Rain Gutter Book Shelf- A Tutorial

I’m in the middle of redoing my girls’ bedroom.
This means tons of sanding, even more painting, and oodles of fun projects.
One of my faves- Madison’s new top bunk rain gutter book shelf!




After seeing this brilliant idea all over blogland a few months ago, I knew I wanted one…I just wasn’t sure of the best place.
For the first three nights Madison slept on the top bunk of her new bed, I found books in her bed. Then it hit me- the perfect place for a rain gutter book shelf!
Raising Olives has a great tutorial, but I got a little lost on the on the brackets….so I skipped them and went straight for studs. (in hindsight: they sell these brackets in the rain gutter section. If you are making an extremely long book gutter/shelf, you will want these to keep your gutter sides from buckling in on themselves)

You will need:

Vinyl rain gutter (they come in 10 ft lengths)
Right and Left end caps for each shelf you plan to make
Hand saw
an i-phone and the voxer app so you can talk to a friend who can provide real time moral support as you wrestle with the gutter by yourself.
Drywall screws (I used 1 1/2″ screws)
Stud finder
Screw gun

First, go to your favorite hardware store and pick up your vinyl rain gutter. As a reminder, they come in 10ft lengths so you will need a long car.



Mine went from windshield all the way to back hatch of my super cool mom mobile-Mazda MPV. It fit nicely between the car seats.


Next, measure and cut your desired shelf length.





Here’s the thing- the gutter is flimsy. The sides will wobble in and out the entire time you are cutting. Extra hands for stability would be great, but I really wanted to finish this before Breadwinner got home from work. I cut down one side, then down the other, then turned the gutter on it’s side, and cut the bottom ‘side’.


It was NOT pretty.






I did sand the wonky edge down a bit, but here’s the beauty of this project….






The end caps overlap the gutter by 3/4″. TONS of room for error. I know some of you are gasping right now at the mere thought of leaving the shelf like this. Clearly not striving for perfection here.


OK, now you are ready to hang your new shelf.


Grab your stud finder- with kids pulling on the front of this gutter all the time, you will want it anchored.





Mark your studs. Here is where that extra pair of hands would have come in handy….


Hold your shelf up, where you want it, making sure it’s level.




I used the ihandy level app on my new i-phone. I’m SO excited about this phone.


Can I tell you how hard it is to hold a shelf, level said shelf, AND photograph the event? On the top bunk? Yeah- didn’t happen.

I used our screw gun (I call it a drill-Breadwinner says it’s a screw gun) and my handy dandy i phone app to hang the gutter. First I pre-drilled holes right thru the back of the gutter. We have a little attachment for our screw gun that makes pre-drilling super easy. Then I put my 1 1/2″ drywall screw straight thru the back of the gutter and into the wall. I planned on using just the two studs to hold up the shelf. Unfortunately, the flimsy gutter needed extra screws near the two ends to keep the ends from bowing away from the wall.





When you are finished hanging your new book gutter/shelf (5 minutes before dinner time, when it’s dark out and your 5 year old is DYING to see her new surprise) fill it with books and admire! (then wait until the next day to photograph the finished product in better light.

Total cost:
$5.23 for 10 feet of rain gutter.
$3.27 per end cap- make SURE you get a right AND a left
Roughly $12 with tax

The look on Madison’s face when she realized she had her very own shelf for books even on her new top bunk-priceless!
The books are nestled so far into the gutter- they are even safe in an earthquake!

AND I have plenty of leftover gutter to make a shelf for Kennedy AND for a friend who is already trying to find the best place for a book gutter in her house!

Where will you put your new rain gutter book shelves?

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