The One That Untangled Our Yarn Problem

After a lot of knitting and crochet projects, my wife and I built up quite the collection of partial skeins of yarn. After a while, they sat in bags taking up room, never getting used. Then she came up with a brilliant idea that would not only solve the storage problem, but also display them in a way that would make them easy to get to and use.

Her plan called for several rows of floating shelves, not very deep, that would hold the extra yarn in the form of rolled balls.

The trick with these is how to make them “floating” shelves. And by that I mean no visible supports or brackets or anything holding them up. There are a few different ways to handle this. Here is how I decided to do it:

My materials for this project are quite simple. I needed four 8′ 1×4 pine boards, four 8′ standard 1 1/2″ molding, and a 3/8″ dowel.


After measuring the length and height of the wall were we would be installing the shelves, I figured allowing for 6″ between shelves for the yarn balls I could have 8 shelves total, and the would measure 47 1/2″ wide, which is perfect since I could get two shelves out of each 8′ board with very little scraps.

The first thing I did was cut my shelf boards. I just stacked them, clamped them, and with just a couple cuts with my miter saw, I had them all exactly the same length.


Here is the interesting part and the secret behind the floating shelves. I ran them each through my table saw and ripped off 1″. Crazy, huh?


Now that I have 1″ cut off of each, I have to put them back together. I will be using three 2″ pieces of the dowel. I was just going to buy a back of pre-made 3/8″ dowels but they were surprisingly difficult to find and the dowel was cheaper.


In order to make sure the dowels would line up perfectly, I clamped the 1″ piece of each shelf back to it’s larger pieces and drilled a 3/8″ hole all the way through the 1″ piece into the larger.

I then glued dowels into the 1″ pieces. I also cut the molding pieces the same length as the shelves and attached them to the front using finishing nails. The only real function of the molding is to stop the yarn balls from rolling off. They don’t need to support any weight.


Now the shelves are ready to paint before installation.

To install the shelves, I marked the location of the studs on the wall. Then I used 3″ wood screws to attach the 1″ pieces to the walls.


Once the 1″ pieces were installed, the rest of the shelf simply slid on to the dowels. The dowels were tight enough that the shelves were held fast without any additional nails or screws. This will allow me to easily remove them if I ever want to.


Here are all the shelves installed ready for the yarn. Now begins the task of rolling all those extra skeins into balls. Time to bring in the kids.


And here is the final product. These shelves take up very little room since they are less than 4″ deep but opened up a lot of other space in the room where the bags of yarn once stood.


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

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