Thursday’s Things To Try – DIY Shelves

For our second installment of Thursday’s Things To Try (check out Karrin’s first one here), I thought I would share a little DIY project that my husband and I tackled a few weeks ago. We don’t have a lot of counter space in our kitchen, so I’ve been wanting to put up some shelves to clear the area and display some of our better looking kitchen accessories. I was drawn to the look of this shelf, but wasn’t so keen on spending that kind of money on something so simple. So we made our own version! Unfortunately I did not think ahead to document the entire process, but it’s pretty simple to get with just the finished pictures.



  • Three 1″x12″ boards, 20″-36″ in length (see below directions for choosing length) – we used yellow pine simply because that is what we used for our table bench, so we knew they would match once stained with the leftover stain we had from that project
  • Sandpaper or sander
  • Wood stain
  • Stain brush
  • 6 metal L-brackets
  • Screws for the wall (size and number will depend on your brackets)
  • Screws for the wood (size and number will depend on your brackets and wood thickness)
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • Level


  1. On the wall you want to install the shelves, use your stud finder to find two studs, which is where you will want to place the brackets. Mark those spots with a pencil. Studs are 16″ or 24″ apart (newer places 16″, older 24″). If they are 16″ apart, your shelves should be somewhere around 2o” or 36″ in length, and if the studs are 24″ your shelves should be around 28″ long. This will allow for a few inches of overhang on both ends of the shelves over the brackets, while ensuring you will hit the studs. Our studs our 16″ apart, so we used 36″ boards spanned across three studs.
  2. Once you’ve decided on a length, hop on over to your local hardware store and gather your supplies. The store can cut your boards to length if you don’t have the tools to do it at home. Make sure the length of the screws for holding the brackets to the wood are only about half the thickness of the wood so they don’t cause splitting later.
  3. In an outdoor area, sand down the shelves, stain, and allow to dry.
  4. While your boards dry, figure out where on the walls you want to place your shelves in terms of height. I wanted the middle shelf to be at about eye level. I marked where those brackets would be first. From there, I marked the bottom and top shelf placement based on the amount of space I wanted between them (11.5″ for ours).
  5. From here you can do one of two things, depending on the length of your level. If you have a long level, you can install the brackets into the wall with your drill and screws, using the level to make sure they are even from left to right. You can then screw the dried boards directly onto the brackets, using your measuring tape to make sure everything is centered. If you have a shorter level, like we do, you will want to do the opposite but it is a two person job. Using your measuring tape, mark the bracket placement spots onto your boards based on the space between studs. Screw the brackets to the wood, making sure the brackets are flush against one side of the board (pay attention to which sides of the boards you want facing out!). Next, one person will hold the shelf against the wall while the other person puts in one screw in one of the brackets. Place the level on the shelf, straighten it out, and place a second screw on the other side. Fill in the rest of the screw spots to secure to the wall. Repeat with the remaining shelves.




And that’s it! Easy, inexpensive, and simple to make your own (for example, you could paint with a color instead of just staining, etc).

I think I need to cluster some of the stuff on the top shelf and add in some framed pictures. And eventually I would like to take the coffee stuff off the bottom shelf and move it to another location so that I can add in more plants, etc. Guess we will have to tackle some sort of buffet table next 🙂

Give it a try!





  1. This is now my next project for my kitchen. I have a bonsai plant and bowls that we’re no longer using. I never thought that I can use them as an artwork in my kitchen.

  2. I LOVE this post. Btw one of my favorite candles is from Anthropologie similar to the one in your last picture in the Avocado & Mint scent!

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