Tuesday, January 1, 2019

It's like magic.. floating bookshelves!

Happy new year, all of you!

Last week I read an article about the good news resolutions that people make, and was gobsmacked to find that "reading more books" was in the top 10. I thought: well, there's at least one new year's resolution I don't have to worry about!

I don't read books; I devour them, and have done so ever since I was a little girl.
I read secretly at night, I read outside, during holidays, in school, in my old tree house... I simply read everything I could lay m hands on. There's even one not-so-proud moment where my mum found me reading the telephone-book, because I liked reading the adverts in it, and the weird family-names.

Some books I read so often as a little girl, that they literally fell apart, and I can still remember the weirdest little details about them, such as what Harry Potter ate during the start-of-term feast. (a bit of everything except peppermint humbugs) It's weird how willingly my brain absorbed such useless facts, while it blatantly refused to remember any of the French grammar rules during tests.
But the general message stands: 1) I love reading, and 2) We own way too many books.

And that second fact is becoming a bit of a problem. Even in this day and age of ebooks, there is just nothing that beats an actual book.
The solution of an abundance of books is, of course, simple: a book case. But since Joost and I have planned on turning our attic space into a mezzanine with library ever since we bought this house, it just feels a little wasteful to buy a book case now. So.. the books piled up in corners everywhere: in the bedrooms, the living room, in the kitchen.. Until I had enough.

"That's it!" I shouted, slamming my fist on the table, (and probably causing an avalanche of books in my wake) I'm  going to build some storage space for those damned books!"

And not just any boring kind of case of shelves.. no.. magical floating bookshelves! (oooeeehh...)
How? Well, read on to find out!

-- How to--

You may have seen these kind of novelty floating shelves before:

Doesn't look bad...

They are quite awesome indeed. Just in my opinion, not awesome enough: They'll only appear to be floating with enough books stacked on them to hide that metal bit. And I thought that I might be able to pull it off even better.

  • A solid wall ( I wouldn't try it on a drywall!)
  • Two metal rods, about 25 cm in length, depending on the size of your book.
  • An electric drill with the appropriate drilling bit ( for stone walls, and the same size as your rods)
  • Box cutter
  • A few screws ( as thick as your book is) with washer rings
  • A hardcover book that you are willing to sacrifice. (shhh.... It's for the best, baby! I wasn't going to read you anyway!)

my old-fashioned books! 

I started with my metal rods. You'll only need two, but I was planning on making two shelves. They look old, and that's because they are: they came out of some shelving unit in our house, and are at least 50 years old. But they'll do!

just a few rods.
I marked where I wanted to drill (just make sure it's level, and the spacing is ~ 3/4 of the width of the book)

and started drilling. 

It involves some power tools, but other than that it's not difficult or very exciting. Just a matter of measuring, keeping the drill straight, and pressing the button.  I drilled the holes to a depth of about 10 cm.

And after that, I simply shoved in the metal rods.


If your wall was indeed solid, and you used strong metal rods, by now you'll have a support system that will hold just about anything, and is much, much stronger than those floating shelves you can buy a Ikea. I didn't try it, but I wouldn't be afraid to stand on these if I had to.

If you are very lazy, you could be done by now. Just pop a book on top, and you're done!

It's an option.. 

But I wanted the real deal: even when I lay on the floor and look up, they should still appear to be floating.

So I held my book underneath the rods, and started tracing the outline.

Then I took my box cutter and started cutting out the shapes.

It's a bit messy.. 
Test every now and then to see how much deeper you'll need to cut.
A lot of paper later, and I had something like this:

I do feel a bit sad for the book. But it really was a boring book! 
Of course, when you'll shove the book in place now, the book will just fall open, as books do. So I needed as quick solution to keep the pages and covers together. Glueing all the pages will probably work as well, but that sounded really slow, so I simply screwed some screws with washer rings in to keep all the pages together.

And a bit of glue to keep the cover in place! 

When everything is glued and screwed, simply shove the book over the rods, and you're done! You could add a bit of construction glue between the rods and the book, but I didn't do it, and don't think it's necessary.

And done! You can use it to display a few items..

Or just pack them chock-a-blockfull with books!

I actually added a second shelve half a meter above it so I could stack my books all the way up to the ceiling without having to fear that the whole stack would tumble. It is really sturdy, and still quite easy to grab the books you want!

Inky's furry butt aproves.

can you spot the second shelve? 

Oh, there it is! 

You look slightly spaced out, Inky.. 
I'm quite proud of this project, and until I've build or library, I'm perfectly happy with a few stacks like this around our house!

I'd love to hear your thoughts! hugs!

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