How to Make a Simple DVD Shelf

Looking for a cheap way to store and display your DVDs? Try making your own inexpensive shelf!

Okay, so you have more than 40 DVDs and need a place to keep them safe and out of the way. But, you’re not a handyman and can’t afford to go out and buy a fancy shelf to protect your investment. What to do? Build it yourself for very little cost and with minimal effort.

The first thing you need to know is where the shelf will be positioned in your home and how much room you have for it. So let’s get started:

Get out your trusty yardstick or tape measure and determine how tall and wide your shelf can be. Once you have the dimensions, think about what kind of wood you want to use.

Visit your local hardware store and you will find that ¼” plywood is pretty cheap; especially if you ask for pieces instead of a full sheet. Some stores sell half sheets which is usually plenty (4 foot tall by 4 foot wide). As an alternative to plywood, pressed wood may be slightly less expensive.

Determine if you can use a Skilsaw® or not. If yes, you are ready to draw out your pieces. If no, ask the store personnel to cut the wood for you. Be careful though, some places charge you for the cutting. As a last resort for the unskilled, ask a friend to help you cut the shelf pieces.

A simple size that doesn’t take up much room is 4 feet tall x 10 inches wide x 6 inches deep. You should be able to get 5 shelves and the two sides out of a 4x4 half sheet of plywood. ¼” plywood is a great thickness that provides sturdy support and results in a shelf light enough to move around when it’s empty.

Shelf sides should be 4 feet tall and 6 inches wide. Shelves can be as wide as you want, but 10 inches is a good width if you are cramped for space. Once you have cut the wood, you are ready for the next step.

Since DVDs are very lightweight, you can use ¾” or 1” paneling nails or wood screws. Place your two sides on level ground or a large table. Then slide one shelf in between the two side panels. You can use shoes or books to prop up the sides until the first nailing takes place. You want to make sure that your front edges and back edges are level with each other before you begin nailing!

Take your hammer and the first nail and place it in the vertical middle of the shelf on one of the side panels near the front of the unit. Use a second nail in the vertical/horizontal middle of the shelf on the same side panel as the first nail. Finally, place a third nail near the back. Repeat steps for the other side of the first shelf. (The first shelf is actually the bottom of the unit.)

Next, take a pencil and ruler, and mark off shelf heights of 8 inches between the top of one shelf and the bottom of the next one up. The lines just help you keep your shelving straight and square. If you want to store 8mm or cassette tapes, or CDs, use your own judgment as to shelf height by placing one of the items on the shelf and leaving ¾” more space than the height of the item. This can create a unique custom shelf.

Your final task is to nail on the top shelf to complete your DVD shelf, and voila!

The finished unit can now be painted, decoupaged, covered with self-adhesive contact paper, or left nude…it’s all up to you, your sense of style, and your budget.

Of course, there are always those old plastic milk crates and plywood boards, if you want something REALLY simple!

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Posted on Jan 13, 2010