Geek Home: DIY Tetris Shelves

Geek Home Decor: DIY Tetris Shelves

We had a fairly large empty spot on one of our walls, and weren’t quite sure what to put there… so we made some Tetris inspired shelves.

We’ve seen quite a few different sets of Tetris shelves online this past year – we even pinned some to our Pinterest and Tumblr pages, promising that we would add them to our DIY geek decor to-do list. Well, we finally got around to actually making some!

DIY Geek Home Decor: Tetris Shelves

There are lots of online tutorials for how to make Tetris shelves. Most of the ones we found were a little more time-consuming complicated than what we wanted to do (we like to keep things pretty simple around here). By all means, if you plan to sell yours or gift them, you probably want to miter, dovetail, bevel, etc etc, but yeah… we skipped all that. Plus we don’t really have the necessary equipment for that kind of work.

For ours, we started with some 1/2″ plywood that we had in the garage. A sheet of it is just over ten bucks at Home Depot. We drew a grid on it, to be able to easily draw our Tetris shapes out. You know the ones. Making a grid like this means you don’t have to measure your individual cuts (just count out the squares). Our grid squares were each 4″ x 4″.

DIY Tetris ShelvesAfter drawing your shapes, cut them out with a jigsaw. If you don’t have a jigsaw, get one. They’re $30, and will become your favorite thing.

DIY Tetris ShelvesSo far, so good. Now you need to cut out the pieces for the sides. We started with the 1×4 rectangle shelf, since it only needs four sides (easiest). The other shelves need more. Since we do not have mitered sides, we had to add 1/2″ to some of the pieces, in order for everything to fit.

DIY Tetris Shelf

Basically it’s like a really simple puzzle to get the rest of the sides together, with some pieces the same length as the base, and some 1/2″ longer. We plan on making a few more of these shelves, and if we do we’ll update this post with specific cut lists if anyone is interested and hates math.

DIY Tetris ShelvesWe assembled everything using woodglue and regular finishing nails.

DIY Tetris ShelvesOnce they were all put together, we used wood filler up the seams and on the edges, to give a more smooth look for painting.

Gamer Decor: DIY Tetris ShelvesWe did have some uneven edges, so went in with a sander and fixed everything.

That’s really it. Stain, paint, whatever you want to do now. We painted them white, then added a pop of color to the insides with cheapo $0.69 craft paint.

Here it is with a LEGO R2D2, for scale. The size is totally up to you, for the space you’re putting them in.

Geeky Home Decor: DIY Tetris ShelvesFor more context, they’re on the wall perpendicular to our 8-bit fireplace, above our new DIY Legend of Zelda pillow. It’s actually on the same wall as our DIY built-in bookcase (our first project!).

DIY Geek Home Decor: Tetris Shelves

We’re debating if we should leave the shelves bare, or use them as display shelves. Here they are with stuff:

DIY Geeky Home Decor: Tetris Shelves and Star WarsThose are the Star Wars Metal Model Kits from ThinkGeek on the bottom shelf. Which we love (plus they were fun to put together!). The vintagey robot on the yellow shelf is this awesome guy. And yes, he winds up and walks.

Geek Home Decor: DIY Tetris Shelves

We’re pretty happy with how they came out. What do you think? Would you leave them empty, or put little objects in them?


  1. says

    well, if I had the wall space, I would anchor them to the studs and make them wide and deep enough for cats to jump up on and lie down in. I never really liked Tetris but I think my girls would love something like that.

  2. says

    Okay, the consensus definitely seems to be to put stuff on the shelves, so our little Star Wars metal guys are staying! And maybe some smaller books and whatnot. Thank you all for the feedback and comments! 🙂

  3. says

    My daughter saw these the images and she asked me if I can also create one for her. Her plan is to place all of Disney princesses collections there. Thanks for this wonderful idea

  4. says

    OH MY GOSH, just stumbled across this blog and this is one of my favourite things I’ve seen on the Internet! I need these in every room.


    • says

      Lemon Ice and Teal from the Craft Essentials line of acrylic paints and Wedgewood Green and Lavender from the Apple Barrel line.
      When there is a sale on 2 oz. bottles of acrylic paints at Jo-Ann or Michaels, Kat and I go a little crazy trying to choose from the endless array of color!

  5. Jon Morin says

    Nice. Looking to make some for my wife, not sure what design to use. But I’m more of a simpler is better guy, too.

  6. K.T says

    Depressing. I see this all over Pinterest and there are still no exact measurements. Haven’t been in the 2 years I’ve been waiting.

    • says

      Hey K.T! Which measurements are you looking for? We did ours by drawing a grid of 4″x4″ squares on 1/2″ plywood. Then we cut the Tetris shapes out by counting the grid squares to match the Tetris shape (for example, the base piece to the “L” Tetris shape is 3 squares on the long edge, 2 squares on the short edge). Then since our wood was 1/2″ thick, we added 1/2″ to the side pieces, so that it would all fit.

      Our wall space we made the shelves for is small, so the 4″ grids worked for us, but other people have told us that they did 6×6 or 8×8 inch grids and really liked the results (others also used thicker plywood, and adjusted their side measurements accordingly) – just depends on how big your wall is! We might eventually make more of these, but so far our original set is still going strong. 🙂


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