Stylish & Unique Massironi Shelf in 8-Steps

The Massironi Shelf is like a sculpture and a bookshelf in one.
The Massironi Shelf is like a sculpture and a bookshelf in one.

Have you seen some of the most brilliant Ikea hacks available online? Now, we can own something that initially costs thousands of dollars without spending as much. All we have to do is build one of our own.

An excellent example would be a Massironi shelf. An original vintage Tyco bookshelf will set you back no less than $3,000. That’s how expensive it is. But since we’re resourceful, we found a do-it-yourself project of a Massironi shelf, complete with downloadable plans and dimensions.

Place it against any wall in your house and this shelf is a standout!
Place it against any wall in your house,; this shelf will be a standout!

This project is a reproduction of the original shelf. But it works – and looks – just the same. It’s like a sculpture and furniture rolled into one. This is perfect anywhere in the house. You may even give this as a present. The recipient will surely be impressed.

Gather your materials and tools, roll up those sleeves, and start working!

Building a Massironi Shelf


  • drawings (download)
  • straight planks (your choice of wood)
  • paper
  • pencil
  • band saw/jigsaw
  • sandpaper
  • 4 hanging brackets screws
  • Paint (optional)


  • planer
  • sander
  • chisel


Step 1: Prepare Your Design

  • Download the Drawings: Start by downloading detailed drawings of the Massironi shelf. These will guide your cuts and assembly.
  • Review the Plans: Understand the dimensions and the number of pieces you’ll need to cut from your planks.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Make sure you have all the necessary materials and tools listed. Choose your wood carefully, considering its durability and how it complements your decor.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

  • Mark the Cut Lines: Use paper and pencil to transfer the shelf dimensions from the drawings onto your wood planks.
  • Cut the Pieces: Use a band saw or jigsaw to carefully cut out the pieces according to your markings. Follow the drawings closely to ensure accuracy.

Step 4: Smooth the Edges

  • Plane the Edges: Use a planer to smooth out any rough edges on your cut pieces, ensuring they fit together perfectly.
  • Sand the Surfaces: Use sandpaper to smooth the surfaces of each piece. Start with a coarse grit and move to a finer grit for a smooth finish.

Step 5: Assemble the Shelf

  • Dry Fit: Before securing the pieces together, do a dry fit to ensure all parts align correctly.
  • Glue and Clamp: If your design requires, apply wood glue to the joints, then clamp the pieces together until the glue dries.
  • Use a Chisel: For any adjustments or to fine-tune the joints, use a chisel carefully to achieve a perfect fit.

Step 6: Install Hanging Brackets

  • Attach Brackets: Once the shelf is assembled, attach the 4 hanging brackets to the back of the shelf at the positions specified in the drawings.
  • Ensure Stability: Make sure the brackets are securely attached and evenly spaced to properly support the shelf’s weight.

Step 7: Finish the Shelf

  • Final Sanding: Give your shelf a final sanding with fine-grit sandpaper to prepare it for finishing.
  • Paint (Optional): If you decide to paint your shelf, apply a primer first, followed by your chosen paint color. Allow sufficient drying time between coats.
  • Protective Finish: Whether painted or left natural, apply a protective finish to your shelf to preserve the wood and enhance its appearance.

Step 8: Mount the Shelf

  • Choose the Location: Decide where you want to hang your Massironi shelf. Use a level to ensure it’s straight.
  • Secure to Wall: Using screws, secure the shelf to the wall at the studs for maximum support. If studs are not available, use appropriate wall anchors for your wall type.

Styling Your Massironi Shelf

Styling your Massironi shelf adds a personal touch to any room. This unique piece combines a bookshelf’s functionality with a sculpture’s aesthetic appeal. By carefully selecting and arranging items, you can make your Massironi shelf a focal point in your home. Here are some tips to style your shelf.

Play with Heights

Playing with heights is a critical strategy in styling your Massironi shelf. When you arrange items of different heights, it creates a dynamic and engaging display. Start by placing taller items such as vases, large framed artwork, or even tall sculptures at various points on the shelf. These serve as anchor points and draw attention.

Next, fill in the spaces with shorter, smaller objects. Think of books, small photo frames, decorative boxes, or potted plants. The idea is to create layers that lead the eye from one level to another, providing a sense of movement and depth.

Remember, the goal is to avoid a flat, monotonous look. By introducing items of varying heights, you create a rhythm on your shelf that is visually appealing. This approach encourages viewers to take a moment and explore the details of your display, making your Massironi shelf not just a piece of furniture but a conversation starter.

Add Color and Texture

Bringing your Massironi shelf to life is easy with adding color and texture. Start by selecting colorful books with vibrant covers or spines; these can be a visual treat, mainly when grouped. 

Textured fabrics, such as woven baskets or cloth-bound books, introduce a tactile element that invites touch. With their glossy or matte finishes, metal objects add a different texture and reflect light in interesting ways.

When choosing a color scheme, think about the room’s existing palette. Harmonizing with the room’s colors creates a cohesive look. However, opt for contrasting colors if you’re aiming for a more dramatic effect. Bright, bold hues against a neutral backdrop can make your Massironi shelf pop and become a central decor feature.

Incorporate Personal Items

Personalizing your Massironi shelf is what makes it truly special. Begin by selecting photos that evoke fond memories, placing them in unique frames to catch the eye. 

Souvenirs from your travels can serve as conversation starters and add a worldly flair to your display. Handmade items, whether they’re crafts you’ve created or gifts from loved ones, introduce a story and a personal connection to your space.

Each personal item on your shelf contributes to a narrative, transforming the shelf from a mere storage space to a gallery of your life’s highlights. This approach personalizes your Massironi shelf and ensures it reflects your personality and journey, making it an irreplaceable part of your home.

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.

Installation Tips and Tricks

Installing your Massironi shelf properly is crucial for both its appearance and safety. With the right approach, you can ensure your shelf is securely mounted and ready to display your items beautifully. Here are some installation tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Massironi shelf.

Choose the Right Location

Before you start the installation, pick the perfect spot for your Massironi shelf. Consider the wall space, the room’s layout, and how the light affects the shelf’s appearance. The right location enhances the shelf’s visual impact and ensures it complements the room.

Secure Mounting Hardware

The key to a stable Massironi shelf is using the proper mounting hardware. Identify the type of wall you have—drywall, plaster, or brick—and select the appropriate anchors and screws. Using a stud finder to mount the shelf directly into wall studs is best for heavy shelves.

Leveling Your Shelf

Ensuring your Massironi shelf is perfectly level is essential. Use a level tool during installation to avoid a tilted appearance. A well-leveled shelf looks better and functions appropriately, preventing items from sliding off.

Avoid Overloading

Even though your Massironi shelf is sturdy, it’s essential to be mindful of its weight capacity. Distribute weight evenly and avoid placing items that are too heavy on it. This will preserve the shelf’s structure and integrity over time.

Measure Twice, Install Once

Before drilling any holes, double-check your measurements. Mark where the brackets will go and ensure that everything aligns correctly. Accurate measurements prevent mistakes and ensure your Massironi shelf is positioned precisely where you want it.

Use the Right Tools

Having the right tools on hand makes the installation process smoother. A drill, a level, a measuring tape, and a pencil are essential. Using tools appropriate for your wall type and the shelf’s requirements ensures a secure installation.

Consider Lighting

Lighting can dramatically enhance the look of your Massironi shelf. Consider installing spotlights above or LED strips beneath the shelves to highlight your displayed items. Proper lighting can accentuate the textures and colors of the objects on the shelf, making the Massironi shelf a standout feature.

Protect Your Wall

Before mounting your shelf, consider the wall’s finish. If you’re worried about damage, use painter’s tape where you’ll be drilling. This can help prevent the paint from chipping. Also, using wall protectors or pads behind the shelf can prevent scuffs and keep the shelf firmly in place.

Plan for Adjustability

Use adjustable brackets that allow you to change the shelf’s height or angle if possible. This flexibility lets you update the look and function of your Massironi shelf over time, accommodating new items or design preferences.

Choosing the Right Wood for Your Shelf

Selecting the suitable wood is a critical step in building your Massironi shelf. The type of wood you choose not only affects the shelf’s appearance but also its durability and how well it complements your home’s decor. Here’s how to pick the best wood for your project.

Consider the Wood’s Durability

When considering the wood’s durability for your Massironi shelf, it’s essential to delve into how different woods can withstand the test of time and use. Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and walnut bring a sense of warmth and natural beauty to your project and are also renowned for their robustness. This makes them perfect candidates for a Massironi shelf destined to bear the weight of heavy items.

Oak is popular for its dense grain and impressive strength, making it resistant to scratches and dents. Its durability ensures that a shelf made from oak can handle a substantial amount of weight, ideal for an extensive collection of books or heavy decorative pieces.

Maple is another hardwood that stands out for its toughness and ability to withstand heavy use. It has a lighter color and a subtle grain pattern, offering a bright and contemporary look while maintaining the strength needed to support your items securely.

Walnut offers a darker, richer hue that can add a touch of elegance to any room. Beyond its visual appeal, walnut is highly durable and capable of supporting heavy loads without bending or warping over time. This makes it an excellent choice for a Massironi shelf that combines functionality with aesthetic appeal.

Choosing one of these hardwoods for your Massironi shelf means investing in a piece that will last for years, maintaining its structural integrity and appearance even under heavy use. Their natural resistance to wear and tear makes them ideal for a piece that is practical and serves as a focal point in your home’s decor.

Think About the Wood’s Finish

The finish of the wood you choose for your Massironi shelf plays a crucial role in defining its character and how it complements your living space. Wood finishes can range from glossy to matte, and the wood’s natural color can be preserved or enhanced through staining.

Cherry and mahogany are known for their ability to develop a more profound, richer patina as they age. This natural aging process creates a warm, inviting color that can add a luxurious feel to any room. A Massironi shelf made from these woods can become more beautiful over time, making it a timeless addition to your home.

Woods like birch or maple are excellent choices for a lighter, more modern aesthetic. These woods have a naturally more golden hue and a more subtle grain, offering a clean and contemporary look. They can brighten up a space and add a sense of openness. Plus, their smooth surface makes them ideal for painting or staining if you’re want to match a specific color scheme.

When considering staining, it’s important to note that not all woods absorb stains similarly. Some woods, like oak, have an open grain that takes stain well, allowing for a uniform and predictable color change. Others, like maple, have a tighter grain that can result in a more blotchy appearance if not adequately prepared before staining.

Furthermore, the type of finish you choose can also affect the wood’s appearance and durability. A high-gloss finish can highlight the natural beauty of the wood and provide a durable surface that’s easy to clean. In contrast, a matte finish might better suit a rustic or understated decor style, hiding scratches and imperfections more effectively.

Match the Wood to Your Decor

Matching the wood of your Massironi shelf to your home decor is essential for creating a cohesive and visually appealing space. The type of wood can significantly influence the room’s overall vibe, enhancing its aesthetic and ensuring that your new shelf feels like an integral part of your home.

Choosing lighter woods such as ash or beech can be particularly effective for homes with a modern, minimalist design. These woods have a naturally light color and a subtle grain pattern, contributing to a clean, uncluttered look synonymous with contemporary design. 

They reflect light well, making spaces feel more extensive and more open. A Massironi shelf made from these woods can serve as a sleek, understated piece that complements other modern elements in the room, such as metal accents or glass surfaces.

On the other hand, if your decor leans towards the traditional or rustic, opting for darker woods like walnut or mahogany can add a layer of sophistication and warmth. These woods are known for their deep, rich colors and distinctive grain patterns, which can bring a sense of history and elegance to any space. 

A shelf crafted from these materials can anchor a room, serving as a focal point around which other traditional elements can be arranged. The warmth of darker woods is particularly beneficial in spaces with earthy color schemes or where the goal is to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

Moreover, the choice of wood can also complement specific themes within your decor. For instance, reclaimed lumber can enhance a rustic or industrial theme, adding texture and a sense of authenticity. In contrast, highly polished, fine-grained woods might suit a luxurious, sophisticated interior.

It’s also worth considering how the wood will interact with other materials in your space. For example, a Massironi shelf in light wood can provide a beautiful contrast to darker floors or furniture, drawing the eye and lighting the room. Conversely, a dark wood shelf can add depth and interest to a predominantly lightroom, providing balance and visual weight.

Sustainability Matters

Sustainability is increasingly important today, and choosing materials for your Massironi shelf with minimal environmental impact is a responsible decision. Opting for woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is one way to ensure that your project aligns with eco-friendly practices. 

FSC certification means the wood has been sourced from forests managed with strict environmental, social, and economic standards. This certification ensures that the wood is not only harvested responsibly but also supports the regeneration of forests, protection of wildlife, and respect for local communities.

Bamboo stands out as a particularly sustainable choice for your Massironi shelf. Although it is technically a grass, bamboo has the strength and durability of many hardwoods, making it an excellent material for furniture and shelving. 

One of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, bamboo can be harvested every three to five years, unlike hardwood trees, which can take decades to mature. This rapid regrowth cycle makes bamboo a highly renewable resource. Additionally, bamboo’s natural resistance to pests and diseases means it can be grown with minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers, further reducing its environmental footprint.

Bamboo’s sleek and modern appearance makes it well-suited for contemporary design schemes. Its light natural color and unique grain pattern can add a touch of elegance to any room, and it can be stained or finished to match a wide range of decor styles.

Reclaimed wood is another option for those looking to make even more environmentally conscious choices. Reclaimed wood comes from various sources, including old buildings, barns, and docks. 

Using reclaimed wood for your Massironi shelf adds character and history to your piece and prevents the waste of potentially valuable materials. Reclaimed wood has a unique appearance, with marks and patina developed over years of use, making each shelf unique.

FAQ on Building Your Own Massironi Shelf

What is a Massironi shelf?

A Massironi shelf is a unique piece of furniture that combines a bookshelf’s functionality with a sculpture’s aesthetic appeal. It’s named after the designer and is known for its unique style and versatility.

Do I need advanced woodworking skills to build a Massironi shelf?

While having some woodworking experience is helpful, building a Massironi shelf is achievable for beginners, too, especially if you follow detailed plans and instructions. Patience and attention to detail are essential.

What tools do I need to build a Massironi shelf?

Essential tools include a saw (hand saw, jigsaw, or band saw), drill, sander, measuring tape, level, and possibly a planer and chisel for finer adjustments. Safety equipment, like gloves and goggles, is also essential.

How do I choose the suitable wood for my Massironi shelf?

Consider the wood’s durability, finish, and how it matches your decor. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and walnut are durable and ideal for shelves. Lighter woods like ash or beech suit modern spaces, while darker woods like walnut or mahogany fit traditional decors.

Can I customize the design of my Massironi shelf?

Absolutely! While the basic structure of a Massironi shelf has its unique characteristics, you can adjust the dimensions, finish, or additional features to make your shelf fit your space and style perfectly.

How do I ensure my Massironi shelf is installed securely?

Use appropriate mounting hardware for your wall type and ensure the shelf is level when installing. If possible, anchor the shelf to wall studs for added stability, especially if it will hold heavy items.

Is bamboo a good material for a Massironi shelf?

Bamboo is a sustainable, durable material that works well for contemporary designs. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to minimize their environmental impact.

Where can I find plans to build a Massironi shelf?

Plans for building a Massironi shelf can often be found online through DIY forums, woodworking websites, or searching for “Massironi shelf plans.” Ensure any plans you use are comprehensive and suited to your skill level.

Can I paint or stain my Massironi shelf?

Yes, you can paint or stain your shelf to match your decor. Just ensure the wood you choose is suitable for the finish you have in mind. Some woods take to spoiling better than others;; all can be painted if adequately prepared.


Building your own Massironi shelf is not only a rewarding DIY project but also an opportunity to add a unique and stylish piece to your home. By carefully selecting the right materials, following detailed instructions, and applying creativity, you can create a functional and a work of art shelf.

For more unique shelves, read our post on a floating shelf with hidden storage next!



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