Today we’re coming at you with what might be one of the easiest DIYs we’ve ever done. Not only is this tutorial extremely easy, but it’s practical too. Who doesn’t need more shelves and storage??
After weeks of going back and forth on what kind of shelving we wanted in our living room, we finally decided on thin wood shelves with metal brackets. I searched the internet and was shocked at the prices of such simple shelves. I stumbled upon some mix and match shelving at World Market and it was going to cost between $40-100 for ONE shelf.
Um no. No one has money for that. So we decided DIY was once again the best way to go. And once we completed the project, we realized DIY was the no-brainer. It’s so simple, doesn’t take much time, and saves so much money!
Let’s start DIYing!
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- Miter or circular saw (or you can have Home Depot cuts the boards for you)
- Optional: Electric sander
- Stud finder
What You’ll Need
How to make easy DIY shelves
Step 1: determine your shelf size.
We chose 1×8 boards because I wanted a thin, clean look and 8″ was wide enough to fit my decor, but doesn’t stick out too much. We cut our shelves to be 34″ long. If you choose 2″ boards, the edges will be rounded. You can cut a little off each side to make the edges and corners square, but it will make your shelves slightly less deep. If you are going to use your shelves for dishes, I would recommend at least 10″ deep to give you room to fit a plate. But whatever size you decide, make sure you select brackets that will work for that size.
Step 2: cut your shelves
STEP 3: sand, stain, and seal
Stain your boards whatever color you prefer. We used Dark Walnut. I like a deep color, so I brush the stain on with a paintbrush, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then wipe it off with a rag. If you prefer a lighter color, you can simply wipe the stain on with a rag and then wipe it right off.
Seal your shelves with polyurethane, following the instructions on the can.
Step 4: determine spacing
While your boards are drying, determine where you want to hang your shelves. Mark the location and studs with a pencil. We placed our shelves 15″ from one another.
Determine where you want to place your brackets. We strategically positioned our brackets so that they would all drill into studs. That ended up being 8.75″ from each end. If drilling into studs won’t accomplish the look that you were hoping for, you can use drywall anchors.
step 5: attach brackets to shelves
Drill your brackets into your shelves. You want the bracket to be flush with the back edge of your shelf, so you can place another shelf or a piece of scrap wood up against the back of the shelf to mimic the 90-degree angle of the wall. If you have multiple shelves, line the first shelf that you attached brackets to against a new shelf. Mark the location of the brackets on the new shelf so that they all align. You can also measure, but measuring precisely is hard 😉
Step 6: attach the brackets to the wall
Drill your brackets into your wall. Place the level on your shelf to make sure that it is level when you are drilling it in. If you are drilling into studs, no additional steps are required. If you are using drywall anchors, make sure to follow the instructions on the package.
step 7: style your shelves and enjoy!
Want even more DIY shelf ideas? Check out our roundup of over 40+ DIY shelf ideas!