Vol.2, No.6

How to make a stairway curio shelf

Running out of places to display your knick-knacks? Make this stair step curio rack and you'll display them proudly.

Stairway curio cabinet
Photo Credit: Barbara Henry
Lots of people have large or small curio cabinets to display their nick-knacks. Others have book shelves or table tops to show off their possessions. There are lots of ways to display novelties and collectibles. One unique way is to make a stairway curio shelf. It looks like a stairway that climbs up the wall. You'll need six pieces of wood - five and a half inches by four and a half inches. The wood pieces can be purchased at a hardware store or you can cut the pieces yourself. The pieces can also be slightly more narrow or slightly wider, depending upon what you can find.

Lay one piece of wood on its side and screw, nail or glue the next one to it. Align them to where the top edge of the second piece meets the bottom edge of the first piece. Clamp until dry if using glue. Now align the bottom edge of the second piece with the top edge of the third piece and affix. Continue this pattern until the pieces are all connected. Paint or stain the wood if desired, or leave natural. On the side that will face the wall put three sawtooth brass hangers - one on the back of each "step". Now you can put molding on the front edges if you want.

Cut one piece of molding the length of the first riser. The next piece and each following piece will be shorter by the amount of the width of the molding. So, if you have quarter-inch molding you'll cut the first piece the length of the first riser and the next piece will be that size, minus a quarter-inch. Glue the molding on the sides that will face outward.

In a craft store or department look around to find ornamental supplies that are cornered. For example, you can find mini wagon wheels that are only a third of the wheel. Craft items that are corned like that fit right in between the step and the riser. It can be a pie-cut of wood or even ceramic. Glue these in place by spreading glue on the sides of the triangular piece and sliding into place underneath the steps. It should attach from about halfway under the first step to halfway under the first riser. Put one wedge between each set of steps and risers. You can make the set of stairs any size you want. Continue to add another riser and another step until it is the size you wish.

If all that hammering and gluing is too much trouble simply arrange the pieces of wood to where they look like a set of steps. For the three step pieces use a sawtooth hanger on the long side, facing the wall. For the three risers place one little circular loop on the back of each edge that faces the wall. Hang a riser then place the step at the top edge and hang. Place another riser to where it meets that step then add the next step and continue until all pieces are hanging. The pieces should touch each other and there should be no gaps between the steps and risers.