So, she set to work to figure out the perfect up-cycled bottle bookshelf. Here's how she pulled it together.
She chose paint-grade finger-jointed pine for the shelves, since it is the cheapest "solid wood" product at the lumber yard. MDF and particle board won't work for shelves, since there is no structural strength. Finger-jointed pine is actually small scraps of pine by-product from the manufacture of other lumber products, so, in a way, it is up-cycled lumber... and it looks kind of "wine-cellarish!" She cut her shelves to the same width, added a platform edge to bottom shelf for rigidity, and drilled a quarter inch hole in each corner of every shelf.
Next, on the underside of each shelf, she used a 1 1/8" bit to drill a 1/4 inch deep hole with the same center, to provide a recess to lock the levels together.
Each "layer" will consist of 1 board, with 4 bottles attached, so after choosing 4 bottles of the same height for each layer, she drilled a small hole in the bottom using a Dremel tool with a 1/4" glass drilling bit. With the holes drilled, she needed to get a 3" carriage bolt through the hole from the inside, so she used sticky wax (from a Babybel Gouda she had in the fridge) on a skewer to carry the nut through the neck of the bottle.
Once the bolt was in place, she could hold it with one hand, and twist the skewer with the other to separate the two, leaving the bolt in position and the skewer ready for it's next target!
With the bolt in position she needed to hold it still while turning on a nut from the bottom (stop giggling!) so she used the little screwdriver from her Mother's first sewing machine taped onto a length of dowel. (She knew she had kept that little orange screwdriver all these years for a reason!)
This little jury rig worked perfectly to hold the bolt while the nut was added from below.
Here's the first "layer", with all four bottle bolted firmly into place. The next layer was created the same way, with the larger holes on the bottom of each shelf fitting nicely over the tops of the bottles below it.
Miss Ginger bolted and stacked each layer the same way, until she reached the height she wanted, which was about 70"! Believe it or not, at this point the unit was really solid, and by sliding the bottom platform away from the wall, she was able to work on the back of the bookshelf. To give it a more "bookshelfy" look vs. a stack of boards and bottles, she used a length of one-sided corrugated kraft to create a "back" by stapling it to each shelf from behind. Then, for rigidity, she took a length of pine 1x3 and nailed it behind the kraft. You can't see it, but it's behind the kraft on each side, at the very edge, between the paper and the wall.
Here it is, partially styled for this photo. Trust, honey, this bookshelf is strong enough to hold 100's of books, a collection of CD's, or cases and cases of delicious rosy reds or delightful chardonnays!
Admittedly, I wouldn't put it in the living room or formal dining area, but for a craft room or rec room, it's kind of darling, and certainly affordable!!
Stay tuned for another affordable work surface that also provides hidden storage!