I sold my wares at a craft show a couple weeks ago. Well, it was the La Leche League Conference of Western PA really. I love doing LLL shows, because all the attendees are in my target market. And I love La Leche League.
I had my son when I was 22. NONE of my other friends had kids at that point, and it created a rift between us. I was too shy to find out about LLL and go to meetings when I first had Caleb. But when he was about 8-9 months he went through a biting phase, and I called a LLL leader to ask for advice. Her advice wasn’t anything that I hadn’t tried before, but she did invite me to come to a meeting.
And so I did. At once, I felt at home. Granted I was shy and quiet, but being around other mothers that all wanted to treat their children with kindness and give them the best start was wonderful. I was feeling like the odd man out at home since I was still nursing and sharing a bed with my son, and it was great to go somewhere that I would be celebrated and not condemned for following my instincts.
I met some wonderful friends through the groups too. Some I’ve lost touch with since moving away, but some that will be friends for life (at least I hope!). I didn’t really need help with breastfeeding-my son was great from the start (lol, getting him to UNlatch was the problem), but talking to other mothers with the same priorities was invaluable. And I could share my experiences to help other women.
But back to the show. I wanted to create a 3 dimensional space on my table. Toys are on shelves at stores, and that is the way we are used to looking at them, so I needed a shelf. I wanted a folding shelf, but the cost was prohibitive. But after searching the internet for weeks (on and off), I found my answer.
It was simple. Looked easy enough to build. And most importantly, it didn’t take much wood. I can’t see wasting loads of wood building a shelf, when I could use that same wood to build toys. This shelf is clearly tapered in the front, but I found another example that was a bit cruder, and convinced me that it would be easy.
I only had a table at this show, and I wanted to start small anyway to see how well they worked, so I shrunk the design down to fit on a table top. I cut boards the size that I thought they ought to be, and started assembling.
After I got the first one made, I saw that I would have to shrink my shelving boards down to about 1×8 boards instead of the 1×10’s that I had been planning on, because since the shelves are on at an angle I needed to make the boards they rested on longer than the actual 1×10. Of course I knew that before, but I still didn’t make them enough longer than 9.5 inches.
How I Made It
First I decided how tall I wanted it, and guessed (wrongly it turned out) about how wide to make the crossbars. I thought 1×2’s would be a good size for the boards. I cut the boards with my miter saw. Well, first I ripped the boards from 1×4’s that I had, which is why they are not quite the same width (I wanted to give my fingers some extra space on one side of the table saw), then I cut them to size on my miter saw.
Then I glued them together, well I tried, but I didn’t really have enough clamps to do it properly, since the joint I was glue was tenuous, and I was impatient to get it made anyway. So I started putting in the screws before the glue was dry, and the second one, I didn’t bother to glue at all. But gluing would be helpful to do first.
I used my kitchen floor to do this on for a flat (relatively) level surface. By propping one side on the other side, my drill was at just the right height to drill the holes. I predrilled and countersunk, and then screwed in my screws.
To make sure the crossbars matched up on both sides, I laid them out on top of each other, and clamped them together.
After both sides were done, I put the hinges on the sides. I just used the hinges I already had, that I use for my kitchens, but if I were buying them, I probably would have gotten them larger than these. But it worked just fine.
After they were together, I sanded all the endges smooth and round, cuz that’s just what I do. And somehow one end didn’t quite match up, so I trimmed that. I thought about staining them walnut, but the show was the next day, and I didn’t want them to still be wet, or to be stinkin’ up my display area. So I left them natural.
The next thing to figure out was what to use for shelves. I didn’t have but one 1×8 board in the basement, and I didn’t relish going out to buy boards at full price (I usually buy them on sale) just for shelves. I wandered around the house and the basement saying to myself, “I’ve got to have SOMETHING that will work. I must!” And then I glanced over at the half empty box of laminate floor pieces leftover from doing my downstairs bathroom. They were just the right width, just the right length, and I felt like a genius.
Of course I forgot to take any pictures when I was actually at the show, so here’s one I took on my kitchen table with a few token toys. At the show I set them up on both ends of a six (8?) foot table and then put more toys on the table between them. I had the Little Kitchen and the Wooden Dollhouse on boxes in front of the table.
You could make these any size. I have a mind to make some full sized ones for outdoor shows where I have more space. For that I’d definitely add a few more hinges and maybe larger hinges. You can also use 2 together like they did in the pottery pictures and run longer boards between them both. This set up gives you more stability too.
Well, I told myself I had to make a tutorial for these shelves, because I couldn’t find one anywhere, and it would have been helpful.
I might actually sell these, so if you are not inclined to make your own, just drop me a line, and I’ll see what I can do about getting you some.
I have another idea for shelves too, so keep an eye out for my next tutorial.