DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial

This post may include affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click on the link and/or purchase from that site. I use that money to keep this blog running. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

In my post about my Top 10 Tips for Organizing Kids’ Toys, I said that it’s fun to use the colors and textures of the toys you’re organizing as design elements. If you’ve got to store them, you might as well use them to your advantage. That way, the furniture and accessories you choose can be simple and neutral, a.k.a. reusable once your kiddos grow out of the play room. Well, this DIY Matchbox Car Shelf is the perfect example of what I mean–it’s neutral and uses the colors and textures of the cars it displays as a colorful, functional design element. It’s also quick and easy to make. Let’s get to the tutorial, shall we?

DIY Matchbox Cars Shelf Tutorial cover page
DIY Matchbox Cars Shelf Tutorial
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial: Materials
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial: Materials

Gather Materials

  1. MDF Fluted Trim Molding, Cut to Size: Our trim pieces were about 3 feet long and we made two separate shelving units. You can find this trim at any hardware store.
  2. Dowel Rods: We used 3/4 inch rods, I believe. Keep in mind how big you are making your shelf and how many cars you’ll store there. If it’s any bigger than ours, I wouldn’t use a rod smaller than 3/4 inch.
  3. Drill Bit: This may influence the size of dowel rods you use as well, as you need a trill bit the same size as your dowel rods.
  4. Brad Nailer or Hammer and Nails: A brad nailer is a nice tool to have if you’re planning to do many DIYs, but a hammer and nails will work. Make sure the nails are the appropriate length of the rods so they won’t poke out the other side.
  5. Optional: Spray paint or any kind of paint that works on wood.
  6. Optional: pictured in a photo towards the bottom of this point, we used saw tooth picture hangers that we nailed into the back of the top shelf. This just makes the shelves a bit more secure in my opinion.

1. Measure where you’ll put the dowel rods

You can put them anywhere you’d like on the ends of each trim piece, but make sure you put them in the same spot on each end.

We measured one half inch from the ends of each trim piece and then found where that intersected with the middle of the trim. That became the spot where we drilled the holes.

DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 1
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 1
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 2
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 2

2. drill holes for rods

Again, make sure the drill bit you’re using is the same size as the dowel rod you’ll be inserting into it.

Of course, a drill press would be a great way to get a consistent, clean hole. However, using a regular drill can work too. Just make sure when you’re drilling, the trim is on a solid, flat surface and you drill straight down from up above the trim. Do not drill at an angle of your rods will not be straight.

3. Insert Dowel Rods

This seems like an obvious step, but it’s important to be precise here.

Make sure the trim is level on your rods. If the right side of a piece of trim is placed higher on the dowel rod than left side, that piece of trim will be crooked and your cars may slide off.

Repeat for each side of each piece of trim.

DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 3
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 3
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 4
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial Step 4

4. Secure each rod in place

As I said above, we used a brad nailer, but a hammer and nails will work just fine.

Make sure the nails you use aren’t thicker than the pieces you’re nailing them into.

Optional:

We sprayed the shelves with a matte enamel paint, for added protection from scratches.

We also added saw tooth picture hanging brackets because it made it much easier to hang and sturdier.

DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial optional steps
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial optional steps

Here’s the final product, styled! This DIY took us about an hour total and I love the result. Truly, you could use this process with thicker shelves and display all kinds of toys in your playroom. For us, this DIY Matchbox Car Shelf is a super functional design element.

DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial, styled
DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial, Styled

I hope you found this tutorial to be helpful. I also made a Web Story tutorial you can check out here. If you ever make your own version of this Matchbox Car Shelf, I would absolutely love it if you would send me a picture or tag me in a social media post! Until then, hang out and check out the latest posts on the blog!

XOXO Alicia

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.