Learn How to Make a Rainbow Shelf Unit @ Reward Me

How to make a rainbow shelf unit

Inject a colourful patchwork of practicality into you room for a healthy impact.

Time needed: 4 hours (approx)
Finished size: 1400mm(L) X 1400mm (H) X 223mm (Depth)

You will need

  • 3mm panel cut to: 1390 x 1390mm (backing)
  • Nine 1800 x 220 x 22mm pine planks cut to:
    • 2 x 1400mm lengths (top and bottom) 
    • 7 x 1358mm lengths (shelf unit)
  • Wood glue
  • 40mm chipboard screws
  • Panel pins
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Primer and paint
  • Paintbrush or foam roller


  • Drill & 3mm drill piece
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Jigsaw

To make:
Mark the pine planks as follows:

Step 1

Horizontal shelves: Place three of the 1358mm lengths side by side and measure and mark two sets of 22mm wide bands 275mm apart from one end.

Vertical shelves: Place the four remaining 1358mm lengths side by side and measure and mark 22mm wide bands, leaving 218mm, 300mm, 388mm, 388mm between the bands.

Outer frame: Place the 1400mm lengths side by side then measure and mark lines 22mm from each end, and mark the positions of the shelves. Then place two 1358mm (sides) alongside one another and mark the positions of the shelves.

NB: Use the tri-square to make sure the lines are perpendicular to the edges.Use a sharp pencil to mark accurately and don’t cut the slots too big.

Tip Mark one of each, then place it alongside the relevant lengths and transcribe the lines across all the planks. Turn the outer framework planks over one at a time and mark the bands on the other side. This will help to position the shelves when fixing them in place later on

Step 1 Step 2

Step 2
Measure and mark lines midway between the 22mm-wide bands on all shelves.

NB: Mark the vertical shelves on one side and the horizontal ones on the other side to indicate the area that needs to be removed, to ensure they slot in neatly.

Step 3
Use the jigsaw to remove the material between the lines up to the midway mark. Cut neatly to form a neat join when the planks are slotted into one another.

Tip Cut curves into each corner then double back to remove the material at right angles.


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Step 3 Step 4

Step 4
Drill three pilot holes between the lines drawn onto the top, bottom and sides.

Step 5
Drill pilot holes then glue and screw the framework together at the corners.

Tip A mitre clamp will help to hold the corner at 90°.

Step 5Step 6

Step 6
Slot the pieces into one another, using a rubber mallet if necessary to tap the planks so that they fit tightly together; tap gently or you might cause the wood to split.

Step 7
Guided by the lines drawn earlier, position the shelf configuration inside the outer framework and fix the shelves in place from the outside, using the screws.

Step 7 Step 8

Step 8
Place the unit on top of the backing board and use a pencil to mark out the individual openings. Then lightly sand the edges of the unit and apply a water-based primer using a paintbrush or foam roller. Once dry, apply one or two topcoats.

Step 9
Place the backing onto a level surface and apply colour to the individual blocks marked out in step 8. Use sample pots to save on cost (you don’t need large quantities) or simply apply vinyl to the backing.

Step 9 Step 10

Step 10
Fix the backing to the back of the frame using the hammer and panel pins.

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