Friday, 14 November 2014

DIY cloud shelf for nursery

by Bex

I somehow came across a cloud shelf on Etsy and fell in love with it.  It's perfect for that little space between the sun clock and bookshelf in the nursery that I was wondering how to fill.  Unfortunately I wasn't willing to spend £66 for a small one including postage from America and I couldn't find one for sale in the UK.  Also, Nik agreed it was a good idea but thought the budget should be £15-18.

In the end I decided it actually wouldn't be too difficult to make my own!

Initially I taped 3 sheets to paper together and drew the large cloud, then a smaller one for the front.  I planned to cut these out of MDF (well not me as the dust isn't good for the babies).  As the front one is smaller and I planned to keep them thin, I decided the front cloud could be stuck on with some super tough glue (like the No More Nails I used to attach hooks to my ceramic coasters a while back).  As a result of this, I changed my design of the front cloud to have a fluffy bottom as well since it doesn't have to line up along the straight line of the shelf.

As I hadn't measured anything, I then took my cloud cutouts up to the nursery to see how they'd look on that wall and it was pretty perfect!

I bought the bits I needed in B&Q, they were extremely helpful when I was choosing the thickness of the MDF as well as a piece of wood for the shelf, the man helping me put everything in my trolley and another even pushed it out to my car and loaded the boot for me too (I also bought a lot of cans of paint!).

I wasn't sure of the best way to attach it to the wall without having to screw through the big cloud (you can see on the Etsy listing for the medium cloud shelf they have done this and added covers to hide the screws) or have unsightly brackets coming down underneath.  It's not huge (mine measures 48cm x 28cm x 15.5cm, just 12cm narrower than the large cloud shelf) so I thought hooking it onto screws might work but it wouldn't sit perfectly flush and things might fall off the shelf.  I then came up with the plan of getting L-shaped plates and screwing them to the wall before sitting the shelf on and screwing up from the bottom to hold it securely in place (basically brackets in reverse).  As it's not a heavy duty shelf and won't be holding anything overly heavy, a couple of good sized brackets should hold it comfortably depending how big you make the shelf.

Next I had to wait until Nik had the time to help Mum when it wasn't dark outside.  They're both great DIYers luckily so had no problems cutting my MDF clouds ready for me to build and paint.  In the end, it was dark outside but we have a good security light and it was the best time to get it done.  ;)  The old, musty garden table we found in the garden behind the oil tank has come in useful a couple of times as they also used it for sawing when sorting out Nik's built in cupboard in our bedroom.

So if you fancy making your own cloud shelf, here's my amateur guide:

What you'll need:

A pencil
Some paper
A piece of MDF (I bought 6mm thick MDF sheet for £9.18 from B&Q and have plenty left over)
A small plank of wood (I bought a piece of Spruce board for £7.32 from B&Q and have enough left for another smaller shelf)
A jigsaw and someone who's comfortable/able to use it
A stable table & handy helper or a workmate to hold the MDF while it's cut (I've just found one here at less than half price!)
A drill
A few screws
Paint brush
White woodwork paint
No More Nails or similar strong glue
Spirit level
2 or 3 Corner/angle brackets (I bought 76.5mm corner braces, £1.99 for 10 from Screwfix)
Rawl plugs

I had all the other bits already so spent £18.49 - pretty much right on budget ;)


Draw your template according to whatever size you want it to be.  Mine ended up 48cm wide and 27cm high at the tallest point of the cloud, the little cloud was 19cm x 14cm.  I also decided to to add a bit more shape to the bottom of the small cloud rather than just a straight bottom as this one sits on the front anyway.  Copy around the template onto your MDF and cut out the cloud shapes.

Cut the plank of wood to the same length as the big cloud.  I also asked Nik to trim the Spruce as the shelf was a bit deeper than I would like so he took one edge off to make the depth 15cm.

Then sand the edges and paint all the pieces with primer.

Drill small holes through the back of the base of the big cloud where the shelf will sit and match the edges up so it's sitting level.  Mark where these holes meet the shelf then make more small holes in the back of the shelf edge.  Match them up and screw through the holes to join the big cloud to the shelf.  We used 5 screws.

Paint the shelf/big cloud and small cloud separately with white wood paint.  I also painted the bottom of the brackets so they are more camouflaged if viewed from below (as we may well be crawling around on the floor with the twins).  Leave to dry.

I planned to stick the small cloud on the front with 'no more nails' glue but we decided to make it a bit more secure with 3 tacks which we sunk and covered with wood filler before painting over another coat of white paint.

To attach to the wall, use a spirit level to draw a straight line where you want the shelf to sit.  Using your drill, rawl plugs and screws, attach the brackets to the wall, spaced evenly apart along the line and ensure they don't correspond to the existing screws in the shelf.

Sit the shelf on top of the brackets and screw up into the base of the shelf to secure.  Ta da....

It fills that space perfectly and of course had to be finished off with some kind of mythical cloud dwelling creature - a unicorn or pegasus I thought would be perfect.  I picked one up in M&S for £8 which would of course be kept well away from the twins until they are old enough not to stab themselves/each other in the eye/other body part with the horn!  Nik thought it was a bit creepy though and wasn't keen on my back up plan of pegasus either so in the end I found the least creepy unicorn I could - a My Little Pony unicorn beanie!  I'm still waiting for it to arrive (along with some back up dragon beanies as they would also make good cloud dwellers.

In the meantime, I've put one of my old teddies up there with a few books...


Kirsty | A Safe Mooring said...

Argh I LOVE this! The blue wall, the cloud and the sun - it's like a lovely sky shining down on the twins. So, so perfect. Can't wait to see the whole nursery in all its rainbow glory.

Unknown said...

I just love this shelf and the wall and the sun (basically everything Kirsty said) x

Unknown said...

I love this project, nice job! I've got #2 on the way and would love to recreate this for the nursery, including that awesome sunburst clock. Where did you find that? Or is possibly a DIY project?

Bex said...

The clock was from Ikea Dan!

Unknown said...

Argh, bummer! They don't sell it anymore and I can't find it, or anything like it anywhere. Thanks for the quick reply anyway. Guess I should have found this 2 years ago, haha!

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