Tiny Shelves

I really like to build things. Like, a piece of wood and a saw and a screwdriver kind of building. It makes me feel all “hear me roar” in a Rosie the Riveter kind of way (not a power-hungry Lannister kind of way). I once took an old set of shelves, deconstructed them, cut them up, and reassembled them into a different set of shelves (yes I know that sounds weird).
This project is not nearly so hardcore as that, but it’s still pretty satisfying. I wanted a way to display and store some things in my bathroom, and I couldn’t find anything suitable at the stores. Also it’s a lot more fun to make it.

I didn’t take an “ingredients” picture this time, but here’s the list of what I used:
– narrow wooden boards, cut to size
– hot glue sticks and gun
– Gorilla glue
– small metal brackets with screws
– paint

I already had most of the supplies I needed for this project. The boards were originally for a different project that didn’t pan out. The paint is from a furniture refinishing project I did last year. The hot glue and gorilla glue are always good to have around. The only thing I bought specifically for this was the little brackets!

The first hurdle I had to jump over was creating a “lip” on the edge of the shelves to prevent things from falling off. This is especially important for delicate objects or on a wall that may shake (like next to a door that can slam). I think a skinny dowel rod could also serve this purpose, but I decided to go free-form and create the lip with hot glue.

Just get it nice and hot and begin applying the glue, as close to the edge of the wood as possible. I use a mini gun, so the glue is pretty small. I did one pass, let it cool, and then stacked another line of glue on top of the first. If you use a standard glue gun, you may only need one line.

Now it’s time to break out the hardware. These brackets were like a dollar a packet at Walmart. I like Gorilla glue better than any of its competitors, but you can make your own choice there.

Figure out the placement of your brackets. Since this wood is so narrow and bendy, I definitely needed to make sure this thing was securely supported. When you’ve got the placement, apply a small amount of Gorilla glue to the bracket and press it firmly into place. Hold for a few moments. When it’s secure, move on to the next and repeat until all your brackets are placed.

Let them sit, unbothered, for a while, to make sure they’re secure.

I wanted to make double-sure that the brackets were strong, so I got out the hot glue again. I filled in the screw-hole and went around the edge of each bracket.

Now it’s time for paint. I went with a medium-dark grey, but of course you can choose any color your heart desires. I painted the glue, the wood, everything.

Once they’re dry, all you have to do is attach them to the wall! The brackets should have come with screws, so go to it. NOTE: you need to take care that you don’t place anything very heavy on these shelves. I’ve built them strong enough to hold quite a bit of weight, but the drywall can’t handle it. If you ARE going to load your shelves up, get some wall anchors and do it right.

I really think these turned out good. They serve exactly the purpose I wanted them to serve, and look cute in my bathroom. I could have found or made a “traditional” nail polish shelf, of course, but I needed these to be a bit more multipurpose. I’ve got that art print, for example. These bottles on the shelf by itself were only there for the photo – now I’ve got another print there. I have also been known to prop my Kindle Fire up there so I can listen to Pandora while I clean.

I have a vague desire to drape some lace or something from them, partly to mask the brackets. If I were making these again, I’d invert it so that the brackets were attached to the bottom, but extended UP, so the contents of the shelf would hide them. Live and learn, people. 🙂

Where would you put them? They’d be great for holding collections of small things, like maybe some Matchbox cars or Lego minifigs. Are you afraid of power tools? I challenge you to get them out and get brave. 🙂