Posts Tagged ‘free download’

Recessed Between Stud Bookshelf

If babies are so tiny, why do they come with/need so many things?! Our nursery is a smaller room, so when planning out our space we did not have the option to fit many pieces of furniture in there.

When we discovered that there wasn’t enough floor space for a bookshelf to house all of the fabulous books I had envisioned for our little one, my mind went into solution mode. In the nursery, the closet door opens out into the room, rendering the wall that the door opens against almost useless. This was the perfect spot to create a recessed bookshelf. After all, if you don’t have the floor space, think vertically and use the wall space!

My husband and I did not use any plans or consult any tutorials for the bookshelf. We wanted to keep this project as simple as possible in order to ensure that we got it all done in advance of the little one’s arrival.


Bear with me on this one—there are several steps, but I promise they’re pretty easy. Writing out directions makes it look way more time consuming than it actually was, especially if you have a solid weekend of time to dedicate to the project instead of splitting it up across weekends (which is what we had to do).


What you need:

Stud Finder

Reciprocating saw

Drywall/Keyhole saw

Wood- 1 sheet of birch plywood, 3/4” for the bookshelf; 1 2×4 for Header/Footer

Wood Screws

Table saw

Miter saw

Drill (which might also be your electric screwdriver)

Electric Screwdriver—can be done by hand, but be prepared for some muscle strain



Speed Square

Wood Glue (optional)



Wood Filler

Sanding pad



Step 1:

Locate the studs for the wall on which you want to put the bookcase. Usually studs are 16 inches apart, if not that then possibly at 24 inches apart. Use your stud finder and mark with pencil on the wall—do this a few times to verify your readings! Our studs were at 16 inches. As this is narrow, we decided that we wanted the bookcase to span the width of two stud areas.

Step 2:

After marking where the studs were, we decided on the overall height of the bookcase. The dimensions we went with were 30” by 57.25”. Use a level to draw straight lines outlining your bookcase. Use a drywall/keyhole saw to cut your hole. Get ready for lots of dust.

Step 3:

If you’re only using the narrow space between 2 studs, you can skip over this step. In the photo below you can see that after cutting away the wall, the middle stud still stands. We also discovered an odd piece of metal in the bottom right corner.

holeThe metal was not doing anything structurally so we cut this away before dealing with the middle stud. Use a reciprocating saw to take out the stud.

without stud


Step 4:

Since we took out the middle stud, we wanted to make sure to put a header and footer at the top and bottom of the bookcase hole. This would guarantee that even with the stud gone, the hole is still structurally sound.

We cut down a 2×4 to the width of the openings on the left/right of the middle stud. We then used wood screws to place the header and footer behind the drywall at the top and bottom of the opening. Secure the header/footer by fastening the screws into the studs on the left and right of the hole, as well as to the middle stud itself.

hole3Take this time to vacuum up all the lovely drywall debris.


Step 5:

Before we cut any wood for the cabinet itself, we sketched out the unit and marked all of our upcoming measurements. With this in mind, we were able to cut our wood at one time. Two heads are certainly better than one when it comes to calculating measurements—remember the golden rule of measure twice, cut once.

Here’s what our schematic looked like.        Here it is as well in PDF:  PDF Plan of Schematic



Step 6:

With all measurements exact and ready to go, it was time to start cutting the wood. We cut the sides, top, bottom, and all shelves first. It was helpful for us to layout the wood as each piece was complete—the bookcase was clearly taking shape.

structureWe cut the back panel last as it was the largest piece of wood.


Step 7:

This step is purely optional. Maybe you noticed in the photo above that there was a line running along each shelf. We wanted a slight notch on each shelf to better ‘catch’ a book if it started to slide.

We measured where the notch would go and marked it on each shelf. We made the notch by running each shelf over the table saw when the blade was very low.



Step 8:

We stood the wood up on the ground at the correct measurements (according to our diagram) to ensure that everything fit. We were glad to see that it was perfect!



Step 9:

With the unit coming together, it was time to turn our attention to the sides of the bookcase. If you’re not using dowels to keep your books on the shelf, this step will be modified for you.

While the bookcase was lying on the garage floor, looking like a ladder (photo above), we made a mark on the side pieces at the top and bottom of each shelf. Remember, we had the unit in exactly the measurements we wanted it.

We then used a straight edge to draw the line across the side pieces, from front to back.


As you can see in the photo above, we also marked 2 small holes where we would use screws to secure the side pieces and shelves together.

The other hole in the photo is the hole for the wooden dowels. Again, the placement of the dowel was decided when we did our earlier schematic.

For time’s sake, we placed each side piece on top of one another and pre-drilled all of these holes with a drill bit close in size to the screws we were using. This way we knew that the holes were in exactly the same spots on each side, which would give us nice, level shelves in the long run.


Step 10:

Begin to assemble the bookcase. Grab the back panel, sides, and top/bottom pieces of wood.

We used wood glue and 4 wood screws each on the top and bottom pieces of wood and fastened them into the side pieces. Use a speed square to ensure that each corner is 90 degrees.

We flipped this on its face and affixed the back panel with wood screws, spaced evenly around the perimeter. Again, we used some wood glue to secure everything together.



Step 11:

With the overall cabinet complete, it was time to slide the shelves into place. We aligned the shelves with the marks we had made earlier on the side pieces. We then used wood screws (going from the outside of the side pieces) to secure the shelves to the sides of the cabinet. Repeat this step for as many shelves as you have.


I took this picture from the top end of the cabinet. Looks good so far!


Step 12:

Trim your dowels down to the width you would like them to be.

Slide your dowels into the left side hole and push it through the cabinet all the way into the right side hole. Repeat for each shelf you have. You may have to use a mallet to nudge them into place.


Step 13:

The moment of truth came when we slid the cabinet into the wall opening—it was a perfect fit! Boy does it feel good when you do a woodworking project right!

Use screws to secure the bookcase to the wall studs as well as header/footer you installed.

In our merriment I forgot to take a picture of this step.

Fill in your screw holes with wood filler, let dry, and sand.


Step 14:

Time for some beautification. We used casing as trim around the bookcase because we wanted it to match the closet door it is closest to. Use a miter saw to quickly cut the 4 pieces of trim to size. Use nails to secure it to the studs and the header/footer around the bookcase. Caulk where the corners of the trim meet and let dry.



Step 15:

The last step is to paint the bookcase. We went with white because we liked that it was a simple contrast with the wall color. If you’re cooler than us, you could always use an accent color to make the back of the bookcase really pop. Two coats of paint, and she was ready to go.

painted bookshelf


finished bookshelfWe love how this project came out. It was a nice way to put a personal touch on the room and is an extremely functional use of space. Furthermore, it was such a nice, special project to do together. We know that this bookcase will see a lot of use, and can’t wait for many story times ahead!



Posters so you can read good and stuff

Every student that steps into my room knows that I love to cover my walls in posters. Some of my posters actually relate to English/Language Arts, and others are there for visual enjoyment. 

My classroom is a smattering of homemade posters, fabulous student work, old college dorm posters, bought posters, and most recently posters made by an extremely talented and generous colleague and friend, Bailey 

college poster

A poster from college. I like to tell my students that that painting is of me, my sister, and my mom.

homemade poster

My students love this saying, and as a first year teacher, I needed some motivational sayings just as much as I needed to cover my walls.

student posters

My students are extremely talented and creative. This is just a taste of the gorgeousness that they create.

What I am about to share with you, my friends, is from the generosity and creative genius of Bailey. 

These are great posters for the English/Language Arts classrooms, and work well with Common Core and PARCC.

 mustache poster picture


talking to the textsummary poster 

Are they not awesome? Bailey, a girl after my own heart, understands the beauty of fonts and black and white graphics. 

Check them out. Download them (below). Print them. Hang them. Thank Bailey for her generosity and creativity! Thanks, Bailey!

Here are the links to pdf copies of these posters. Enjoy!

 Talk to Text Poster Summary Poster mustache critical mustache

How do you decorate your classroom?

A Lovie for My Lovey


Easter is around the corner. It will be L’s first. Since she won’t be eating any chocolate bunnies this year, a bunny lovie was in order. My search brought me to these adorable bunnies on Etsy. I love that each one is uniquely handmade. After I added one to my cart, I started to toy around with the idea of making one myself. There is something to be said about a lovey made by your momma. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to give it a try. I’m not a seamstress. Like any self taught sewer, I learned by watching my grandma and YouTube videos. My skills have improved over the years through many failed and unfinished projects. I felt pretty confident and if it didn’t end well I can always fall back on the bunny in my cart.

I whipped up a sketch of my dream bunny. Notice I kept the shapes simple for easy sewing. Then I enlarged each body part on separate sheets of paper and cut out my patterns. I didn’t calculate the exact scale though this would make a good proportions or similar figures lesson. I just went with proportions that looked good to me. I created a PDF of the template I used in case you want to give this project a try.

bunny lovie sketch  bunny lovie pattern

I found some soft flannel, minky, fleece and felt scraps in my stash. I also dug out some leftover piping, embroidery floss, ribbon and yarn to use as accessories. As for the stuffing, I upcycled an old pillow. I like to air out old stuffing in the sun for a few hours. This will fluff, refresh and sterilize (not my first time upcycling old pillows, can’t you tell?).

bunny lovie materialAfter deciding which fabric would be used for each body part, I used blue taylor’s chalk to trace the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabrics. To make the cutting process quicker, I folded my fabrics so I can cut two pieces at once. The ears were a bit tricky. Since the shapes of the left and right ear are mirror images, after I traced one ear I flipped over the pattern to trace the other. I almost forgot to do this and would have ended up with two right ears. Keeping the fabric pinned, I cut out each body part. I usually like to cut ¼ inch outside of the chalk line for seam allowance and use the blue line as sewing guidance.

bunny lovie pattern DSC01481

Now onto the sewing. The inner ear felt pieces had to be sewn on top of each outer ear piece first. After that, I sewed the ears and limbs, leaving an opening at the bottom of each piece. I carefully turned each piece inside out and inserted stuffing. I left the ears relatively flat so they won’t be too heavy to “stand up”. Originally I used minky for the limbs since it’s super soft and has interesting texture. After stuffing them, I realized a bunny with tiny bumps on its arms and legs would look weird/slightly creepy so I made the switch to flannel to match the ears.

DSC01485  DSC01489

Next, I sewed the upper and lower body together creating front and back pieces. I added piping in between to fancy her up. For the face, I chalked an outline then used embroidery thread and a tiny piece of felt to go over the features. I also hand stitched on a little heart and border on the lower body to give her a little style.

DSC01483 DSC01488

I eye balled the placement of the ears, limbs and whiskers, flipped them towards the inside then pinned into place. Then I laid the other body piece right side down and pinned the edges together leaving an opening on the side. Everything was going so smoothly up till this point. I even thought to myself “Wow, this bunny takes less than hour. Maybe I’ll make another!” Then I started to sew the body together…There were some thick patches that caused thread feeding/tension issues. Things started to bunch up, thread was breaking, and I was re-threading the bobbin every five seconds. I started to get flash backs of other sewing projects that went horribly wrong and exchanged a few choice words with my sewing machine. After quite a few tension adjustments and test runs I was finally able to sew around the body. Phew…I think next time (maybe?) a walking foot or thinner cotton fabric will help avoid the headache in this step.

DSC01490  DSC01493  DSC01499

The only thing left to do was to add stuffing. I wanted the body of the bunny to look plush so I packed in the filling. Then I sewed opening closed with a running stitch. Notice the lighting difference in the photos below. After the sewing ordeal, I decided to walk away from it and finish the next morning.

DSC01501 DSC01502

Of course, a bunny lovie wouldn’t be complete without accessories. I added a yarn pom pom tail and a bow to finish the look.

DSC01504  DSC01513

So a bunny lovie for my lovey that cost zero dollars yet priceless in a way. I hope L likes it.

What have you made for your lovies? Do you have any sewing tips for me?