Rain gutters are useful for keeping your roof from leaking and your foundation from cracking. But they’re also useful for … wait for it … putting together bookshelves that help you store books while showing them off. This is especially useful in children’s rooms: They can store the books with the covers facing out so kids can easily select the book they want. They can also be used to store board games and other toys, provided they’re not too heavy.
Even better, they’re attached to the wall, so they’re low-profile, and they’re much more secure than flat-pack junk from the big box store. Plus, it’s a simple project you can do in an afternoon, although planning is always your friend.
Here’s how to build them, step by step.
Materials You’ll Need:
- Vinyl rain gutter sections. These usually come in ten foot sections, but you might be able to get them pre-cut or in smaller lengths from the hardware store.
- End caps
- Wood screws
Additionally, you might want some corner sections and couplers if you want to have your shelves go around corners. You also might consider picking up some vinyl paint that matches your walls, but that’s optional too, of course.
Finally, depending on how permanent you want these shelves to be, or how concerned you are about the caps staying on, you might want to pick up some vinyl cement to secure the end caps.
Tools You’ll Need:
- Tape measure
- Stud finder
- A friend
You should also have a screwdriver handy, as we’ve found it can be easier to put some of the screws in by hand as you go along.
You may have guessed what you need to do, but let’s go through it step by step.
Step 1: Lay out your shelves on the wall. We recommend drawing the bookcase on the wall lightly in pencil. Use the stud finder to pick out places to attach your shelves, and mark the location above the line marking your shelf so you know where it is. If you’re going to put up more than one, we recommend leaving space of between nine inches to a foot between each shelf.
Step 2: Measure out your gutter exactly, and cut your sections to the proper length with the hacksaw. If you’re planning on using end caps, you should attach them now. Remember, if you’re using vinyl cement, use it in a well ventilated area and give it plenty of time to dry and the fumes time to dissipate.
Step 3: Using the level and your friend, get the shelves perfectly level and then screw them into the wall. The screws should go through vinyl and stud quite easily, but it might make it easier for you to drill guide holes into the gutter.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Remember, vinyl gutters are strong but they’re not invincible: Make sure you’re not overloading the gutters when you fill them with books.
Once you get them together, you’ll have strong shelves that last as long as you want. Not bad for an afternoon’s work!
For more photos of gutter bookshelves in action, do a simple Google search.