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When we started our laundry room update, we had a few goals to keep in mind: add lots of storage and hide the plumbing clean-outs. What better way to do both than to add a few shelves that would be able to hold everything we need for laundry?
Not only will this shelf give you all the space to put your laundry detergent and dryer sheets, but it’ll also hide all of those unsightly cords that run behind your washer/dryer.
And just because you have a top loader doesn’t mean you can’t have a pretty (and practical) shelf above your washer and dryer. The shelves are deep enough to hold what you need, but won’t hit your washing machine.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
Looking for more DIY laundry room ideas? Don’t forget to check out these awesome tutorials.
- Fold-down drying rack (great for small spaces!)
- Laundry folding table with sweater drying drawers
- Miter saw
- Electric sander
- Nail gun
- Kreg K4
- Circular Saw with track or table saw
- Utility Knife
What You’ll Need
Cut the cut list in the free PDF plans (available for download at the bottom of this post)
- 3/4″ 4×8 sheet of plywood (I recommend oak)
- Iron-on plywood edge banding (make sure to get the one that matches your wood species)
- Paint or stain (we used Minwax Special Walnut)
- Sealer (we used this one)
- 1.25″ pocket hole screws
How to make a shelf behind your washer/dryer (yes, even if it’s top-loading!)
New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!
STEP 1: Measure
Your washer/dryer might have different dimensions than ours.
Measure how wide your washer and dryer are. Make sure to include the normal space that you have between them in your measurements.
You’ll also want to measure how high the top of your washer and dryer are.
Step 2: Cut your plywood
Cut your plywood to size. We used our circular saw and track to get straight, clean cuts. You can get our measurements in the free PDF plans (available at the bottom of this post).
You’ll want a total of 5 pieces:
- 2 sides
- 1 back
- 1 top
- 1 bottom shelf
Step 3: Drill pocket holes
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
Only two of your pieces will actually get pocket holes.
Place 4 pocket holes on either end of your bottom shelf. These will be used to attach into the legs.
Add 3 pocket holes on either end of the back. Then add 7 pocket holes on both the top and bottom of the back. These will secure the back to both the bottom shelf and top.
Since we’re attaching plywood, there’s a small adjustment you need to make to the Kreg Jig. If you aren’t sure what that is, check out tip #3 in this post.
Step 4: Add your plywood edging
Add the edging is pretty simple, but you need to make sure that every edge is nice and secure or it will peel off over time.
Cut your plywood edging to be about an inch too long on either end.
Warm up your iron and turn on the steam option. Position your edging on the plywood, trying to center the overhang on all sides.
Slowly run your iron along the edging until the adhesion starts to stick. Run it back and forth a few more times.
Once it feels pretty secure, flip your plywood over and run a sharp utility knife along the edge of the plywood to cut off the excess edging.
Run your iron over the edging again to make sure it’s nice and secure.
Then run your iron at an angle across the edges of the plywood. You can also rock the iron back and forth over the edge of the plywood to make sure that the edges are fully pressed down and adhered.
Remember, you only need to put edging on the sides that will actually be seen.
Step 5: Sand
The plywood should be pretty well sanded already, but here’s what we did.
First we sanded the edges of the plywood edging using a sanding block to make the transition between the edging and the plywood was nice and smooth.
Make sure to wait at least 15 minutes after ironing before sanding! If your plywood edging pulls up while your gently sanding, go back and apply more heat with the iron.
Then we sanded all of the plywood with 220-grit sandpaper to best prepare it for stain.
Step 6: Stain + Seal
Stain and seal your shelf following the instructions on the back of your cans.
P.S. Check out this post with extra staining tips and tricks.
Step 7: Assemble
Note: in our pictures, we attached the back and bottom shelves together before staining, but you can stain everything first and then assemble. That way you also avoid having to use a paintbrush to get in the cracks!
First attach the back of the shelf to the bottom using glue and 1.25″ Kreg screws.
Our shelf was also hiding plumbing clean-outs that came about 3/4″ off the wall. Because of these, we indented the back 3/4″. If you don’t have any clean-outs to hide (you probably won’t), then you can make the back of your shelf flush with the back of the bottom.
Then attach the legs to the back and bottom shelf using glue and 1.25″ Kreg screws.
Attach the top to the back with glue and Kreg screws.
Finally, flip your shelf over and pop and few nails in to secure the top to the legs.
There you have it! Now you know how to make a shelf that sits behind/over your washer and dryer. It’s a great place to keep everything your need to do laundry at arms length. I don’t know about you, but reaching for far up to get my detergent always made me dread doing laundry.
If you want to make it look extra pretty, grab some glass jars and metal measuring cups to store everything in! Click on the photos below to be taken to the exact item we used.
Don’t forget to download the free printable plans below!
Can you make the legs go to the floor? I don’t have a countertop next to my washer and dryer.
Hi Kristin, the legs do go all the way to the floor on both sides 🙂
It looks like a w/d headboard, looks great.
Did your iron-on edging accept the stain? If so, would you mind sharing which kind you used? I haven’t had much luck finding iron-on edging that can. Looks like a fun project!
Hi Steve! Yes, our edge-banding accepted the stain very well. We alternate between Edgemate and Edge Supply brands–both stain great for us!
This turned out so cute! We are currently making a list of home projects we want to do for the summer here in Irmo & will have to add this to the list. Hopefully we can find time to do some kitchen cabinet painting too. Thanks so much for sharing!!!