How to Build a Rain Gutter Bookshelf
When it comes to a kids room or a baby’s nursery, books are abundant. Storing them in a traditional book case is one option but you are missing out on the beautifully designed covers. Searching the bookcase for the right book can be time consuming. With rain gutter bookshelves you are able to display the cover art and let your little one pick the book that sparks his or her imagination. Here you will learn how to build your own rain gutter bookshelf.
Step 1: Determine the Gutter Length
Decide how long you want the gutter bookshelf to be. Do you have limited space? Or are you trying to fill a large section of a wall. With rain gutters standard length being 10′ you will have plenty of options. The ones shown in the example were cut to 36″. At 36″ we were able to get 3′ sections from one 10′ rain gutter.
Step 2: Buy the Supplies
You will be able to purchase all the supplies at your local hardware store. Our store of choice was Menards. You will also be able to find many of the products on Amazon. Here’s what you will need
Rain Gutters – for our 3′ sections we only needed (1) 10′ rain gutter
Rain Gutter End Caps – Determine how many ends you will need. You will need two for each section of rain gutter. For our 3 sections we bought 6 end caps, 3 left and 3 right.
Tin Snips – You will want to find some good tin snips to help you cut the rain gutters. Always use safety glasses and gloves to help protect yourself against the sharp metal.
Anchors and Bolts – In order to securely mount the rain gutter bookshelves to the wall, you will want to make sure they are secured with anchors and bolts. We used 2 for each 36″ section.
Paint – If you plan on painting your rain gutter bookshelf as we did, you will need some paint. For our 3′ sections we bought small 7.12 fl oz containers of Pittsburgh eggshell paint.
Coating – When the paint drys on the rain gutters it will be hard and can be easy to peal. We used a clear acrylic gloss coating to help protect the paint.
Painters tape – If you are plan on painting it more than one color as we did, painters tape always helps.
Foam Paint Brush – We used foam paint brushes to paint our rain gutter bookshelves.
Step 3: Cut the Rain Gutters to Size
Now that you have determined the size that you want them and you have all of your materials, it’s time to cut them to size. Use your tin snips (use gloves and safety glasses) to cut the rain gutters to size. Make sure you cut them straight. Use a pencil to mark the cutting line. If it is not a straight cut it could be challenging to put the end caps on the gutters.
Step 4: Clean Off the Shelf
The rain gutters can have a lot of debris on them from the hardware store or from your cutting process. Take a cloth or some paper towel and wipe them down. Make sure they are clean for painting. If you used any water in the cleaning process give the gutters adequate time to dry.
Step 5: Tape Off the Pattern (If you are not painting skip to step 13)
If you are painting your gutter bookshelf, painters tape will help speed up the process. We tried initially to do it without but it proved to be too time consuming. We used two strips of tape per bookshelf.
Step 6: Paint Your First Color
Apply your first coat of paint to the gutter shelf. Make sure you paint long ways with the shelf. Changing directions throughout the project will be noticeable and will not be as visually appealing. Once you have your first coat applied, give it a second coat starting where you began the first coat. Make sure you give any white space the paint that it needs. Once you have applied the second coat look over the gutter. If there is still some white visual make sure you touch it up. Once you have eliminated all of the white from the gutter you can move on to the next step.
Step 7: Remove the Tape
Once you have applied the first color of paint, remove the painters tape. It’s important that you don’t give the paint a long time to dry. The dryer the first paint color the more likely that the tape will peel up the paint.
Step 8: Add Second Coat
Now you can begin applying the second coat of paint. This requires a steady hand as you don’t want the paint to be overlapping each other. Depending on a pattern, you might need a different size foam paint brush. Once the first coat has been applied move on to your second coat. Make sure you hit all visible white areas. Once the second coat has been applied make sure you check for any noticeable white areas. Touch up any of the white remaining from the gutters.
Step 9: Paint the End Caps
Start painting your gutter end caps. Just as with step 7 and 8 you will need to apply 2 to 3 coats of paint. The paint will also help dull any sharp edges.
Step 10: Apply the Clear Coat
We let the rain gutters dry all day. After we knew it was completely dry we applied the acrylic clear coat. I made sure that I coated it completely. You want to make sure that you move the spray can at a fast enough pace to make sure that no droplets form. We let them dry for a couple hours before we considered them complete.
Step 11: Install the End Caps
Now that all the paint and clear coats are dry, you can install your end caps. You might need to help the gutters form appropriately for them fit. Make sure you use your gloves to protect against any sharp edges. Push the end caps (one left and one right) firmly onto the rain gutters.
Step 12: Make the Holes
Now you are going to have to make the holes for the screws. There was crease near the top back side of the rain gutter. I hammered a nail through to create the hole. One on each side. A drill would probably work better but I had to be resourceful.
Step 13: Install
Now it’s time to install them into the wall. It works best if you can find a stud to secure them to. Determine the placement of the rain gutter bookshelves and secure them to the wall. If no stud is available use the anchors and bolts. Make sure they spaced appropriately and make sure they are level. DO NOT use the iPhone level as I did. The iPhone level told me they were level and when I got all three bookshelves secure and stepped back, they were all crooked.
This is how we built and installed our rain gutter bookshelves. They have worked for us. Depending on the size and weight you will be using with your rain gutters, this configuration might not be best suited for you. For best outcome involve a contractor.