Tetris Shelves: How To

What you’ll need:

S and Z [click to enlarge]Tools:

  • Circular saw
  • power drill with small drill bit and screwdriver bit


The wood we got was pretty cheap and it shows. They work well enough for toy shelves.  The braces are pricey since we used so many but they have some great features.  They fit great with the size of would. They provide great strength for those odd shapes and make it very straight forward to keep everything squared.

The design is the only potential hangup really, so here are the sketches:

It worked well for me (not a hardened handyman) to warm up with i and o.


Numbers represent feet and the minus after some means to take off the width of your wood from the measurement (e.g., 3- for me was 2’11 1/4″).  This is so the tetris pieces will fit together.  It make the outside 1′ blocks.  Bascially, if the piece of wood is part of an inward corner it stays full length, and if it’s only to outward corners it loses one thickness-size (as you see below with s/z, j/l, & t).



By making the outside 1′, you can make waste minimal wood from 4′ (or 8′) boards. Once you have marked and cut the boards, set up the boards edgewise as shown. [Note: try to mix fulls and minuses on one board for better fit, e.g. 1′, 1′, 1-‘, 1-‘]

Pull out one of the braces, place it on a corner, and pencil the holes.

With a small bit, drill a hole for your screw (so the boards don’t split). Then screw the braces on.

Put a brace on each corner then flip the piece over and brace each corner on the other side.

L and J

L and J

Remember if you want to make the full set you will do l/j piece and the s/z piece twice.  Again, the full size pieces connect to inward corners (outside take off one thickness).

It’s all gravy from there. Mark, Cut, Drill, Screw. That’s basically it.

Another great thing about this design: Taking it apart and putting it back together is easy and should not weaken the structure. That means if you want to paint, repaint, or pack them to move, it will be easy, space-saving, and just like new when they are together again.



You can also enjoy a variety of arrangements to fit any room. Stack them tightly to save space. Stack them loosely for more shelf space. Stack them around other fixtures or separately around the room.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

the final product

the final product

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