How to Build Honeycomb Shelves Part Two

This is Part Two of the most popular how to build honeycomb shelves guide in the pacific northwest.

If you’re looking for the purchase list, cut list and how to BUILD the shelves…you need to be reading the step by step guide in Part One!

Part Two covers the filling, sanding, painting, staining and hanging of the shelf. It’s the real deal people!

Alright, let’s get back to it!

Some of the nails lacked the intestinal fortitude to go in far enough. This is unacceptable.

So I used these fellas to help the nails finish what they started.

It seems inhumane to hit such a small thing but please realize these nails were never alive to begin with. They’re nails.

This is a large gap in our joint.

And if you’re not perfect, like I’m not perfect, some of YOUR joints will totally suck, too. At this point you should just give up.

OR you should use the DIY’ers suck eraser:  Wood filler! It literally fills in the suck with synthetic wood. Oh, and did I mention it’s paint and stain-able? That’s the great thing about DIY! Between wood filler and photoshop, everything’s beautiful!

I proceed to fill in all my suck with wood filler. A timely job, but so totally worth it. When admirers gaze at your little honeys turned honeycombs, they’ll say, “WOW!” And, “I didn’t know Ikea sold these!” To which you’ll reply, “With my bare hands I crafted these perfect joints with nary a fault or blemishy blemish!”

So which aisle in Ikea? Do I have to assemble it?

As you can see, I’m being very generous with the application.

Don’t forget to fill in the nail gun holes! Do the same if you decided to screw your honeycombs…

Annnnnd finished.

Perfectionists everywhere are cringing. This could have been avoided if the cuts were more accurate! Calibrate all the machines! Measure thrice cut never! LISTEN! Us freeversin’ DIY cats are proud of our mistakes. And we’re just happy that wood filler is inexpensive enough for our overly liberal but totally necessary applications.

IMAG0508 Let’s sand away these woodly bonds and uncover our true potential.

Oh, hey perfectionists…eat your hearts out!

I rounded out this corner by mistake….this always happens to me after I brag about something! AGH!

So reconstructive surgery it is.

I’m going to shape and sand this corner into what it once was. A winner.

So there we have it. Let’s stain and paint and celebrate!

IMAG0515 Thumbs up to me grabbing the wrong stain from the shelf. I actually used “Dark Walnut”. How embarrassing!

Using an old cloth, I wipe the stain on in the direction of the grain. And then I wipe it off. Just like that!

Now that the outside is stained, I’m going to give my honeycomb shelf a blast of color.

This is fun.

A very awesome decision on my part.

Careful to catch any paint that tries to run!

On the front facing edges I’m going to paint an off-white. Why you ask? Why not I ask!

It’s important to be more careful so none of the off-white paint spills into the red.

Or onto the stain! AH! We have to start over, Kate!

This looks really nice. But if any of you know me…I just can’t leave well enough alone.

Ya know…it’s sortof a pain trying to cover up red with white. Questionable decision making by yours truly.

Ah whatever. Let’s try one in yellow, too.

The blue wasn’t as bad. I put a couple coats of each paint to completely cover up the first coat of red. Inevitably I had to touch up the white front paint.

This is my favorite poly to finish off decor projects with. One time I accidentally got the oil based stuff all over my hands because I thought it was water based. That was fun! That wasn’t fun.

Mix it thoroughly. Apply a light first coat, let dry, sand with fine grit paper. Apply a liberal second coat, let dry, sand. Assess if you want/need a third coat and go from there. If you do apply a third coat, do not sand after. You’re done pal! Relax! Let’s hang!

This wall has been waiting ALL WEEK for this day.

IMAG1977I centered the shelf.

IMAG1982Here’s all the junk we’ll be using to hang our honeycomb shelf.

This is just another angle to show off how super awesome it is.

I brought plastic anchors upstairs just in case I couldn’t find studs in the right places. But I really try not to use them if I absolutely don’t have to. For safety!

I’ll be using these L-brackets.

I line up and mark out the holes over my stud locations.


I secure the first screw, then pre-drill the second hole. I do this so I can make adjustments if the bracket shifts out of level.

I place the shelves onto the bracket and check for level.

I want my next bracket to be here. Let’s see where Mr. Stud is!

Looks close!

Good deal!
I repeated the above process to secure the second bracket into the stud.

And I’ll throw one more bracket in right under the first. Right here!

I caught the edge of the stud. Beautiful!

IMAG1997Now that all of my brackets are lined up, I check for level at the top and bottom of the unit. Make any last minute adjustments as needed!

To avoid the shelf splitting, I pre-drill into it.

I go in about that much. Half an inchish? Maybe less.

Time to secure the unit!

Pre-drilling, while annoyingly time consuming, makes things so much easier and safer. I spent a lot of time finishing the shelves, I’d hate for them to split this late in the game.

To finish the job, I’m going to paint the brackets the honeycomb color and wall color. They’ll be invisible when I’m done with them!

Haha. Use a smaller brush, amateur!

IMAG2005Much better.

It looks like I’m going to have to put a few coats on here, too.

Good enough!

These will all blend in nicely once the shelves are occupied.

And the final L-bracket in full camouflage.

That’s a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed this step by step guide on how to build Honeycomb Shelves. If you’re confused or curious about any steps in the process, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

November 15, 2014 at 06:11 PM

Really nice write-up. Did you prime before the colored paint? Never been brave enough to try paint on bare wood with no primer.

November 15, 2014 at 08:11 PM
– In reply to: Ari

Thank you very much! I did not prime before painting! I’ve only used primer once in my life and it was to cover up the brownest paint you’ve ever seen!! If you make some chalk paint that will help the paint bond to the wood easier. But it’s not necessary and I used paint straight from the bucket for this project. Don’t be scared! You can do it!

Sarah Bellmerreply
November 15, 2014 at 06:11 PM

I loved reading this. Thank you.

November 15, 2014 at 08:11 PM
– In reply to: Sarah Bellmer

Thank you so much for saying so! Glad you liked it!

November 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

I really enjoyed this DIY journey! Thanks for sharing it with the Imgur community!

November 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM
– In reply to: Ember

I’m really glad you dig it! I hope to share more in the near future, too! Thanks for stopping by!

November 16, 2014 at 01:11 AM

I dig this! Haven’t done wood working in a while so I’ll think to take up this project in the near future. Thanks for the idea!

November 16, 2014 at 10:11 AM
– In reply to: Lina

Hey Lina!

Thank you! Do it up! I think you’ll really enjoy it. Stop back and let me know how it goes!!

December 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Can you build these so they sit on the floor?

December 23, 2014 at 04:12 PM
– In reply to: Shank

Given the way the joints are made and attached, I wouldn’t feel confident sitting these on the floor in their current configuration. I suppose if you distribute the weight to another honeycomb at the bottom it may work. Hope that helps!

Jason Carlinreply
March 07, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Nooo! You did such a beautiful job turning cheap wood into something pretty, but those brackets take it down a few pegs. Maybe some keyhole brackets or keyhole cuts routed into the wood? You can even fake routed keyholes with a dremel.

Either way, these are really nice looking. Great job.

March 07, 2015 at 01:03 PM
– In reply to: Jason Carlin

Hey Jason, Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. Keyhole brackets are a great idea. But the real question is…where were you WHEN I NEEDED YOU?!

The brackets are pretty much invisible to anyone who’s not looking, but good call. I’ll have to try them out for my next shelving project!

Leave a reply