How to Build A One-Sheet Plywood Leaning Shelf

During our Plywood Pretty week, we’re showing projects that are not just built with plywood, but that use the natural look of plywood as part of the design aesthetic, showing off the wood grain and the banded edges. (Be sure to subscribe by email or RSS and follow along over on Facebook and Instagram with #PlywoodPretty so you won’t miss any of these new tutorials!) So, in keeping with our theme, we decided to make a leaning shelf that’s as pretty as the things you display on the shelves! The plywood makes a perfect natural neutral backdrop for photos and colorful decor like our nail polish art

Build a minimalist plywood leaning shelf from just one sheet of plywood. Perfect for displaying photos and other lightweight home decor. #PlywoodPretty @Remodelaholic

I like the look of a leaning shelf, but when I first saw one, all I could think of was how quickly it would slide across my floor when someone walked by! I also knew I needed my shelves to be parallel to the floor, rather than angled up. So I threw a couple twists into this build, and I hope you like it! It takes just one sheet of plywood, and if you wanted a shorter shelf, you could get two shelves out of one sheet of 1/2″ plywood. Build a minimalist plywood leaning shelf from just one sheet of plywood. Perfect for displaying photos and other lightweight home decor. #PlywoodPretty @Remodelaholic

How to Build a Leaning Shelf
from one sheet of plywood

Click here to get a free printable version of this building plan



  • Table saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Counter sink drill bit like this
  • Power drill

Cut Diagram

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning ShelfHere is the cut layout I used. Depending on how tall you want your shelf you could get two shelves out of one sheet of plywood. I, however, wanted the shelf to be 6′ 6″ so I was only able to build one.

Step 1

Set table saw fence to cut at 23 15/16″ from the edge of the blade. Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Cut 1I know this seems like a strange measurement, but trust me! The blade should remove 1/8″ of the material, and cutting at this width should give you two identical boards. One for the back of the shelf, and one for the shelves.


Step 2

Set the angle of the table saw blade to 8 degrees, and the fence at 17 7/8″ from the blade. Cut off one end as shown. This should leave you with a 6′ 6″ board.Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Cut 2I wanted to make the shelf as stable as possible for using on a wood floor. With the angle cut on the bottom you will have full contact with the floor along the bottom edge. Instead of just the corner. I also sprayed on a non-slip coating so it wouldn’t slide. (This is the final step)

Step 3

With saw still set at 8 degrees, set fence to 8″ from blade. Cut one shelf from each end of second 23 15/16 board as shown.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Cut 3bRemodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Cut 3a


Step 4

Set table saw blade to zero, and set fence to 8″ from blade. Cut one shelf from each and again as shown.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Cut 3abStep 5

Fill any holes with Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler. When wood filler is dry, sand until smooth.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf (2)

Step 6

Begin assembly! I wanted my shelves 14″ apart. With 1/2″ plywood your measurements to the top of your shelf should be as shown. Measure and mark with a faint pencil line for each shelf. Make sure you measure from the top (uncut edge). Your angled cut is the bottom of the shelf.Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Assembly 3

Krista Fuhriman Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf (6)Step 7

For the back add 1/4″ to each measurement to mark the center of each shelf. Predrill with countersink bit, three holes for each shelf. One at center, and two 4″ from the edge.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Assembly 5Step 8

This next step is a little tricky on your own. Grab a helper if you need to.

Place top of angled shelf edge on the marked line. (the long edge of angle will be the top of the shelf, refer to the image below)

Hold in place, using a bit that is smaller than your screws, drill pilot holes through the back into the shelf. Make sure you are going straight into the shelf. Your drill will be at a slight angle to the back of the board. Repeat for each shelf

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf Assembly 6

Step 9

Run a bead of Elmer’s Wood Glue Max (which is paintable and stainable!) along the angled edge, hold in place, and secure with screws into predrilled holes. Repeat for each shelf.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf (5)Step 10

Tape off bottom angled edge of shelf, and spray with plasti-dip. I also held a board below to catch over spray. Allow to dry.

Remodelaholic Plywood Leaning Shelf (7)Step 11

You can stain or paint your shelf at this point, but I left mine as bare wood.

Now put that shelf to work!

Leaning Plywood Shelf By Remodelaholic 3

Be sure to check out all of our awesome Plywood Pretty projects here

It's Plywood BUT Pretty! 12 New DIY Plywood Projects + Tutorials

and a whole collection of one sheet plywood projects here

Grab A Sheet Of Plywood To Make One Of These Fabulous Projects. 30+ Projects Made With One Sheet Of Plywood Featured On




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