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I know hexagon shelves are a dime a dozen these days, but I wanted to make some for Milo and August’s room because they’re awesome. We have a special affection for hexagons around here because two of our bathrooms came with hex tile. Our house had hexagons before hexagons were cool.
But not hexagon shelves. We’re pretty late to the party on those, and there are a million other tutorials out there. But! Our tutorial has a special innovation that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I’m going to tell myself that makes it worth doing a full blow by blow of how we made these.
We didn’t follow any particular tutorial ourselves. I tried. I’d look at one and start reading it to Dave: “it says set your miter saw to 30 degrees….” and he’d testily respond, “I KNOW what the angles of a hexagon are!” So using a tutorial would, apparently, have been an affront to his mathy honor.
Materials (to make 10 hexagons):
Compound Miter Saw (this is the one we have)
4 1×4 10 foot whitewood boards (we had a good bit left over. So maybe do your own math here)
1.25 inch nails
small screws (if you want to attach hexagons together)
or paint (we used Minwax Special Walnut)
We wanted a total of ten hexagons: five for each kid, nestled together in a couple of honeycomb like arrangements. They were going to hang right over their beds, so they couldn’t stick out too far. So we started by buying four ten foot long whitewood 1x4s.
Then Dave set the miter saw to 30 degrees, just like he knew to do all along, and started cutting hexagon sides. We made ours 6 inches each (along the outer edge):
Then keep doing that forever (or until you have 60 pieces, if you’re doing 10 hexagons), and pretty soon you’ll have a tower like this:
(Dave thought he had lost this hat, but it turned up again recently, much to everyone’s relief. It’s especially classy paired with a Jack Daniels t-shirt).
Okay, so now you have sixty of these sides and you need to put them together. Special innovation time!
We glued and then nailed the sides together, but you definitely want to pre-drill holes before you start nailing. Rather than living on the edge times sixty, hoping that the holes are okay and you won’t have to go cut MORE little 30 degree angle boards, you can make this handy guide piece like Dave did:
He just took a scrap piece of wood and cut one side of it at a 30 degree angle then drilled two holes through the middle on either side. Then he just had to clamp this to each of the hexagon sides before pre-drilling the nail holes, and it made perfect holes every time! This will save you minutes and minutes of frustration! (Dave says, “you’re going to say it’s a trapezoidal prism, right?” Yes, Dave. Yes, I am).
After that, putting the nails in straight will be so easy even a child can do it!
Okay, so now you just want to put wood glue along the edges, then clamp them together and start nailing:
Once he was in a groove, Dave got where he could knock out assembling one of the hexagons in about ten minutes.
(You want your hexagons to be about the same size as an eight year old’s head. Through careful research, we determined that this is the perfect size for hexagon shelves).
Once we had everything assembled, we gave them a light sanding with the electric sander. We focused on the joints….to smooth out the faces and then even out and soften the angles a bit.
I’m pretty pleased with how uniformly these came out for a first attempt. I think they would have been better if we’d made, say, 100 hexagons instead of 10. Or if we had a digital miter saw. But they’re pretty good, if not completely perfect.
Then we stained them all with Minwax Special Walnut (which has been vying with Dark Walnut for my affection lately):
(Dave looked grumpy in the first version of this picture, so I told him to look happier about the hexagons).
And then we screwed them together into honeycombs:
(for one set, we made one stack of two and one of three and then hung them separately (as opposed to hooking all five together to start with). but this turned out to be kind of a pain to hang, so for the other set we linked all five together and then hung them up.
Also, the second set was a little more imperfect and had to kind of be coaxed into nestling nicely. Coaxed with a clamp. This is a very clamp intensive project:
We used two L brackets per shelf and anchor screws (except when we happened to hit a stud in one spot) to hang these:
(those aren’t smudges on the wall. They’re on your monitor. You should really clean that. Gross).
And then I let the kids do whatever they wanted with them, which mostly meant a lot of Lego minifigures:
We’ve got one more project to finish up for the big long wall above Gus’ bed, and then it will be full scale room reveal time in here!
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