My youngest son recently had a birthday, and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he couldn't think of anything! Let me tell you, that NEVER happens with him. Usually, he can rattle off about half a dozen things he wants, without barely a thought, but the week before this birthday...nothing.
This made it a bit more challenging for me, since I often ask for a list of what the birthday person wants. I like getting my loved ones exactly what they want (if it's within reason), and that means I don't usually have to try and guess what they might like.
I started some quick thinking, and eventually decided what "I" would like him to have, and that was some place to display his many LEGO figures, where they wouldn't be falling over every time I tried to dust the shelves in his room. He doesn't like me moving his collections around when I clean, and his Lego "guys" would tip over so easily.
So I came up with a DIY project that my hubby and I could make just in time for his birthday, and the plus side was that it would be beneficial for me too...I'm just efficient like that! 😛
After explaining to my husband what I wanted in this DIY Lego shelf, he was off to the home improvement store to purchase some simple and inexpensive supplies. For the wood and paint, everything was under $20. Not bad!
Here are my husband's words on the supplies to purchase, and how he made the frame for our shelf:
- 1" x 2" poplar stock at the lumber yard (note actual size is 3/4" x 1 1/2" but it is called 1x2). Pick the length you will need based on the size of the frame you want. In this case, we made it 18" x 24".
- Some standard molding that offers a "flat shelf" on the top, to be able to glue the flat Lego pieces on. There are probably a number of different options here, so pick what you want for looks and function, and your length is based on width of the frame and the number of shelves you desire.
- Lauan board for backing, which is smooth and thin. I went with a 1/8" x 24" x 48" sheet, which minimized the cutting for an 18" x 24" frame.
- Cut out the size frame you want. (I did not go fancy with miter cuts, as I did not have my brad nailer with me to do the neatest job, with 45 degree miters). I simply used flat edge cuts, and used wood glue and trim screws (a matter of time and function, over form).
- Once the frame was assembled, I cut down the backing (the lauan) to 18 x 24, and glued and attached it to the back of the frame with wood screws (you can use nails or screws). *Make sure the frame is square before attaching all nails/screws. Wipe off all excess glue.
- Cut down and attach the molding (the shelves) spaced out as you want them. The flat side will be used for the "shelf side." I used both glue and trim nails (ends only) to attach the molding. Again, a brad nailer is so much easier to use (follow safety procedures and use protective glasses if you do). Wipe off all excess glue.
This is the trim we bought to use for the shelves.
- Finish the wood as you like. You can sand first and leave unfinished, or you can stain or paint.
We chose a spray primer and paint in an almond color, although in the pictures it looks more gray. 😛
It was my turn (Margo) to take over, and so I put 2 coats of paint on it (with drying time in between the coats).
While I was letting the shelf dry, I searched through the
mounds neatly stored collection of Legos we have, (as a result of 3 children who have all loved them at one point or another), and picked out a bunch of flat strips, 2 studs deep (and yes I had to look the term up for those "bumps").
I laid out my color choices and figured out how many I would need for the width of each shelf. I did end up cutting some pieces with a utility knife, so the pieces would go all the way to the edges almost perfectly. If you do this, be careful! The utility knives are sharp and the Lego pieces very hard, and also make sure when you glue the cut piece onto the shelf, to put the cut edge facing the back so it won't be seen.
I used my glue gun to glue the pieces on, but if you'd rather, there are plenty of adhesive options at hardware, craft or home improvement stores.
Be sure when you're lining the pieces up to glue together, to press a Lego piece on top, connecting the two so they will be lined up correctly when you want to put the Lego "guys" on them. Otherwise they may not be spaced properly.
Once it's all dried, and the adhesive is set, the shelf is ready to be loaded up with Lego figures!
For hanging, my hubby just used extra heavy duty picture hanging hardware that we already had, and attached it to the back of the frame, and hung it on a pre-existing drywall hanger. Be sure to use proper hardware and drywall mounts, based on the weight of your shelves, and always use caution when drilling a hole into any wall! The hooks we used for the back, make it easy for one of us to remove it from the wall, so our son can add to his figures.
Our son loves his Lego characters, and I can see him having many hours of fun arranging and rearranging them, and I don't have to worry about knocking them over when I'm dusting! 🙂
Now rest assured, we came up with a few more gift ideas for our son, but this was my favorite! 🙂