Unlike simple flat shelves, box shelves offer more than one ledge where items can be placed. Items can be displayed both inside the box shelf and on top of the shelving unit. Box shelves have a unique modern look that can really add to a room. They are available in most home decorating stores, but you don't have to pay for a pre-built box shelf. It's quite simple to build a box shelf from scratch.
Determine the size and thickness you would like for the shelf to be. The thicker your shelf, the larger the item it can hold. Since your shelf will only be supported from one side though, don't go beyond about 4 to 5 inches. Buy wood boards in the width that you want your shelf to be, and long enough to make all four sides. If you want an 8-inch square shelf, you will need a board that is at least 30 inches.
Cut your boards to the desired size. To make a simple box shelf in the shape of a square, you will need four boards that are about same size. If you want to make an 8-inch square box shelf and your board is 1/2 inch thick, you will need two 8-inch boards and two 7-inch boards.
Nail the boards into a square. Use 1-inch nails and place the two shorter boards inside the two longer boards when nailing them together.
Sand your shelf with sandpaper. Rough edges will not only look unattractive, but can cause splinters. Lightly sanding the entire shelf will give it a smooth finish.
Decorate the box shelf. You can paint the shelf to match the decor of a room or stain the shelf if you want a more natural look. If you want something a little more decorative, use stencils to add shapes to your paint job.
Attach sawtooth hangers to the back of the shelf. This is the same type of hanger used for many picture frames. Sawtooth hangers come with small nails that should be used to attach them to the box shelf. Use two sawtooth hangers on each shelf. Measure in 1 inch from each side of the shelf and attach a hanger. Now, your shelf is ready to hang.