Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DIY Shelf Project

Joe is in over his head with home-improvement projects lately. Between yard work, the garden, sprinklers that need fixed, painting and an automotive repair that resulted a truck that honked each time it made a right turn... he's got a lot on his plate. However he's been complaining that we have no headboard. Our old one was ugly and our new room is kind of short so it wouldn't fit anyway.

Still, when I got these great shelves for our bedroom (to use in place of a headboard) I felt kind of bad asking him to put them up for me. I felt pretty confident after putting up all the blinds in the kids room. Plus I found the cordless power drill. So here we go. Shelf installation for the do-it-yourself mom.

First I located all the studs in the wall and marked them with painter's tape. Surprisingly, without Joe around there were no comments like "this thing goes off wherever I'm standing..."

IKEA instructions are pretty easy to follow because they have lots of pictures, like these:

See how easy? First, you should never rock out with a large shelf as if you're playing Guitar Hero. Second if you lay the bookcase down it will inexplicably spring a leak and sink to the bottom of the ocean... so put a magic carpet under it. Finally if you can't figure out how to stack two blocks together, plug a 1,000 foot phone cord into your local IKEA center for round-the-clock help... kind of like the BatPhone!

Seriously though, the instructions are easy to follow. The shelf mount was kind of a big one and I wanted to get it level (nothing like a lamp sliding onto your head at 2am). So I taped the level to the shelf mount so that I could mark the holes without fumbling around with the level at the same time.

Try to line up the holes with as many of the studs as possible. Use drywall anchors in any place that doesn't have a stud behind it. A sales person at a hardware store (not WalMart) will be able to help you find the right drywall anchor for your project. If you go to WalMart the person wandering the hardware section will actually be trained in Produce and Intimate Apparel and stare at you blankly before walking away. Alternately you may try to buy paint and the guy at the counter will say "I'm supposed to be in the Tire Center. You might want to come back tomorrow." Because you totally had nothing better to do. Moving on...

Take a moment to admire your level shelf.

Tell yourself that you didn't want it centered anyway...

Repeat with second, smaller shelf. Decorate and admire. Although... what do I do with those lamp cords?

It is pretty painful for me to admit this... but here goes. A few hours after I finished this project (and I was oh-so-proud), Minnie decided to hang from the shelf and pulled it right out of the wall. She felt terrible and I was so sad. Fortunately nothing was broken and Joe said that not enough of the screws were attached to studs to support the weight of lamps, books AND a four-year-old. So he is going to drill holes in the metal to line up with all the studs and says that you will be able to swing a hammock from it when he's done.

So I'm not sure what our take-home lesson here is. Install the shelf yourself? Or leave it to the experts? I maintain that the theory was good. Just don't let your monkey kids swing from it.

1 comment:

Eric and Andrea said...

Hey Jeri!

I am impressed by your willingness to try. I am such a chicken when it comes to that kind of stuff!

You go girl!

Andrea :-)