DIY Floating Mandir/Swami Nadai
My husband and I live in a cozy 2 Bedroom apartment in San Mateo, and we don't have a ton of space in our living/dining area to allocate exclusively to a prayer area (which, for most Hindu-Indian households is a must-have). We were fortunate to find an indented wall in our dining area which seemed promising enough to offer creative potential. We debated over whether we should just keep it simple and settle for an embellished bookshelf or table, or if we should take the plunge and buy (a rather expensive!) one off Ebay.
My love for exploring budget-friendly DIY projects landed me on this hanging shelf design by an LA based interior designer, and thought it would be just perfect for our swami nadai needs. Le husband also seemed pretty excited about the idea (and confident about pulling it off!) so I jumped at the opportunity.
If you or someone you know is interested in constructing a similar one, keep reading for details!
Before running over to the hardware store, we spent sometime analyzing wall and ceiling structure (i.e. drywall VS wood, etc.). Given our area of choice was already indented, we already had our boundaries fairly defined, so it was just a question of measuring our desired length and width, as well as number of shelves. We also did some math around the ideal placement for the ceiling hooks, which helped ensure overall balance for the shelves.
For our specific shelf, we procured the following materials. (I've included online links wherever possible). The total cost of the project came out to about $45.
1. Plywood Boards. While any large hardware store would have it, we found ours at Lowe's. The key was identifying wood that was not too heavy (as we had to mount our shelves on a drywall ceiling) yet not flimsy. You can find pre-cut boards (which may be a bit more expensive) or buy a large plank and have them custom cut at the store (which Lowe's will do for you!). We chose the latter approach and had 3 10' X 30' planks cut for us from a 11'X97' plank of plywood. You could append as many shelves as you want, based on how much your ceiling can hold and what you're going to put on it.
2. Wood Paint. (or chalk paint, if you want to play with color!)
3. Paint Brush
5. Brass Bells
6. Screw hooks (for mounting bells - we picked a brass color to match the bells)
7. Cup hooks (for ceiling - we picked a brass color to match the bells)
8. Drywall anchors (If your ceiling surface is made of drywall only)
9. Drill kit
10. Measuring Tape.
12. Scotch tape
13. Bubble leveler
1. Sand the cut plywood planks to ensure a smooth surface.
2. Paint the planks to the color of your choice.
3. Cut a 2 inch square on a piece of paper to use as your scale to mark the 4 corner holes per plank, prior to drilling. (We chose 2 inches as our planks were 10X30 inches. This can be customized based on your slab width and length).
4. Once the planks are dry (took ours about 2-3 days given bad weather), use the scale developed in #3 to mark the position of the holes on each slab (4 per slab).
5. Drill holes in the marked regions. The key thing to note here is the choice of the drill bit should roughly match the diameter of the rope you purchased. You want the holes to allow the rope to go in and out freely, yet be fairly snug.
6. Measure the points where you intend to place the brass bells. Drill 1/4th inch holes and mount the screw hooks in preparation for the brass bells.
7. Mount the screw hooks (and drywall anchors, if applicable) to your ceiling. You want to position them such that they are perpendicular to half the distance between the holes on each side.
8. Mount the first shelf onto the ceiling and tie the knot on either side of the plank once it's leveled. Continue appending the planks per the instructions in this video. It's critical to ensure that the planks are as leveled as possible (using a bubble leveler) while tying the knots, as the last thing you want is a bunch of slanting shelves.
9. Once the shelves are mounted, place the bells onto the screw hooks on the planks and voila!
We hung up a few pictures on the wall prior to mounting the shelves and styled the shelves with silver, brass and copper articles. Our shelves line up against the wall and don't really swing, but you could always make yours swinging in the true sense :)