DIY Matchbox Car Shelf Tutorial
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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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Optional: Spray paint or any kind of paint that works on wood.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!