Simple Shelf Building Project for Kids

This shelf building project for kids is surprisingly simple. Kids love to hammer in nails! This building project is super easy and something that kids can enjoy and be proud of. In the end, they’ll have their own handmade shelf.

Writing An Opinion

When your child is done building they can write their opinion about the process. From the writing teacher herself, though, I will say that if you can’t find time to complete the writing, don’t let that stop you from making time for the building! I posted this more for the building than the writing.

Ages 4 and Up

This simple shelf building project for kids is recommended for ages 4 and up with adult help and supervision.  The final shelf will be sturdy and a great place to store puzzles, books, toys, shoes, etc.!

A child standing on a wooden shelf building project for kids

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. First, ONE board that is 12 inches wide, 6 feet long and 1 inch thick from Home Depot.  ($15.97 each)
6 foot by 1 foot piece of wood at Home Depot used for the shelf building project for kids

Note:      While the store will say it’s 1 inch thick, the board actually measures ¾” thick.

                Also, while it says 12” wide.  Sometimes it measures 11” wide.

Have an employee cut the 6 foot long board into 2 pieces that are 16” long and 2 pieces that are 19” long.

16”   16” 19” 19”
The saw at Home Depot that cuts the wood for the shelf building project for kids

2. Second, a box of 1 1/2″ finishing nails ($1.95 each)

box of nails to build the shelf building project for kids
The price ($1.95) for the box of nails

3. Third, a light weight hammer ($4.73 each)

a hammer that you need for the shelf building project for kids

HERE ARE THE STEPS:

  1. The first step is the hardest step.  Take one 12” x 19” piece and stand it up vertically.  Take one 12” by 16” piece and place it horizontally so that the edge of the board rests on top of the 1st board.  Have the child hold the top board steadily while the adult hammers in the first nails (see step #2).
two pieces of wood to make the corner of the shelf building project for kids
two pieces of wood to make the corner of the shelf building project for kids

2. Next, hammer in one nail on each corner. 

nails hammered into the first corner of the shelf building project for kids

Once the first two nails are in, the adult can hold the top board steadily while the child hammers in the remaining nails along the edge.  The child can add 5-10 nails.

a child hammering in a nail into his shelf building project for kids

3. Then, measure 3 inches from the left edge of the horizontal board.

a tape measure measuring 3 inches from the bottom of the shelf

Place the second 12”x 19” board under the horizontal board so that it is 3“ from the left edge.

Hammer in one nail at each end of the board.   Then, have the child hammer in 5-10 more nails between the first two nails.

a child hammering in a nail in her shelf

4. Next, turn the shelf upside down.   Rest the second 12”x16” piece on top of the two vertical pieces.

3 pieces of wood that made the side of the shelf
4 pieces of wood, the top, bottom and two sides of the shelf

5. Fifth, hammer one nail in each corner above the right board. 

nails hammered into the corner of the shelf

6. Sixth, hammer one nail into each end of the left board.

a child hammering in a nail into the final side of the shelf

7. Finally, have the child (or children) hammer in 5-10 more nails in between each of the two end nails. 

children hammering in nails into the shelf

Done!  The child can leave the shelf as it or paint it.

a finished wooden shelf
a painted wooden shelf

Write your Opinion

Again, on the next day, you can have your child write their own opinion about the process. Use this writing lesson to guide him or her!

Other Building Projects for Kids

In addition, your kids may be interested in building their own book box to hold their school or library books.

Or, a 4 tier multi-purpose shelf: