2x4 Console Cubby Shelves

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 03/05/2010 - 09:31
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This console height cubby unit can be used as wall storage or as one of our readers did (inspired by DIY Magazine) an entire wall of storage! Special thanks to our readers for sharing their photos.


This stack of magazines from our trip to the bookstore have been waiting to be blogged for a couple of weeks, and just yesterday it occurred to me that the April editions are probably now available. So not to overwhelm you with magazines, but I wanted to show you the reason I bought the Better Homes and Gardens DIY magazine for March 2010

image from DIY Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Spring 2010

I loved this room, and I especially love the shelving. Of course this is an IKEA Expedit unit, and at $70, a very reasonable price. I am going to give you plans for a similar unit (with trim over the shelves and dividers for extra strength) today, and also show you how to add the molding on the bottom of the shelving unit.

image from DIY Magazine, from Better Homes and Gardens Spring 2010

Notice that is THREE shelving units, put together with a solid countertop. I will show you how to adjust the length of the legs in this plan to get this exact look. Love those trees? Go to here for the pattern, from Jeni Wright of Team DIY.

So you might not have room for all three. I just want to give you an idea of how to finish out the tops and bottoms to make the shelving units look like built-ins. Of course, if you like the wheeled version better,

That's the plan we are doing today!

63 1/2" x 30 1/4" x 12 3/4"


Shopping List

4 – 8′ 1×12 Boards (Cut all of the long cuts first, short cuts from the scraps)
8 – 1×2 Boards, 8′ Length

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Cut List for the Box

2 – 1×12 @ 30 1/4″ (Sides
1 – 1×12 2 63 1/2″ (Top)
2 – 1×12 @ 62″ (Shelves)
6 – 1×12 @ 14″ (Vertical Dividers)

Cut List for the Trim (I recommend cutting your trim to the project specific measurements and using these numbers as a guide)

4 – 1×2 @ 63 1/2″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
10 – 1×2 @ 28″ (Vertical Trim)
8 – 1×2 @ 14″ (Shelf Trim)

3 – 1×2@ 11 1/2″ (Caster Wheel Supports)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface. Take a square after each step. Use glue and keep outside edges flush as necessary. Use proper safety equipment and precautions.


Step 1

Build the Box. Begin by fastening through the sides with 2″ nails and glue to the shelves. Use the measurements above to guide you. Then fasten the top in place.

Step 2

Dividers. First fasten all the bottom dividers in place, fastening through the shelves into the ends of the dividers. Mark out the proper spacing. Then fasten through the top into the top dividers. To fasten the bottom edge of the top divider, nail at an angle through the bottom corner of the divider into the shelf. Use 2″ nails and glue.

Step 3

Trim. Using 2″ nails and glue, fasten the trim in place, measuring to fit. You may wish to mark the top and bottom trim before fastening the vertical trim in place. The shelf trim is flush on the top with the shelves.

Step 4

Caster Supports. Using 1 1/4″ nails and glue, fasten the caster supports to the bottom of the piece. Then fasten your casters to these pieces.


Vicky Baker (not verified)

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 06:07

Oh this is absolutely perfect - my husband and I have been looking for a record album (remember those?) storage solution for MONTHS. Non of the commercially made 'cube' storage had large enough cubes. This is perfect in it's dimensions - I don't even have to change a single cut!

Will post pictures of the two of them when they're done!

P.S. Got any ideas for barrister bookcases that'll fit DVD's ?

~janelle~ (not verified)

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 09:00

Thanks for these plans, Ana!

I went to the lumber store last weekend, and bought 5 1x12s, but it wasn't enough for all of the shelfs and dividers. I bought most of the lumber, and am going back this weekend for the rest. I will need 3 more 1x12s to complete the cuts that you outline. Of course, that's assuming a 6' 1x12, which is what was available to me.

I'll post pictures as soon as I'm done!

P.S. This DEFINITELY makes me appreciate the need for a nail gun! Mine doesn't hold 2" nails, I need a bigger one!

aimeewrites (not verified)

Sat, 04/17/2010 - 12:43

Perfect! I've been wanting better storage for my boys' toys, and this will definitely fit the bill. I'm not sure when I'll get it done, but I'm printing the plans today...one step closer!

gakusei (not verified)

Sun, 04/18/2010 - 18:02

So glad I found this! I was just envying the Expedit shelves, as I prefer cubbies to dresser drawers. This is a great plan for a money-tight college student like me. Thanks!

Kristin (not verified)

Thu, 05/06/2010 - 16:03

Has anyone modified this to make it 4x4 like the Expedit? I was planning on putting one of those on a living room wall but if I can build a more durable version (for less!) I think I want to try my hand at it but it would be the first big piece of furniture I've built and I'm intimidated. It looks like it would be plenty easy to make it one cubby wider, am I right?

orange sugar (not verified)

Fri, 06/04/2010 - 16:03

Hey Kristin I don't think it would be difficult at all. I was thinking something similar. This reminds me of the Expedit but you can build it out of something better than particle board.

makingitcheap (not verified)

Wed, 01/26/2011 - 18:24

Ana, I don't know if you have decided what to put in your entryway but I have a similar great room that I love but sometimes I had been looking for some way to "make" one with a piece of furniture. I stumbled onto a picture of a similar cubby system, about 5' tall by 4' or so wide that was "open", allowing the spaciousness that we love about our great rooms but a sort of closed area so that people who just stop by won't see all our mess in the room. The picture had the cubby unit staged with decorative items, and since then I saw an hgtv show that used a similar one to separate a "bedroom" from a living area in a bachelor or loft apt. I am going to try to make this cubby unit you have shown without the wheels to be my "entry." I think it will be fabulous. Thank you for posting the plans. Teri

Lynne (not verified)

Sun, 02/13/2011 - 09:28

Kristen, this is only the third thing I've ever built in my life and I must say, it's easier than I thought. I was intimidated too, but you definitely can do it. All I have left to do it sand and paint it, and I'll include pictures. You could alter the design easily.

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 12:51

I love love love the trees on top of the shelves in this photo? I see they are the same as the ones in the magazine. Any idea where you can get them?

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