West-Elm Inspired Cubby Shelf

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One of our mantras here at American Workshop is "Build, don't buy!" Why? Because of projects like this! The original sells for $179, but this DIY version will save you over $130. So when we came across Jen Woodhouse's plans for this West Elm knockoff (you can read her original blog post here: http://jenwoodhouse.com/west-elm-reclaimed-cubby-shelf/), we knew this was something we wanted to recreate.
Time: 3 HoursCost: $35Difficulty: Easy
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
There's no complicated joinery involved, and the average homeowner probably has all the tools needed. The hardest part about this project is actually the layout. Those zig-zaggy side pieces require some careful marking and measuring, so that the front of the shelf fits just right.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
Once we figured that out, though, it was smooth sailing. We used a bandsaw to cut the pieces, but a jigsaw would work just fine. To ensure that they were identical, we clamped them together while sanding the cut edges. The belt sander made quick work of it, but an orbital sander would work too.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
The back of the shelf is made up of 1x3's and 1x4's, giving it a planked look. You could glue and clamp the planks together, but we used pocket screws because we didn't want to sit around and wait for the glue to dry. We also used pocket screws to attach the sides to the back.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
With the case assembled, it was time to cut the shelves. Because we're fancy, we set up the table saw with the blade at a 21-degree angle, to match the angle of the shelf fronts, and ripped a 1x6 to the correct width. But if you don't feel like being fancy, no one will know if you just use a 1x5, and skip the extra cut.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
We attached the shelves to the case with glue and a brad nailer.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
And used glue and brads again to attach the shelf fronts.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
When it was all done, we filled the holes with wood putty, gave it a final sanding, then stained it with Minwax Wood Finish in Cherry, and finished it with Minwax spray-on Polycrylic. With all the nooks and crannies, the spray-on poly saved a ton of time versus brushing it on.
  • west elm inspired cubby shelf, diy, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
So maybe ours isn't quite as rustic as theirs, but then again, we did spend 35 whole dollars on brand-new wood. ;)

Suggested materials for this project:

    American Workshop

    Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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