Now you know I am looking for ways to improve both my house and also my DIY skills. As a result I decided to build myself a simple box shelf for my bedroom. Box building is one of those fundamental things to learn in carpentry. After you master that you can move onto more advanced boxes and work your way up to cabinetry. One day I may be able to do something about my crappy kitchen. But for now I am happy with the practice.

A Simple Box Shelf Design Using Google Sketch Up

Another one of my ambitions is to learn how to use Google Sketch Up for woodworking projects. It’s not the easiest programme to just jump into but I got some instruction from a friend and that really helped a lot. There are plenty of YouTube videos to learn from too of course. So I used Google Sketchup to design a simple box shelf. The advantages for me are:

  • I can measure my wall and make sure that the design will fit.
  • I get a sense of how the parts relate to each other before I cut them.
  • I can tweak the design as I build if ideas or changes occur
  • I can replicate the results very easily (when my mam sees the shelf and decides she wants one too).
The Wood

I am within a short drive to Goodwins, my local building suppliers. Here I got my hands on some POA timber. 

POA means planed all over which is meant to mean that the wood is square and flat but in reality there are always flaws and the boards tend to suffer from “cupping”.

I picked up a length of  9’x1″ which come in 18ft lengths. I used their saw to cut the board down to two 9ft lengths so they would fit in my car.


Building suppliers can sometimes be intimidating, especially to people like me, because everyone knows what they are talking about and I haven’t a clue. You order at the counter, pay for your goods, get a docket and then bring your docket to the warehouse beside the main building and hand it to one of the lads working in there. They check your docket and get your wood for you. Stay calm.

speed square

I used what I already have in my tiny shed which is:
(In the interests of transparency, these are all amazon affiliate links)

Don’t have power tools? I hear you. I love watching YouTube videos about carpentry but most of them feature top of the range Dewalt tools situated in massive, purpose-built workshops. I’m an amateur in a garden shed who got his chop saw in Argos. Notions.

But you can build this with a saw and some nails. Though if you were spending anything on tools I would say the speed square is worth the investment.

If you are looking for a very down-to-earth guide to woodworking from another very normal guy in a shed, 
I recommend this YouTube channel called Rag n’ Bone Brown by Keith Brown. Very relateable.


I picked up a tin of stain finish paint in woodies for €10 to finish off the shelf. It took two coats and only used up a third of the tin.

Hanging the shelf with a SImple Cleat system

I decided to use a cleat system to hand the shelf. I found the studs in my walls using my phone and this app and then attached the wall half of the cleat using screws. The other half of the cleat is built into the shelf with a small instep cut into the vertical middle board to allow for hanging. There is probably a more visually appealing way of doing this but I am happy enough with the result.

Oh, the Irony

After building my shelf I look around my room for things to put on it and realised I am a bit of a minimalist so I actually had to take some stuff out of my wardrobe to put on my shelf. Normally I am against the concept of things like storage boxes because they fundamentally allow you to store things. Humans have a tenancy of filling space with things but if you limit the amount of storage you have then you automatically limit the amount of things you can store. Storing things becomes a much more considered action and forces you to look at the inherent value and benefits of your stuff. 


Want to give it a try? You can download the google sketchup plans for free below and if you found them useful you can always buy me a coffee here.

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