Brought to you by the Letter H – Letter H Shelf Tutorial

We’re planning on the nursery being painted some shade of gray, so you need to imagine a gray wall behind the H.
  Yay for our first Baby Huthbert Nursery Decor project!  
Unfortunately, we’re moving a few short weeks after he arrives, so we won’t have his nursery ready to go before his arrival πŸ™  Although the nursery won’t be put together we figured we could get started on some sweet baby decor/furniture projects instead.  
  We were inspired by this Letter Z Shelf project on Ana White’s site.  The only problem is that we aren’t planning on naming Baby Huthbert a Z name.  We aren’t 100% sold on any particular name, but we are pretty positive it’ll start with an H.    So, we were motivated to design our own H shelf (which really, how hard could a capital H be?). 
We’re still working on accumulating baby stuff to put into the shelf πŸ™‚

We made the plan below via Google Sketch up…  We’re still very much so learning the ins/outs of google sketch up so please forgive any mistakes πŸ™‚  

Originally we were going to make the back out of 1/4″ plywood painted “Irish mist”(aka off white).  Instead we decided to give it a little character with some pallet wood we had lying around. 

Tool List:

  • Orbital Sander (We use the DEWALT 5″ Random Orbit Sander and we’re very happy with it)
  • Cordless Drill
  • Kreg Jig (you could easily get away w/ using finishing nails instead)
  •  Jig Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nail Punch
  • Clamps (Specifically: Band clamp, right angle clamp! We love these clamps! You can still do this project without them, they just make things much easier)
  • Speed Square (optional)
  • Small foam paint roller (I think we used a 6″ roller).  
  • Foam Brush

Supply List:

  • Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water Based White Primer/Sealer
  • Behr Paint- Irish Mist
  • Polycrylic (We used Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish) 
  • Colored Spray Paint of your choice
  • Painters tape
  • Wood Conditioner (we used Minwax)
  • Wood Stain (we used Minwax Dark Walnut)
  • 100 Grit Sandpaper pad (for orbital sander)
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper pad (for orbital sander)
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper sheets
  • 1-1/4″ Finish Nails
  • 1-1/4″ Self tapping screws

Lumber list:

  • (4) Pallet Slats (or however many you need of whatever kind of wood you want to use for the back)
  •  (2) 1×6 @ 8ft
  • (1) 29×24 1/4″ Plywood

Cut List:

  • (2) 1×6 @ 29″
  • (6) 1×6 @ 6″
  • (1) 1×6 @ 22″
  • (4) 1×6 @ 10-3/4″
  • (1) 1×6 @ 8-1/2″
  • You’ll have to cut the plywood in the shape of an H to fit the back.. I don’t know how you’re supposed to write those dimensions.. But it’s pretty simple; after building the H frame we traced the H onto the plywood and cut it out.  
  • For the Pallet backing; after making your frame just measure it and cut the type of pattern you’d like to make.
The cuts

    Step 1: The Base
    We started by connecting the base of the H.

    As you can see in the above picture, we used wood glue and four pocket holes with 1-1/4″ self tapping screws to connect our 29″, 6″, and 10-3/4″ pieces.

     Our right angle clamp and speed square made connecting these pieces much easier.

    After completing the first base, we did the exact same thing for the other half.

    Step 1: Complete!

    Step 2: Connecting the 22″ piece
    Next we connected the 22″ piece.  We used wood glue, four 1-1/4″ finishing nails, and four pocket holes with 1-1/4″ self tapping screws on our 10-3/4″ pieces to connect the 22″ piece.   Ignore the random shelf  on the right, we thought we wanted to put a shelf there, but ended up taking it out later.

    Step 2 Complete!

    Step 3: Adding 6″ top pieces
    For this part we added the top part of the H.  Just like the bases, we used wood glue, and four pocket holes with 1-1/4″ self tapping screws. 

    To help ensure that we had everything straight and square we used a 6″ piece of wood with a clamp to keep everything in line while we screwed everything in.  We also used our handy right angle clamp while putting screws in our pocket holes.

    After connecting both tops we ended up with this:

    Step 3 Complete!

    Step 4:  Adding 8-1/2″ Piece

    Next, we connected the 8-1/2″ piece to the two 10-3/4″ pieces.  We didn’t think about how much room we’d actually have to drill.  So we ended up drilling uneccesary pocket holes in the 8-1/2″ board (ignore those).  Instead, we ended up using four 1-1/4″ finishing nails (two on each side).

    As always, hindsight is 20-20.  If we could re-do this we would have somehow connected  the 8-1/2″ piece to the 10-3/4″ pieces before attaching it.  Nailing the finishing nails was super annoying since there wasn’t much room to maneuver the hammer. 

    Step 5: Shelves (Last framing piece!)

    For this part it’s really up to you as to where you’d like to place your shelves.  As you saw in other pictures we changed our minds on where we wanted shelves to be.

    After placing the shelves where we wanted them (we used a piece of scrap wood to place both so they’d be even on both sides), we used four 1-1/4″ finishing nails  on each shelf (eight total).

    Step 5 Complete!

    After this step the frame was officially complete!  Just so the pictures don’t confuse people, the above picture is technically upside down.

    Step 6: Wood Filler (Phase 1)

    Next, we filled everything in with wood filler(greatest thing ever).  We let it dry for about a day, then sanded it down by hand/orbital using 100 grit and then 220 grit.

    Step 6 Complete!

    Step 7: Primer and First Coat of Paint

    We used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water Based White Primer/Sealer for our primer.  We started off with 2 coats, but would later have to add more to the outside part of the H when we added the back of the H on. 

    We then applied our first coat of paint.  We knew we would have some touch-ups  later on, but figured it’d be easier to get the 1st coat on before putting the yellow trim or the back on it.

    Step 7 Complete!
     Step 8: Pallet Prep
    Originally when we started this project we were going to stick with using 1/4″ plywood painted white for the back of the H.  At some point we decided using a darker stained wood for the back would give the H some flair.  We had an old pallet hanging out in the garage for awhile, we decided it’d work perfect for this project.

    So, we disassembled the pallet, sanded 4 slates down (once with 100 and again with 220), and then filled any big holes in with wood filler.  

    We left some of the nail holes unfilled, we thought they gave the wood a distressed/woren look.  The holes we filled in were holes left from taking the pallet apart.

    After the wood filler dried we sanded it down with 220 Grit, applied wood conditioner, sanded with 220 again and finally stained with Minwax Dark Walnut stain.

    *If we could re-do we would make the cuts we needed first and then stained.*

     Next, we measured out what kind of cuts we would need to make.  We made each cut and then pieced them together to make sure they’d fit.

     We re-sanded and roughed up the edges of the pieces that would be visible from the front, and re-stained anything that would be showing.  We then applied Minwax Polyeurethane semi-gloss using a sturdy paper towel and glove to apply since we just wanted a thin coat (plus we’ve had zero success in cleaning polyeurethane out of our brushes).

    Step 8 Complete!

    Step 9: Yellow Trim
     Next we prepped the H for the yellow outside trim.  We used Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow Gloss.

     We had a hard time picking out our accent color.  For Baby Huthbert’s nursery color scheme we knew we wanted gray, white, and dark brown as our main colors; but we weren’t sure about our accent color.  So choosing the trim for the H was a big deal since we were finally committing to our “pop” of color.

    We sprayed two coats, and removed the tape while the paint was still a little wet, to prevent cracking/tearing.

    Step 9 Complete!

    Step 10:  Attaching Plywood/Pallet backing

    We traced the H outline onto the plywood, cut it out with our jig saw, then glued the pallet wood onto it.  We let the glue dry overnight and then nailed the plywood/pallet into the back side of the H.

    We nailed many nails all around the edge of the H


    Step 10 Complete!

     Step 11: Fixing Gaps

    We tried painting the sides to see if it made any difference (it didn’t).

    After we put the pallet/plywood backing on we hadn’t really accounted for it looking gappy.  We decided we’d need to re-apply wood filler and re-paint the outside.

    After applying wood filler

    After we let the wood filler dry for about a day we sanded it back down with 120 grit with our orbital sander.

    After re-sanding

    We thought about not re-applying the wood filler, but in the end we were really glad we did.

    Step 12: FINALLY the Finish!

    After everything was sanded down we moved onto the final coat of paint on the outside.  We applied another coat of primer, and two coats of paint (this was only to the outside of the H, not the inside since we’d already finished that).  We then used two coats of Minwax Polycrylic on all parts of the H.

    . . . ….. . and TA DA!!!

    We still don’t have much baby stuff to put in the shelf, but I’m sure that will come with time.

    Linked to:
    Beyond The Picket Fence
    Hope Studios
    Not Just A House Wife
    One Creative Mommy
    Just Us Four