Fabric-Covered Shelving Unit
How to build a shelving system that’s as beautiful as it is functional.
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When an inexpensive wooden storage unit is covered in fabric panels and filled with decorative boxes, keeping it organized is a pleasure rather than a chore. Here’s how to build one:
Materials and Tools:
1-by-12-inch pine boards
1. Cut the shelves (the pictured project has seven that are 36 inches wide), the top, the bottom and two side boards (our project’s measure 6 feet 6 inches long) from the pine lumber. The top board needs to be longer than the shelves to allow for the width of the side pieces, so be sure to account for that before cutting.
2. To assemble the shelf system, predetermine the shelf spacing (our project’s are about 8 inches apart) by laying the two side boards edge to edge, making sure the ends match up perfectly. Use a drywall square to draw lines where the shelves will be placed. To hold the shelves in position, attach 1-by-2-inch cleats, spaced about 8 inches apart, with wood glue and nails.
3. Stand the sides up and secure each shelf in position with nails from the outside.
4. Attach the top and bottom boards using screws to give the shelf more support.
5. Install a 1-by-4-inch toe kick to the bottom to give the unit some height.
Materials and Tools:
fabric (2 coordinating colors/patterns)
hook and loop tape
button cover kit
hooks and eyes (set of two)
1. To make two panels, cut four identical pieces (two of each color/pattern), being sure to account for seam allowances. Place one of each pattern right sides together and pin all the way around. Repeat for the other panel and sew each panel together, leaving an opening for turning. Turn both panels, and then iron each flat. Hand- or machine-stitch the openings closed.
2. Pin one side of the hook and loop tape along the top back edge of each panel and sew them in place. Secure the opposite side of the tape along the top of the shelving unit and staple in place.
3. Cover the buttons with fabric as per the instructions. Secure the panels in place on the shelving unit (if they overlap, attach a small opposing side of hook and loop tape to the section to hold it securely), and then hold the fabric back to decide where the buttons should go. Mark the two locations with a pin and remove the panels. Sew the buttons to the inside of each panel as marked, and then sew a set of hooks and eyes to the outside of each panel to hold the fabric in place, exposing the buttons.
4. Place the shelving unit where desired in the room, and then smooth the panels in place along the top of the shelves. Pull the panels back and secure them so the buttons show.