I have been so excited to share this tutorial with you. Out of all the elements in my new office I have received the most emails about these shelves.
When you have a small space the smartest thing you can do is go vertical. I was NOT taking advantage of the wall space in the way my office was done before. I knew I wanted shelving but I did not want a giant wall of built in shelves because I thought it would feel too heavy and would make the space seem smaller. I love the openness of these floating shelves!
I have mentioned in the past that I think that a small budget forces you to be creative. That was definitely the case with these shelves. My original design called for new wood that would have been painted cream to match the cabinets below. But when all was said and done the budget didn’t allow for that. I have a large pile of old fence pickets in the backyard I got for another project so I used some of those. Free was definitely in my budget. I am happier with these shelves than I would have been if I had bought new wood :)
Remember when I revealed my office and I said that my shelves had a secret????
Eeeeek! They are also drawers!!!!!! I love it :) When I was brainstorming for ways to add much needed storage to this space I thought, why not this? Granted the drawers are only 2 inches deep, but they are perfect for paper! Anything else would probably be too heavy anyway. Right now they are filling up fast with my kids artwork and school work that I will one day put into scrapbooks, and with things I am too lazy to file away.
Alright, on to the tutorial!!!
*Reclaimed wood (I used old fence slats)
*1×2 and 2×3 boards
I decided how long I wanted the shelves to be and then measured and cut the wood pickets to that length. There would be 6 shelves total and it took 4 boards for the top and 4 boards for the bottom so I cut (48) 30 inch boards. Then I cut 12 boards for the sides. After I did that I needed to cut the enda at an angle (mitered cut). I used the miter saw and cut at a 45 degree angle. I swear I had my husband take a picture of me cutting at an angle but I couldn’t find it in my computer file. Sorry about that. If you look closely to the picture you can see the angled ends.
For the side pieces, the long side needed to be cut at an angle, not the end. I sent my hubby to the neighbors to use their table saw while I was doing the other cuts. (Dear Santa, I need a table saw…..) You can see the smaller side pieces in the picture too.
When I talked about building the bench that is on my office, I mentioned that picking out smooth, straight wood was critical to building furniture. Well, new fence pickets are not straight and smooth let alone OLD ones. So I broke that rule. And it made it a little more challenging when it came time to construct. But the end result was totally worth it!
It was kind of like putting a puzzle together. I placed different pieces together and saw what worked the best. Sometimes I had to flip one over or switch it out.
Then I glued and nailed the pieces together.
What you will have when you get done with that step is a long rectangular tube. You will have sides and a top and bottom. The next step is to mount some boards to your wall.
These boards will be the way you attach the shelves to the wall. I used 2×3 boards. I measured where I wanted them to be, marked it with pencil, and then I used my level to draw straight line. I drilled a pilot hole ( a hole drilled through the board that is smaller around than the screw) through the 2×3 before screwing them to the wall. I used 5 inch screws.Make sure they are level.
I have lath and plaster walls since my house was built in 1949, but if you have a newer home make sure you look for studs.
Then you will take the shelf and slide it onto the 2×3 board. Usually when I build floating shelves with new wood they are a perfect fit and are nice and snug. But these old boards were a different story. Some were too snug, some were a little loose, and some were way, way loose. Some boards bowed up and some bowed down. I just rolled with it. I cut strips of thin plywood and shoved them under the 2×3. You can see it where the red arrow is in the picture. Then when it was some what snug, I screwed screws through the top of the shelf down into the 2×3. I did about 5 screws across the top and then one screw in each side.
As far as the drawer construction went, I waited until the shelf was built so I could get an accurate measurement. I used thin plywood for the bottom and 1×2 for the sides. I just nailed them together (with a little glue).
They are very basic. No fancy sliding hardware to make them glide in and out. But they work well and I think it adds to the rustic-ness (yes spellcheck, that is a word!).
Thanks for letting me share this with you! As always, if you have any questions just email me :)