How to Build a Plastic Shelf

What You'll Need
Base pieces
Slat pieces
Attachment Joints
Wall anchors
Cardboard Backing

In the past, plastic shelves made many people think "dorm room" more than "sitting room," but in the workaday world of the 21st century, many people are seeing the appeal of the ever-increasing variety of plastic shelving available for even the classiest home or office. Plastic shelves are cheep, stylish and easy to put together. Today we're going to learn about how to assemble a typical set of plastic shelves. These instructions describe how to create a unit of six rectangular shelves, but you can adjust the numbers accordingly for your own needs. You can follow these instructions with a typical shelf-building kit, or purchase the materials individually at your local hardware store.

Step 1 - Build Your Initial Shelf Layer

Assemble your first layer of shelving, connecting the individual planks together with the pins. Insert attachment joints on either side of the connected shelf so that they protrude both from the top and bottom.

Step 2 - Build The Secondary Layer

Assemble the second layer in the same manner as the first. Attach the joints only on the lower half of the shelf, instead of on both sides as in Step 1.

Step 3 - Connect the Layers

Connect the shelf layers together. The attachment joints should click together seamlessly, but if the connection isn't perfect, don't panic! Attaching cups to the back of each join will stabilize the shelving unit.

Step 4 - Attach the Slats

Slide four slats between the two shelving layers. The slats on either side should click into place between the attachment joints. If they do not, you may have to pop the joints apart and slide the slats in before reconnecting.

Step 5 - Repeat the Process and Connect the Pieces

Repeat steps 1 through 4 to create another unit of shelving. The attachment joints at the top and bottom of each set should click together. Reinforce the connection with a cup behind each attachment joint.

Step 6 - Attach the Cardboard Backing

Pin the cardboard to the back side of the shelving unit. If the cardboard comes as part of a kit, it will have perforated holes for when the shelf is screwed into the wall.  If not, poke holes six holes in the cardboard, about a centimeter wide each. The holes should be located near the attachment joints to help pin the cardboard backing to the vertical bars of the shelving unit.

Step 7 - Drill Holes in the Wall

Place your shelving unit against the wall so that you are able to see where it will need to be attached. Carefully drill holes in the wall matching the location and dimensions of the openings in the cardboard backing. It's better to have to narrow of holes than too wide; slightly small holes will be made larger by the screws, but if they get too wide your shelf won't be able to attach!

Step 8 - Insert Wall Anchors and Screws

Insert the wall anchors through the openings in the attachment joints. Place your screws through the wall anchors and screw your plastic shelf in place.