-inch-thick MDF and cut the cabinet tops/bottoms (J) from 1/2-inch-thick MDF using a circular saw and a straightedge (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram). The Cutting List and Cutting Diagram allow for enough material to build two cabinets.
Along the top back edge of one of the dividers; mark out the notch to receive the 1 x 4 cleats (K) (Project Diagram, Drawing 3). Cut the notch using a jigsaw.
Drill countersunk pilot holes, apply glue, and drive the screws to fasten the cabinet top and bottom panels to the dividers. The end dividers are even with ends of the top and bottom; the center divider can be moved off-center to accommodate electronic equipment.
A #8 screw typically requires a 1/8-inch to 3/32-inch pilot hole to prevent splitting the wood. A slightly larger hole when assembling MDF components is recommended to avoid splitting the composite material used for the panels. After drilling the countersunk hole, switch to a 3/16-inch drill bit and enlarge the hole to a depth slightly deeper than the length of screw you are driving.
Cut the back cleats (K) to fit between the two cabinet ends (Project Diagram, Drawing 3). Drill pilot holes, then glue and screw the cleat between the ends and into the notch you cut in the center divider.
Cut a door (L) from 1/2-inch-thick MDF. Cut the door stiles (M) and the rails (N) from 1/4-inch-thick pine or poplar boards.
The door is slightly shorter than the length of the cabinet to allow two cabinets to be mounted side-by-side without the doors rubbing each other. If adding a third cabinet, subtract another 1/16 inch from the door length.
Glue the stiles even with the ends of the door. Place the rails in position and mark for the actual length to fit between the stiles. Cut the rails to length and glue them to the door panel (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) – hold the parts in place with painter’s tape until the glue dries.
Position the door in front of the cabinet on a work surface. For the left cabinet, the door will align even with the left side of the cabinet. For the right cabinet, the door will align even with the right side of the cabinet. Using a square, draw a centerline for the door hinges (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).
Drill 1-3/8-inch-diameter holes 1/2 inch deep in the door panel for the hinges. Check that the hinge rests in the hole with the hinge flange on the surface of the door.
Screw the hinges to the door following the manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust the screws on the hinge body to allow the door panel to close so that the door fits even with the top and bottom of the cabinet.
Sand the completed assemblies with 120-grit sandpaper. For any small gaps, apply paintable wood filler. When the filler has dried, sand those areas again and then smooth all the sharp corners of the shelf assemblies.
Remove the hinges and apply two coats of paint to the shelves, cabinets, and doors.
The best height for a TV is when the center of the screen is even with your eyes when you’re seated, plus or minus 4 to 6 inches. Adjust the height of the cabinets and the shelves accordingly.
While the paint is drying, cut the hanger rails (O), the long hanger rails (P), and the hanger arms (Q) to length from 1 x 2 boards (Project Diagram, Cutting List and Cutting Diagram).
Mark the location of the top edge of the cabinets and the hanger rails on your wall using painter’s tape and a pencil. (Project Diagram, Drawing 5).
Use an electronic stud finder to locate wall studs along each row of painter’s tape. Add a vertical reference line to the wall using painter’s tape and a level. Use the reference line to identify the placement of the end of each cleat and cabinet.
The hanger assemblies are built in place on your wall. Hold the hanger rails (O and P) level against the wall, even with the bottom edge of the tape. Near the center of each rail drill a countersunk pilot hole (Project Diagram, Drawing 5 and Drawing 6) aligned with a wall stud. Drive a #10 x 2-1/2-inch wood screw through each rail into a wall stud.
After each hanger rail is secured to the wall with a screw, add the angle braces. Position a 6-inch angle brace at the location of a wall stud near one end of each rail. Drill a pilot hole through the hole nearest corner of the brace using a self-centering drill bit (Project Diagram, Drawing 5 and Drawing 6) so the screw will thread into a wall stud. Drive a #10 x 2-1/2-inch wood screw through the brace and rail into a wall stud and repeat at the opposite end of the rail for the second angle brace.
For the long hanger rails add two more braces near the center of the hanger rails. For any remaining studs where no screws have been driven through the rails, drill a countersunk pilot hole and drive #10 x 2-1/2-inch wood screws.
For the remaining holes in the brace drill pilot holes with a hinge-centering drill bit and drive #10 x 3/4-inch panhead sheet-metal screws.
Position the hanger arms (Q) against the hanger rail and the angle braces, using a clamp will help align the edges of the parts. Drill pilot holes with a hinge-centering drill bit and drive #10 x 3/4-inch panhead sheet-metal screws through the braces into the hanger arms.
At the end of the hanger arms, add a second hanger rail to each assembly using 2-inch-long wood screws. The ends of these rails should be positioned on the hanger arms with the ends evenly aligned with the hanger rails attached to the wall.
Hang the cabinets with the top edge 22 inches above the floor. Drive screws through the cleat (K) into wall studs marked on the painter’s tape (Project Diagram, Drawing 5, Drawing 6, and Drawing 7).
Reinstall the doors on the cabinets and add bumpers to the inside face of the top two corners of each door. On each door drill holes for a door pull of your choosing, using the mounting screws supplied.
Beginning with the lowest hanger assembly, slide the shelf over the hanger assemblies against the wall. At two locations on the shelf, drill countersunk pilot holes through the top of the shelves into the wall rail (Project Diagram, Drawing 7). Drive screws through the shelf tops into the hanger rails to secure the shelf.
Repeat the installation for the second short shelf, then the long shelf. By working from the bottom shelf up, more working space is allowed for drilling and driving the shelf mounting screws.