See, this started as a project that was going to create a GOOD Amiibo shelf, but it came out way too flimsy. So, I’m going to go over how to make one of these, in hopes that someone else can take the basic formula and make something better.
If you’ve ever looked on eBay for something to display Amiibos or other figures, you’ll notice that they’re expensive as hell and of dubious quality. So why not make your own display stand of dubious quality?
What you’ll need:
- Plexiglas. I used three 8” x 10” panels, at a price of $2.79 each, but you can definitely buy whatever size you want and cut to size.
- Hot glue gun (with glue).
- Plastic cutter (or another blade capable of scoring Plexiglas).
- Sandpaper (120 grade).
- Ruler, or a measuring tape and straight edge.
- Permanent marker.
- A sturdy, flat surface like a wooden dinner table or countertop.
1. Mark your cuts.
Measure twice, cut once. Should be obvious, but not many people know how to use tools properly. First, plan what you want. In my case, I wanted four steps, each 2” x 10”. Normally I measure in metric, but the Plexiglas is from an American company, so the inched increments made more sense. So, I marked up two sheets of Plexiglas like so, to make the most of the material. The X’d portions represent the parts that will be removed.
NOTE: Plexiglas SHOULD come coated in removable plastic film, so it’s A-OK to mark on. But obviously, if the material you use doesn’t have this film, find a less conspicuous way to mark your cuts.
2. Cut the short end of row with the hacksaw.
Cutting this whole sheet with a hacksaw is possible, but a pain in the ass. We’ll be scoring and snapping most of the material. However, since the stepped pattern is a bit complex, we’ll need a saw to make the shortest cuts. Saw through the short end, as highlighted in red. The parts we’ll snap off are highlighted in blue.
3. Score the long end of each row and snap off.
As I mentioned before, you CAN use a knife here, but a plastic cutter is highly recommended, as it’ll remove significantly more material per stroke and is much safer to use. What you’ll want to do here is drag the hooked end of the plastic cutter along the line, starting from the sawed portion. Press down hard as you drag, and a line of sprue should coil out of the plastic. Do this all the way to the end of the sheet, being mindful of the table or countertop underneath. Repeat this until you’re roughly halfway through the thickness of the plastic.
Next, you’ll want to place the portion of the sheet you want to snap off off the edge of the table/counter. Place one hand firmly on the portion you want to keep, then snap off the part you want to discard. This should require minimal force. If it’s taking a significant amount of pressure to snap, spend more time scoring the plastic, or you risk destroying the entire sheet. It’s very brittle material.
4. Repeat above steps for your shelves.
This is pretty simple. Just grab a second sheet of Plexiglas and divide it into as many pieces as you need, using the above method. I made four shelves.
5. (Optional) Sand down all the sawed portions.
This step isn’t necessary, but in my case, I actually burned the plastic as I was sawing. By sanding these edges down, you’ll remove the burn marks and create a smooth edge.
6. Stand up your stepped pieces and heat up the glue gun.
Simple enough. Use heavy, sturdy objects to prop up your stepped pieces. Plug in the glue gun, and wait 5-10 minutes for the glue to heat up. Measure each step to make sure the two pieces are equidistant - I stood mine 9 1/4” apart from one another. I used food boxes because I couldn’t find anything better.
7. Glue each shelf to each step.
Pretty straightforward. I applied the glue to the step instead of the shelf, to make sure the glue connected. Unlike other materials, the glue adheres to Plexiglas almost instantly, so once it makes contact, you’ll have to time to move it into position. You need to most quickly, and with precision.
8. Make it better.
I think my key formula here works, but unfortunately, the design is not strong enough to support the weight of Amiibos; it slowed started buckling to the one side, and I had to brace it against the side of the curio. I advise making a third stepped piece for the middle, and creating sturdy supports for the side to prevent it from buckling.
But yeah. That’s about it. This isn’t really a strict how-to guide, but rather, a basic formula that I hope helps people think of better ways of displaying their overpriced plastic. The free market hasn’t come up with an a solution in any sort of reasonable price range, so it’s going to be up to handymen and crafty women to create better, more affordable solutions.
Did you improve on my basic formula? Got any ideas for others? Reply in the comments below. Pictures welcome!