Take advantage of unused space and eliminate countertop clutter with these simple shelves. This sturdy etagere provides excellent storage space for any bathroom, whether you use it to store towels, toiletries, or cleaning products. The two deep shelves at the top accommodate larger, bulky items like bath towels, while the narrow shelves at the bottom are perfect for toiletries and accessories.
Made of electrical conduit and melamine-covered particleboard, the etagere is inexpensive as well as quick and easy to build. If you shop for materials in the morning, you could be ready to put the shelves to use by afternoon.
Keep in mind that improperly fastening this unit to the wall may compromise this project’s usefulness. Make sure the mounting brackets are aligned with the wall studs so the shelf can be securely fastened.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
•Drill • 1″ spade bit
• Combination square • Pipe cutter
• Adjustable wrench • Pliers
• Stud finder • 120-grit sandpaper
• (2) 1 ⁄ 2 × 8″ × 2 ft. melamine-covered boards • (2) 1 ⁄ 2 × 10″ × 2 ft. melamine-covered boards
• (2) 1 ⁄ 2 “-dia. × 10 ft. electrical conduit • (8) 1 ⁄ 2 “-dia. compression couplings
• (16) 1″ to 3 ⁄ 4 ” reduction washers • (2) 1 ⁄ 2 “-dia. rubber caps
• (2) 1” right-angle brackets • Wood screws ( 1 ⁄ 2 “, 1 1 ⁄ 2 “)
Step A: PREPARE THE SHELVES.
1. To ensure the holes in each shelf are properly aligned, reference marks are drawn on the face of one narrow shelf panel. Then all the panels are stacked together and the holes are drilled simultaneously. Choose a narrow panel to place on the top of the stack and set a combination square to 1″. Draw reference marks 1″ from both short ends of the panel. Then set the combination square to 4″ and draw two additional reference marks intersecting the first two lines.
2. Stack all the shelf pieces together and clamp them down, so the ends and the back edges of each panel are flush. To avoid breakout on the bottom shelf, apply a piece of electrical tape to the 1″ spade bit as a gauge for the drill bit depth. The tip of the drill bit should just puncture the bottom side of the last shelf.
3. Drill a hole on each end of the stack of shelves, stopping when the electrical tape on the bit meets the face of the top shelf and the tip of the bit has just punctured the bottom of the last shelf in the stack.
4. Unclamp the shelves. Flip over the bottom board and complete the holes from the back side.
Step B: PREPARE THE CONDUIT.
1. Sand both 10 ft. lengths of electrical conduit with 120-grit sandpaper. Use a random-orbit sander to reduce the sanding time and create a more even finish.
2. Cut the conduit into six 1 ft. lengths and two 4 ft. lengths, using a pipe cutter.
Step C: ASSEMBLE THE FITTINGS & SHELVES.
1. Unscrew both ends of each compression coupling and slide the center of each of the couplings into the holes in each shelf. Then sandwich each coupling with reduction washers over the shelves.
2. Place compression rings on the end of the couplings and loosely thread compression nuts over each end of the couplings.
3. Starting with the bottom shelf, insert the two 4 ft. pieces of conduit into the couplings on the bottom side of the lowest shelf. Then insert two 1-ft. pieces of conduit into the opposing ends of the couplings.
4. Tighten the compression nuts on the top and bottom of the shelf at a uniform rate, until both pieces of conduit are stationary under moderate hand pressure. If either pipe is still loose, the compression nut does not have enough space to tighten the compression ring. If more space is needed, loosen the opposing nut one-half rotation and retighten both nuts until a solid connection is made.
5. Repeat this process, working from the bottom to the top of the unit until all shelves are installed.
Step D: TIGHTEN THE COUPLINGS & INSTALL THE UNIT.
1. Set the entire shelf on a flat surface and tighten the coupling nuts around each shelf, using a large adjustable wrench and a channel-type pliers. The coupling nuts should be tightened at a uniform rate to ensure a good connection.
2. When each joint is tightened, slide the rubber caps on the ends of the 4 ft. lengths, and stand the shelf over your toilet, positioned so the weight of the shelf leans against the wall.
3. Locate two studs in the wall behind your toilet, using a stud finder. Place masking tape on the wall to indicate the stud positions. Then slide the shelf into position and, holding it in place, make reference marks for the stud locations on the bottom of the lowest shelf and the top of the highest shelf.
4. Lower the etagere to the floor and fasten the brackets to the shelves in the appropriate locations, using 1 ⁄ 2 ” wood screws. Stand the etagere up and fasten the brackets to the studs in the wall, using 1 1 ⁄ 2 ” wood screws.
T I P :
Cover each compression nut with masking tape before assembling the shelf. The masking tape will shield the nuts from scratching during tightening and can be easily removed after assembly.