This is a miniature bookshelf meant to display a select few of your favorite books. The shelf can be placed as a centerpiece on any surface, like a desk or coffee table, or it can be hung up on the wall. The arc of the shelf allows the books to lean into the middle book, which straddles an aluminum stabilizer. 

This piece was designed for Make 10, a challenge open to senior students: design and manufacture, brand, and package 10 products, and sell them at the end of the semester at a marketplace.

Lil Shelf won 1st place at this event, judged by Orange Sparkle BallThe prize is a 3-month membership to Prototype Prime, where I will be able to continue producing Lil Shelves!

Stay tuned for updates!

Make 10 Project | Senior Invention Studio, Spring 2017


inspiration and process

My primary goal when I set out on this journey was to create something that celebrates and displays a favorite collection of books in a beautiful way. I wanted to bring select books off of the traditional bookshelf and allow them to be more present in the atmosphere of a room - whether it’s a bedroom, living room, or even a kitchen (cookbooks!). A few of the images below resonated with me and got me thinking about how to combine and manipulate materials to work with the shape and size of everyday books.


I wanted to work with the weight of the books to determine how the product would look. In addition, love the way the books in the top right image seem to be floating - I also wanted to include a slight air of illusion. As for the style and language, I’m in love with Scandinavian simplicity and how that the beauty of the product is in the material. I decided to go for a dark walnut veneer contrasted with the light birch wood on the edges.

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I laser-cut the layers of the cardboard for initial prototypes to understand how the bending and layering process would work. I then translated what I learned to thin birch plywood - however, as a totally different material, I had to learn quickly about woodworking, wood bending, veneering, and many other processes. A slit is cut in the center of the bent shelf to allow for the inner stabilizing handle to fit, cut out by a water-jet.


lil shelf won 1st place!

Here’s me and my dad the night of the event.