Put A Shelf On It

As you probably know from reading this blog, I love a good room makeover.  And I've realized that when I'm working on rooms, one of my go-to decor items is a shelf to hang on the wall.  Who doesn't love a place to display cute things? Let's go ahead and queue up some Beyonce for this post..."If you like it, then you prob'ly put a shelf on it..."

You can buy a wall shelf practically anywhere.  But why would you when they're so darn easy (and cheap!) to make?  I think the first one I did was for my friend Kim's room.  This picture isn't great but I LOVED how the distressed blue turned out on it.

Shortly after Kim's shelf was hung, my mom demanded requested we make one for above her bed.  Again, you can't really tell in the picture, but hers is a distressed black to match her black and brown furniture.


Last summer we made another shelf and painted it pale pink for Katie Wynn's nursery.  It's the perfect place for little pink shoes!


And then this winter we made two matching shelves for our favorite little twins.

Nursery 2

So last weekend when we were wrapping up our mini bathroom renovation (pics coming soon!) and I was hunting for something to hang on the wall, I thought, duh! I'll make another little shelf.  Perfect for a bathroom!

I thought I'd take pictures along the way so that you guys can give your walls some shelf lovin' too.

Here are the supplies I started with from left to right: one 1x6  (I usually use a 1x4 but wanted a wider shelf this time) one 1x4 three different moldings in varying sizes


The first thing I did was figure out how long I wanted the shelf to be (about shoulders' width) and cut my 1x6 to length.  I also cut two pieces out of the 1x4 the same length.  I used a miter saw but you could use a hand saw if it's all you have.


Next, I nailed the three boards together in a U shape, making sure the 1x6 was on front of the 1x4s.  (That probably doesn't make sense, but see pictures below.)  You could do this with just wood glue, but you'd need to clamp it and wait for it to dry before moving on.


I measured the openings on the ends and cut two more pieces of my 1x4 to fit inside.  Then I just nailed them in place.  At this point I basically had a long rectangular box with no lid on it.


You could totally stop here if straight lines are your thing and you just want a boxy shelf.


I wanted to fancy mine up though, so I got busy cutting my molding.  I started with my widest piece and cut it into three pieces that would wrap around the shelf.  I mitered my edges so I used the miter saw again, but a miter box would work too.


This picture is just so you know what mitered edges are.  They're cut at an angle instead of meeting at 90 degrees.


Once the pieces were cut to the right size (I always remind myself here that wood putty is my friend!), I tacked them with nails around the top edge of the shelf.  Wood glue would work here too, just clamp and let dry.  In this picture, the open side of the box is now in the back.  That's the side that will eventually go up against the wall.


I always attach my trim just a little bit above the top of the shelf to create a little lip.  This keeps items on the shelf from rolling off.


You could stop here too if you wanted - that's where I stopped on all the shelves pictured at the top of this post - but I wanted to fancy mine up a little bit so I kept going.  I cut my next piece of molding to fit the shelf and bumped it up right underneath the top piece.


And just for fun, I decided to add one more piece of trim.  I wanted something with lots of curves because the wall I planned to hang it on has lots of straight lines.  Instead of bumping my third piece of trim up against the other two, I lined it up with the bottom of the box.  You can see in the picture below that there is a small gap with no molding.


My apologies, but this is where my step-by-step pictures fall off a little.  I must've gotten excited about the end product and forgot to snap pics along the way.  The last step in the "construction" face is to wood putty all the holes and imperfections, let it dry, and then sand it smooth.  Wood putty can hide lots of boo boos!

Later, I painted the shelf a solid blue-green color.  I had a specific look I was going for though (I was trying to match something I already had) so leaving it with just that solid coat of paint wouldn't work.  After it dried, I barely roughed it up with some sandpaper.  Just enough for the wood to show through in a few spots, but not crazy distressed.  Then I started adding a brown glaze to it.  In the picture below, I've started adding the glaze to the left side of the shelf.  The right side is just the paint that has been sanded a little.


The top of the shelf before glaze was added.


Bottom of the shelf that has already been glazed.


Shoot.  I'm kicking myself for totally slacking on the pictures after this.  You'll just have to imagine it from here on out.  I glazed over the whole thing, wiping it off and adding more until I got the finish I was going for.  Once it was dried, I added a coat of water-based polyurethane.

To hang the shelf, you have to put a cleat on the wall.  It's important to make sure whatever you're using for your cleat fits inside the back of your box/shelf.  I used a 2x2 that was cut about 5 inches shorter than my shelf.  After deciding where I wanted the shelf to hang, I screwed my cleat into the wall, making sure to hit at least one stud.  Then, I placed the shelf over the cleat and screwed two short screws down on the top of the shelf attaching it to the cleat.  Make sure you use screws instead of nails so you can eventually remove it without killing your walls!

Here's the final product this time!  Ignore what's sitting on top of the shelf...I haven't figured out what I want up there yet.  But the curvy lines look good, no?


Details coming soon of our bathroom makeover!