How to Make Shelves out of MDF

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How to Make Shelves out of MDF

MDF, or medium-density fibreboard, is an inexpensive alternative to regular wood. Shoppers can use this material for many different DIY projects around the home. One of the easiest things to make with MDF is a set of shelves. MDF can be slightly difficult to work with, but with the proper techniques, materials, knowledge, and construction, MDF shelves can last for years and add much usable storage space to the home.


Measure the Shelves

The first thing to do when creating handmade shelves is measure. Consumers must measure for the appropriate length and width for each shelf to ensure that it is going to fit in its dedicated space.

General Guideline Measurements

In a kitchen space for holding dishes, the size of the shelves should be about 10x24 inches (25.4x61 cm), while in a bathroom for holding toiletries the size of the shelves should be about 8x16 inches (20.3x40.6 cm). In an office, shelves for books can measure to 10x36 inches (25.4x91.4 cm), or 12x36 inches (30.5x91.4 cm) for holding craft supplies. Finally, in a living room space the shelves can measure about 8x24 inches (20.3x61 cm) to properly hold knickknacks and other belongings.

Determining an Accurate Measurement

The best method to determine an accurate size is to lay out the items in the same way that they might sit on the shelf. Then measure the total length needed to fit all the items on one shelf, plus the total width of the items. Be sure to add an inch or two to each measurement for stability. This ensures that the shelves are the right size for the homeowner's needs.


Choose Brackets

Brackets are necessary for hanging shelves on the wall. If consumers are building a shelving unit, then they need a different type of support, such as solid sides or a basic frame. In general, brackets need to be spaced about 45 cm apart. They also need to extend the entire width of the shelf, less a couple cm at most. The more brackets a builder uses, the more stable the shelves. Even the smallest of shelves needs at least two brackets. Larger shelves may need three, four, or more.


Cut the MDF

The final step is to assemble the shelves. The first step in assembly is for builders to ensure that they cut the MDF to the correct measurements. MDF has a soft inner component, so they must handle it carefully. It also produces lots of dust, so wear a facemask when cutting.


Paint the Shelves

Once the shelves are cut, consumers can paint or finish them in whatever way they choose. Builders may want to give the edges a decorative look with a router, or they may want to give them a coat or two of paint. Once they are dry, continue to the next step.


Assemble the Shelves

Lay the boards out flat and mark the screw holes for each bracket. Most brackets require two holes on the shelf, as well as one or two in the wall. Place the brackets equal distances apart, and mark the locations for the screws with a pencil or pen. When builders have marked all the holes, use a drill bit to predrill holes in the wood. The final step is to hang the shelves or attach them to their base. Make sure the shelves are level by using a levelling device. Finally, attach the brackets to the wall or base with screws. Builders may need another person’s assistance to complete this step.


Buying MDF Shelves and Supplies on eBay

eBay is a great site to find shelves or shelving units available from number of reputable sellers. You can find many materials used for making shelves yourself, or you can find premade shelves so that you do not have to do any of the work. Use eBay’s feedback system to choose the best seller from whom to purchase your materials or shelves. Creating shelving can be a task, but with the proper materials and setup, you can accomplish it easily. Be sure to choose sizes and brackets wisely, and assemble your shelves carefully.

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