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Posted on Mar 28th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (wildbil52)
Posted under Video games, Presentable

So many games and so few places to shove them.  Atlantic shelves are decent enough, but they are expensive and made of particle board.  Billy bookcases are solid, but way too deep if you are just storing games, and also on the expensive side.  Is there a way to build nice, shallow wall shelving that will accommodate loose carts as well as boxed games, DVDs, and Blu Rays?  Yes.

I can't take credit for the design of the shelves I'll be showing here.  Most people who use this design credit EdT1138 with the original design, so I will credit him as well.  Thanks very much for sharing Ed, and thanks for the THX reference. Wink

These shelves are remarkably simple.  The three vertical pieces are 2x3s and the seven horizontal pieces are 2x2s.  I can't remember the exact price, but it was around $20.  if you won't be painting, staining or finishing the wood, that is the only expense besides the hardware to mount it to your walls.  I decided to stain mine with some leftover stain from a previous project.  If you will be staining or painting, make sure you pick up some polyurethane while you are out.

Here is the area where I want to mount the shelves:

The little circles on the wall are my favorite way of finding studs.  I don't like using stud finders and the tapping with the finger method can be unreliable.  I use small and VERY powerful magnets to find the drywall screws used to secure the drywall to the studs.  The other problem this solves is wrongly assuming that your studs will be 16 inches apart.  As you can see, my studs were unevenly distributed.  The magnets tell all.

I want to maximize my wall storage space.  I want the right side of the shelf to be as close to the open closet door as possible, so I will not be attaching the rightmost vertical piece to the stud.  The same goes for the central vertical piece.  I want the one just to the left of the window frame.  The leftmost vertical piece will be the only one of the three that will attach to a stud, I will use toggle screws to secure the other two.

Here we can see the wood that I have cut to size and stained.  I've also pre-drilled holes large enough to that the toggle screw will pass through easily.  I'm also drilling a counter sink hole for the heads of the screws to that I can cover them with wood filler once the shelves are complete.

Here we can see the vertical pieces mounted and the screw head well beneath the surface. I do a quick test to measure some spacing for the shelf under the window frame.

Now that the vertical pieces are mounted, I have the exact measurements for my shelves.  I cut those to size, stain them and apply two coats of polyurethane, same as the vertical pieces. 

Here we can see the shelves stained and just waiting for the poly. 

It's important to apply poly for a few reasons.  It protects the wood AND makes for a smoother surface that will be making contact with your games.  I would hate to grab a game off a shelf and find that sliding it back and forth over the shelves have given the game splinters.  It also gives the wood a very nice "finished look".  I won't lie though, it's kind of a pain in the butt.  Especially if you use the nicer oil-based stains and poly.  You will either have to buy paint thinner to clean your brushes, or just buy 4 inch nappy rollers and toss them after each coat/application.

For shelf height, I gathered a bunch of the items that I will be storing on these shelves.  NES, Genesis, Blu Ray, Xbox One, etc.  I lined things up to see if i could get away with one universal height that would accommodate everything while not wasting any unnecessary space.  I'm happy with the spacing I ended up with.  Special Edition PS2 games are about the tallest item I plan on storing here, so I took my Final Fantasy X Collector Edition, added a couple strips of material for a buffer, and that's what I used for a height gage for every shelf except for the very top, which is reserved for loose carts.

I drilled pilot holes on the shelves so that the screw would secure to the vertical pieces instead of the shelves and so that the shelves would not split, since I am drilling into them VERY close to the end of the board.  I also drilled counter sinks for the same reason as before, to cover the screws with wood filler afterwards.

Here we see the shelves mounted:

And here the wood filler has been sanded and stained to match the rest of the shelf.  Stained wood filler doesn't match the original wood exactly, but it still looks better then exposed screws.  If you disagree, by all means, don't bother with the wood filler but I still recommend pilot holes so that you don't split your wood.

There you have it!  Finished.  This was a project that could have been easily completed in a couple hours if I didn't have to stain or poly the wood, but since I wanted them to look nice, the project took about a week from start to finish.  You really want to let each coat of stain or poly dry overnight.

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Absolutely, I put up some shelves recently, and it helps a lot.  When I end up moving the game room into the basement I will be including TONS of shelving for obvious reasons. 
Custom shelving is really the only way to go if you have the ability to do it.  I am designing out a new area to put consoles so I can have many hooked up at one time and still have decent cable management. 
Looking good!
Hey, I have those same closet doors...
Looks great Bill!! Awesome idea to make maximum use of your space around weird layouts like with that Window on your wall.
That's an awesome idea for collections that are mostly CIB. I love how inexpensive and simple it is.

Though for someone like me who mostly has loose stuff, not as useful, I'd say, cause stuff would fall through.

Still, I might have to think about doing this for my ps1/2 collections.
Wow, that looks really good! Plus, your closet door is still able to open perfectly. Great solution; thanks for sharing!
I love it, how does the Saturn games look on them?  they seem to be the ones that are taller and longer then most.
Very nice man!
@Lendorien:You can totally use this setup for loose items.  My top shelf is for loose NES, SNES, and similar sized carts.  For Genesis and Famicom, It's a little dicey so if you are focusing on loose you can either use 2x2s for the vertical pieces as well as 2x2s for the horizontal shelves which will fit most any loose carts or use the same setup I did only staple a thin sheet of veneer on top of the shelves that goes from the front of the shelf to the wall to shop anything from falling down.

@douglie007: I didn't di any shelved Sega CD or Saturn height, everything here is NES/Genesis/CD or Blu Ray height.  I'm going to use another area for tall jewel cases.
I really dug that you put the Skylanders figures on the top shelf...

...and then I looked two shelves down, and almost threw up at the sight of the Stanley Cup I sent you sharing space with those filthy, disgusting Disney InfINity figures.

Needless to say, you're dead to me now.

On a more serious note: if I were to build a shelf for my games and such, I'd be more traditional and go with wide shelf planks. Less chance of stuff falling off and stuff. But, that's me...
@Zagnorch: Glad you caught that;)  I really considered built ins with planks but I wanted to go for super shallow and inexpensive.  I may attempt planks on a future project, build ins in the living room if I ever get ambitious.
@douglie007: I was wondering the same thing.  This looks great, and is VERY tempting, because I need to do some custom shelving for my games.  I have a coat closet at the front of my house that is currently my "media closet" for my CD collection, but it's just a hodge-podge of existing VHS/DVD racks, a CD rack, and a couple miscellaneous racks that are sort of haphazardly stacked on top of one another.  I really need to do a systematic shelving configuration, because that would allow me to maximize the space, and *potentially* fit all my music CDs and games in there, which would make my wife a much happier woman!  I have been mulling over just buying those mounting "tracks" for the walls, and then buying the metal inserts to put some prefab "wood" shelves on for the games, so they can be sized accordingly.  That way I can have shorter shelves for CDs, and stuff like PlayStation, Dreamcast, import Saturn, 3DO, etc., or even NES carts, but then have taller shelves for Saturn, Sega CD, PS1 long box, and medium spaced shelves for Xbox, PS2, 360, Wii, Wii U, and so forth.  This seems like, despite the extra work, it would be cheaper, but with the sheer volume I have of music CD's, I would need a system that would hold A LOT of stuff.  I'm only creeping up on some 1500 games, but I've been collecting music CDs since I was 14, and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000, which means I really need a setup that's sturdy.  What kind of weight load do you think this will give you, Bil?
Looks good! What are you doing for loose carts? UGC cases?

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