If you want to surprise your kid with a nice DIY gift, here’s the solution: a red bi-plane wall shelf that takes a couple of hours to build. It’s so lovely that every kid should have one in his own room. It looks great on the wall and also works for storage.
This is how I have built mine for less than $20, compared to $90 dollars in the store. Read about this project below, and share it with your friends if you liked it!
What You Need for This Project
It takes two to built this plane in a couple of hours (painting not counted), since it’s not the most simple project on earth, but it’s not rocket science either. Read the instructions carefully before starting your DIY project! It takes a little time and more attention to build this piece but it’s definitely worth the effort!
You would probably want to re-use anything you can for this project, so look for some wooden boards, PVC pipes, small wheels around the house and keep them on hand since they will be useful later in the project.
Check the list below and click on the links to see the materials to buy for this project:
- 2 wooden boards or floating shelves
- 2 small corner braces for the upper shelf
- 2 big corner braces or shelf brackets for the lower shelf
- 8 poles 1-in width and 8-in long (a wooden pole at least 35-in long should be enough)
- 6-in wide wooden cilindre or PVC pipe for the fuselage
- 8-in wide (old) propeller
- 2-in furniture wheels for the landing gear
- wood screws, screws for fixing the plane shelf on the wall
- hammer drill
- paint and glue
Paint the two shelves (they would later turn into wings) and let them dry while you are preparing the fuselage. We took an old wooden vase for building the fuselage but it’s not mandatory to have a cockpit, so you could just use a piece of wood instead, like this guy did. (And maybe paint some round windows on it?)
Photo source: nestdesigns.co.za
For making the cockpit, drill two 2-in holes on the middle upper side of the tube. Take care not to hurt yourself during the process, since the drill will works really fast and puts a lot of pressure on the fuselage.
Paint the fuselage and let it dry.
When the paint is dried on both wings and the fuselage, center the fuselage on the lower shelf and secure it with screws.
Prepare to drill the holes that you need for installing the vertical support like you see in the image below (8 holes on each wing, one for each of the poles). These holes have the same size as the poles, and has to be identically placed onto shelves.
Mark perfectly identical spots on the upper side of the lower wing, and the lower side of the upper wing. Drill the holes half of the wings’ width, and be careful not to perforate the wood totally during the process.
Next, you fix the corner braces and the shelf brackets on the wings at the same distance from the corner on each wing – 5.5 to 6-in from each corner.
The Landing Gear
Next, prepare the landing gear, which goes on the inferior side of the lower shelf. Place the wheels on equal distance from the middle of the wing, and fix them with screws.
The wheels that we had were to small so an addition has been required for a balanced look: a small piece of wood between each wheel and the inferior shelf in order to lower the landing gear.
Let’s fix it!
The hardest part is fixing the poles between the wings: this is when you see if your poles are equal, and if the holes are perfectly mirroring each other. Fix the 8 poles in the lower holes (you can glue them there to ease your job), then place the upper wing, matching the vertical support in the other 8 holes.
Use the special screws to fix the plane shelf on the wall. Use shelf brackets for the lower one (they will support the weight), and small corner braces fot the upper wing (they will keep the shelves tight against the wall).
We turned an old fan into a propeller for our kid’s plane, and it fitted in perfectly, no other fixing has been required. The fan still has the wires coming out of it, which might turn into opportunity to power it one day and make it work.
What to Beware Of…
You know that guy, Murphy, and his pessimistic laws? Here are some loopholes in his logic that you should be aware of! Getting serious, be aware and beware of:
- drilling too deep when making the holes, or you will perforate the shelves. Use a thin elastic binder or a rubber band to mark the maximum depth on your drill, so you would know when to stop drilling.
- having the poles in different sizes. If they don’t have exactly the same size, your plane will look twisted.
- drilling the wood to hard if the wood is very dry, or you won’t be able to prevent it from cracking.
This is it! The plane is ready to take-off.
And let’s get some friends on board!
This is our red bi-plane shelf, and my kid is very fond of it!
Tell me what you think about this project, and share it with your friends if you like it!