Published on October 28th, 2010 | by Jules Yap


A mini shelf for books, toddler sized

Materials: Ribba Picture Ledge

Description: We are renting, so I couldn’t attach something to the walls. And we didn’t have the space for a big reading nook but I wanted our toddler to be able to see his books and have them be at his height.

I looked through the garage and found 2 IKEA Ribba photo ledges we were not using.

1. I used a scrap piece of wood I found in the garage, that just happened to be the perfect size. I chose this height because I had two shelves – you can choose to make it higher. Your local hardware store may have a scrap wood section which could be a good place to look. They will usually cut to size for a very small fee.

2. One shelf is flush with the bottom to serves as the base – it is free standing on the floor as we can not make holes in the plaster walls. The top shelf I measured by the size of the books it would be holding – works since toddler books are generally short.

3. Used a remnant piece of fabric to cover pine board. Used staple gun to fasten – first the long ends, than the short, pulling taught with each staple. The seam of the fabric I hid under the bottom shelf, so back is seemless. As for the edges {short sides} – cut fabric short, like you are wrapping a present and then fold into itself and staple. You will see the staples on those edges – you can cover with a pieces of ribbon if you choose.

4. With fabric on, I attached first the bottom shelf, using a level to make sure it was even. You may need to choose shorter screws than the hardware that the shelves come with, depending on the width of board you used. Then I attached the top shelf.

Just his height and perfect for 5-6 books, a toddler doesn’t need much more.

See more of the toddler bookshelf.

~ Alex T

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

11 Responses to A mini shelf for books, toddler sized

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! Thank you for sharing this and for including detailed instructions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very cute! Off topic, but would you mind telling me where you got the car ramp? I’ve been looking for something like that for a while. Thanks!

  3. Alex T says:

    Hi Kari – Thank you for your comment. It made me realize I should have said “..5-6 books at at time.” Here is why. For toddlers, more than 5 books at a time can be overwhelming and overstimulating. If you reduce their choices with books (and toys), and instead rotate them on a weekly basis, toddlers have shown to pay attention longer and stay more concentrated than when they are overloaded with the amount of books and toys that we tend to overwhelm children with.

    I appreciate your comment – It reminded me that it was time to switch around some books.

  4. Kari says:

    “a toddler doesn’t need much more.”

    When used in regards to books, this is the saddest statement I’ve heard all day.

  5. Mama Marchand says:

    Love this and am totally doing this. :) We rent, too, but I think I can attach it to the wall here. Thanks for the idea!!! LOVE IT!!!

  6. nycitysky says:

    Adorable and encourages reading, makes it look so fun. One could easily drill a couple of short sheet metal screws through it and into the baseboard/floor/beam for stability. Likely to get leaned on. Its so attractive!

  7. Alex T says:

    Base is deep, so it’s pretty sturdy but it can be pulled over. It is very light and it’s height is shorter than my toddler so I find it safer than any other bookcase solution. I had the thought to actually attach it to the crib but he played around with the books instead of sleeping!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Henriette Bimmelbahn war auch immer mein liebstes Kinderbuch.
    Nice work!

  9. FL Mom says:

    Very clever! I like how it displays shaped books like the boat on the bottom shelf. As your child grows up, this little unit can be moved to the top of a dresser or something to display photos or trinkets.

    As for tipping, the base looks deep enough to prevent wobbling, and the whole unit is small enough that if the child pulled it onto himself, it probably won’t cause damage.

  10. Anonymous says:

    how do you keep it from tipping falling over without ataching it to the wall?

  11. Jennifer says:

    What a great little book shelf! I know I have two of those exact shelves hiding around here too! (=

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