Free Woodworking Plans to Build a West Elm Inspired Parsons Shelf Unit

11.19.11 By //
Project Image

Not to be mistaken for the Parsons Low Bookshelf, this shelf unit is the first in a series for the West Elm Inspired Parsons Media Collection! Fun right? Yahoo.

Estimated Cost 


Dimensions for This Project


Safety Gear Tape Measure Drill Kreg Jig Saw – you will need either a Table Saw, Circular Saw, or Jig Saw to cut the plywood shelves.


1 sheet of 3/4″ ply 4 – 2×2 at 8'


2 1/2″ pocket hole screws Wood Glue Wood Filler Sanding Supplies Finishing Supplies

Cut List 
  • 4 – 2×2 at 24″ legs
  • 6 – 2×2 at 17″ side rails
  • 6 – 2×2 at 39″ front and back rails
  • 3 – 3/4″ ply at 17″ x 39″ shelves

Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.

Step 1

Step 1 

Create the Side Panels: Use your Kreg Jig set for 1 1/2″ stock and your 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 2

Step 2 

Construct the Shelves: You will cut your shelf panels to size and create your pocket holes all around the edges of each panel to attach them to the rails. You will use your Kreg Jig set for 3/4″ stock. Once you have created all of your pocket holes for the shelves, you will create the pocket holes in the rails using your Kreg Jig set for 1 1/2″ stock. Once all of your pocket holes have been created you will attach and your front and back rails to each shelf panel using your 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue. Then you will attach each shelf panel as shown below to your legs and rails. You will use your 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and glue to attach the rails to the legs and your 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and glue to attach the shelves to the side rails.

Finishing Instructions 

Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired. For Finishing Tips and Tricks visit my Finishing School

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**Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Feel Free to link to any of my plans so long as you provide an adequate link back to the appropriate post! Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Design Confidential I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a clear understanding of how the project works before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or inaccuracy so that I might fix it.

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