Easy Wood Slat Swedish Style Shelving

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:54
| Print this plan

About Project

How to build swedish style wood slat shelving.

Hi everyone! 

I'm so glad you all loved the indoor playground bunk bed monkey bar project we made for our kids last Christmas -

Here we are, a few months later, and the kids still LOVE it!!!

In fact, the kids still love it so much, that they've moved all of their toys downstairs into the room too!

Part of me was celebrating no longer having toys scattered around the living room (and let's just be honest, the kitchen, under the dining table, down the hall - everywhere upstairs), and the other part of me cringed when I went downstairs .... and the chaos was just piled up everywhere.


So we made these bulk bins out of 1x12 boards for the baby's toys - and that picked up quite a bit of the mess.  It also is a fast and easy way to put away all the small toys that our baby loves to play with.  I'm fantasizing about the day when he puts his own toys away.  

So now what to do with big sister's stuff?  Grace loves arts and crafts, second only to hanging upside down on monkey bars, and recieved so many craft kits and supplies for her birthday and Christmas, I was wading through them.  I had wanted to make pretty shelving and perhaps paint it cute colors, but the mess was driving me crazy.  I needed shelving now, I needed it fast, and it had to be deeper than a 1x12 board width.

We are very happy with how this garage shelving turned out - 


And my master closet is one of my favorite things ... ever. 

Although it certainly doesn't look this sparse and staged in real life now with both the hubs and my clothes crammed into it.

Both of these projects were ridiculously simple, fast and economical to make, so I thought, why not make playroom shelving?  

So I made this shelving the full length of the playroom.

Because the shelves are all wood 1x boards, I didn't have to deal with plywood, but got a nice deep shelf (much deeper than a 1x12 width).  The shelves also allow stuff to "breathe".  I just wish I'd had the time and weather (it's still winter in Alaska) to stain or paint this project - maybe next summer.

I also put together a quick video on the steps I took to make this shelving, so check it out -

Thanks so much for reading and using my plans.  If I haven't told you lately, I appreciate your support and am humbled to be able to create plans for you.

XO Ana



Dimensions shown above. Project is optimized to use 8 foot long shelving boards


Shopping List

12 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long 3 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long 2 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long 2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long (for cross supports, can also use 1x3s) 2" wood screws (you can also use a shorter wood screw like 1-1/4" for screwing down the shelving) I used all self tapping torque head screws (try the SPAX brand at Home Depot) so I didn't have to predrill any holes and no wood split out on me. I used all pine furring strips expect for the shelving I made deeper by using 1x6s instead of the 1x4s Nails and glue could also be used for securing shelving.

Common Materials
Cut List

8 - 1x3 @ 32" (legs) - I actually cut mine at 31-3/4" to get three legs out of one 8 foot long 1x3 12 - 2x4 @ 12-1/2" (adjust this length if using a 1x6 for shelving or more 1x4s) 9 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long Cross supports are cut to fit

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build the leg sets by attaching the 1x3 legs to the 2x4 supports with 2" wood screws and glue.

Step 2

Attach the shelving boards on the outsides first, to the outside legs. Use a level to make sure your legs are level as you attach shelving.

Step 3

Attach center boards last, leaving an even gap between the center board and the side board.

Step 4

Place 1x2s across back and mark. Cut angles (can adjust a miter saw or use a handheld saw to cut) and attach to back. We found we only needed one cross support.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Wed, 04/01/2015 - 12:41

The plans call for the 2x4 supports to be attached to the 1x3 legs, but the 2x4 will stick out on either side as it is wider than the 1x3. Is this a mistake in the plans or am I just missing something?


Thu, 04/09/2015 - 21:12

Yep, I'd already made my cuts before my brain kicked in and I realized it wasn't going to work the way it was written. The 2x4's do stick out, looks crappy. I turned the support 2x4's sideways (so they're 2" wide and 4" tall), then the 1x3's look ok screwed to them for legs. (Looks 'ok' but I'm not thrilled). Obviously, 1x4's would work, and I tried that, too, but it has a really heavy look. It's ok for the garage, shed, etc., but not for the office.

Anyone else run into trouble and come up with a decent fix?


Sun, 04/12/2015 - 18:09

I also had my cuts already done when I noticed the error. I ripped the 2x4's down to make them 2x3's and it worked out great. I also used two 1x4's for the top with a 1x6 in the middle because otherwise you end up with almost an inch gap between the boards for the shelves. For the bottom two shelves it wasn't bad but I wanted a more finished look to the top.