DIY Wood Shelves

How to build wall shelves?

With all the books we have accumulated over the years we needed to upgrade our bookshelves.  After moving to a smaller home I knew that limited space was going to be my challenge. My first choice was to go to Ikea and buy two of their Billy bookcases. They were the perfect measurement for the space I had chosen to make my library. But after the pandemic hit our city, a long trip to Ikea did not seem ideal.

With an unemployed handyman at home I had to take the opportunity before the pile of books I had on the floor dropped on top of my kids. First thing I did was jump on Pinterest to find an idea of what I could make and pin it to my DIY board. I decided to follow an idea from ADaesthetic. Their DIY library shelving turned out super amazing and it looked big and sturdy enough.

Considering I had a much smaller space to work with, I follow most of their instructions but had to make some changes. It was very easy and we were able to put it all together in one day. That same night I was able to organize all of my books on the shelf.

Materials used

  • 4 2x12x10 boards from a local lumber place $10 each
  • 12 shelf brackets from Home Depot (they only had white) $5.47 each
  • 2 can of dark brown spray paint (to paint the white brackets) $3.98 each
  • 2 can of special walnut wood stain $6.98
  • 2 flat brushes $4.57 each
  • 24 long screw to reinforce brackets from wall studs (we had those at home)

The total cost of all the material we used was about $137 plus taxes. At that time I realized it would have been cheaper to purchase the Ikea bookshelves. But this project seem promising and with better material quality.

I had to buy the spray paint because our local Home Depot did not have enough shelf brackets of the same color. I also have a slight fear of shelves falling (yes I had a bad experience before) so I asked my handyman to use bigger screws to make sure those shelves weren’t coming down.

Getting started!

As soon as we got home with the materials, the first thing we did was cut and sand all of the wood boards. Yes I realize how lucky I am to have a handyman who owns all of those fancy electric tools (and now I know how to use an electric sander). While I was sanding the wood boards my helper (wink) painted the twelve white shelf bracket with the brown spray paint.

After sanding all of the board I proceeded to stain them one by one. Because I had never use a wood stain before, I had no idea you’re suppose to stir it before using it. It wasn’t until I was almost done with the second board that I realized the paint was sitting at the bottom of the can. It took me a while but I was able to stain all the boards correctly.

It was a very hot and sunny day so while we went inside the house to make lunch and take a brake from the heat, all the paint dried really fast. Later that evening I brought all the materials into my small bedroom and started to install the shelves.

This is where I took a step back and let my husband do the work. All I said was “I want it from here to here, 15 inches in between each shelf,  3 brackets per shelf, and it needs to be symmetrical.”  All I know is there was a lot of measuring and leveling done before he even pulled out the drill.

One by one starting from the top, all the shelves were put together making my library corner come to life. I was very impresses about how much space I had in the end. I have to admit that I was a little afraid because the wood was very heavy. Plus all the weight of the books I was going to put in them. So yes my fear of falling shelves kicked in, but after seeing how the brackets were installed to the studs with heavy duty screws it felt safe.

That same night I started organizing all of our books and even added some extra decorations. Now we have a beautiful looking library perfect for our small space.

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