Make an Interlocking Shelf Unit

This pine or bamboo interlocking shelf unit is ideal for storage in a child's bedroom or in a den or family room.


This DIY wooden shelf unit for ideal for a family room or children's bedroom and makes tidying up child’s play if you add the right storage boxes.

A cross-lap joint is a traditional technique for joining pieces together without the need for screws. The cross-lap joints used here join two pieces of wood together at a right angle so that half of each board sticks out.


Pine or bamboo, cut to sizes:

2 of 1225 x 400mm

2 of 1400 x 400mm

3 of 1450 x 400mm

3mm Backing board as required 380 x 280mm

3.5 x 30mm screws, pneumatic brad nailer, or heavy-duty stapler

120- and 180-grit sandpaper


Drill/Driver or cordless screwdriver plus assorted bits

Jigsaw and clean-cut blade


Rubber mallet

Tape measure and pencil

Not responsible for errors or omissions




1. Have all your boards cut to size at Builders Warehouse or cut them to size yourself.

2. Mark for the cut outs (cross laps) on your boards using the above diagram. Cut out the squared U-shaped joints for the cross laps using a jigsaw. Start by cutting along the long lines and for the ends position the jigsaw blade close enough so that you have room to move horizontally to cut this away.

3. Sand all the cut edges smooth, but don't round these off.

4. Make sure all the boards are set up for joining in the right position, as taking the boards apart later could prove difficult once they are firmly connected. Start at the bottom shelf and add the uprights.

GOOD TO KNOW: You can use a rubber mallet to help tap the boards firmly together.



5. The backing boards help secure and stabilize the unit and ii’s up to you how many you install. We recommend a minimum of three panels. Attach the backing board to the back of the shelves using a cordless screwdriver and screws, pneumatic brad nailer or heavy-duty stapler. And you're done!

GOOD TO KNOW: If you plan on placing this unit in a young child's bedroom - be sure to use brackets and secure onto the wall.

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