DIY Shelves Made Easy


Custom built is the way to go when you have an odd corner. I tried using a metal shelf and various other “shelves”, yet none really worked. So leaving me with no choice…I had to break out the tools! Keep in mind, if I can you can! Here we go…


This is what I had in my arsenal: Needle nose plier, counter sink drill bit, drill, level, pencil, hammer, nail punch, tape measure, stud finder. (Not shown; 1/16th drill bit, 1 1/2″ screws, 1 1/2″ finishing nails.)

Lugging this guy up two flights of stairs wasn't easy. 47 pounds of awkwardness!

Compressor. Lugging this guy up two flights of stairs wasn’t easy. 47 pounds of awkwardness!


Nail gun; This needs to be hooked up to the air compressor (pic above) to work. I wasn’t sure if I needed this to help me hold the wood as it was just me building this. I ended up not needing it.


Here’s the corner of my frustration! Teehee. Glass-eyed tree frog (on the left) painted by me for my son when he was 3. That was forever ago! Like two decades! πŸ˜‰


I measured the space and cut the wood. Cleats are 1×1’s, front facing pieces are 1×2’s and the shelf itself are 3/4″ plywood. I bought furniture grade as I wanted pretty wood and very straight pieces to work with. Using a chop saw I cut the cleats and facing pieces. For the plywood I used a skill saw. You can ask a person at your local wood store to cut them for you. Some places charge per cut, but some do it out of the goodness of their hearts!


Using the stud finder, look for a stud. As you can see, my stud finder lies! No worries though, it will be covered by the cleat.


Eureka, I found two studs!


I attached the back cleat first. Double/triple checking the level. Then I attached the side cleats.


First shelf done. Checking the level.


As I finished each “cleat” section I added the shelf board so I could accurately measure the space I wanted in between each shelf.


The ladder needed to come into play for the top two shelves. Being short has its downfalls, but it’s a good thing I can climb like a monkey!


Almost done!


The finishing front pieces. (Check out the Garmin Vivosmart HR i’m wearing. Yes, there will be a review on this.)


I didn’t want to risk splitting the wood, so I predrilled tiny holes using 1/16th drill bit.

IMG_7823 (1)

Carefully I nailed finishing nails across. Four nails along each piece. Using the nail punch, tap each nail in about a millimeter. Fill with wood putty to disguise the hole! Tip: You can make a wood filler using wood glue and fine sawdust!


All done. You can stain and seal using poly urethane. I like the natural look so I won’t be staining this.

Recap in video below…

All done! Insert happy dance here *


This would be great for folded sweaters, jeans, extra blankets, pillows, books, etc.


I just added a quilt to finish off the seating area.

Now this awkward space is a pretty space. I may sneak into my sons room to read in this “now” adorable nook! The view from that window is incredible!

Make spaces work for you. If you can’t find just the right piece to make it work…don’t be afraid to build it! If I can, you can. I’m not a pro by any means, but I like to make things, so I try.

I love all your comments. You make my day and I very much appreciate all your “likes” and “follows” and “shares”.

Be well and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Cheers, Koko

124 thoughts on “DIY Shelves Made Easy

  1. I’m just waiting to one day see the following post by you, “DIY Mansion Construction!” I am convinced there is no end to your creative talents.:-)
    Those shelves look marvelous.

    • Hahaha Jonathan, I hope you caught the post in the revised version. I am still not very good at this and I found I messed up and frantically went back in to fix it! Thank you for your continued support. It keeps me going thinking, “I can!” Take care of yourself. Happy New Year! Koko πŸ™‚

    • Tara, it’s comments like this that make me smile. It really is easy. I am totally serious when I say, “If I can, you can!” Just measure twice, cut once! I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way over the years, but perhaps they aren’t mistakes if I learn from them! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. Take care Tara and I hope the New Year is already looking bright for YOU! Hugs, Koko

      • You’re totally right about that one. I prefer to call mistakes lessons, cause they are indeed to learn from. I hope you have a wonderful 2016 yourself already either. I really enjoy your posts, hope we see lots of them this year again! Xxx Tara

      • It’s awesome comments like yours that help me to keep going. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me! Be well Tara. Have a lovely day. πŸ™‚

    • Yay! πŸ™‚ I was thinking a bit ago, no matter where i’ve moved, I’ve always encountered “odd” spaces. Filling the space with pre-bought furniture never works quite right. Building, just makes sense and it really gives it a nice custom look! I’m thrilled you stopped by. THANK YOU! Have a gorgeous day! πŸ™‚

  2. Is there no end to your talent and creativity?

    I’ll answer that…

    Apparently NOT!!!!

    Once again, Bravo!!

    I am sure you help people become less intimidated to try all kinds of DIY projects!

    Keep up the great work!

    I’m always waiting with anticipation to see what you will be doing next.

    Peace to you and yours.✌🏻️

    • Where there’s a problem, I try and find a solution. I keep trying and learning and trying some more. No secrets, just doing. If I can, you can! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to comment. Have an awesome day! Koko πŸ™‚

  3. This just looks so awesome. The last time I tried DIY I got intimidated by the electric drill which was nearly as big as me so I ended up using a hand drill which was rubbish so I had to give up. You make it look so simple, may just have to try again. Thanks for sharing

    • Oh please do give it another try. The drill I use now is small. I just bought it. I LOVE it! I really do love it. It fits in my small hands and you can change the torque in it. It has made making things more fun! If your tools are not that good or they don’t “fit” you right, making things are not as fun. Thank you for the sweet compliment. I have to admit, I’ve walked by my sons room and give the shelf just one more peek! Teehee! Have a lovely day, Koko πŸ™‚

  4. Whoa. Those look really nice! That is also an amazing frog for a 3-year old, or any-year old. We want to have a “secret” room with some shelves like yours. Maybe one day, you’ll design some “secret” spaces and we won’t have to think πŸ™‚

    • Hahahaha! I’d love to do that for you! Secret spaces is so cool like the old medieval castles have! I really like the extra storage space and it does look so nice in person too! That spot really gave me trouble for many years. Now I can check that off my list of things that need doing/fixing. I hope you had a great new year and it’s off to a great start! πŸ™‚

    • Awe, thank you! It was that “nagging” thing I needed to do for a long time. So glad it’s finished and I can stop thinking about what to do with it! Hahaha. Hope you have an awesome day! Take care. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! That means a lot coming from a woodworker! Many of the walls in my home are dark gray or shades of it. I just mix the dark gray with some white. It’s great to have you here Scott! Take care!

    • I have had projects where the walk looked like I was trying to make a peg board! Hahaha. This build went very well. I think I got lucky! πŸ˜‰ thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again. Be well and happy New Year! Koko

  5. You did it again, Koko! And it looks really pretty. No wonder you sneak in to read there πŸ™‚ I wish you a wonderful year with good health and lots of happy moments. XX

    • It came out better than I expected considering the walls aren’t exactly square! The extra storage is nice and no more “looking” for what piece of furniture would go there! A great way to start 2016! Less stressed! Hahaha. Good health and happiness moments! I will toast to that! I wish it for you too! Hugs! Koko

    • Thank you so much for for your sweet comment. Oh, I might take that business sewing class you linked in a blog post! Thank you so much for that. Sounds so fun! πŸ™‚ Hope to see you hear again!

  6. Oh my god I’m in love with your corner. I just want to fill the shelves with books, fill myself up a cup of tea and settle in for a long read. I wish I could do stuff like this but not while I’m in an apartment unfortunately…

  7. I felt accomplished putting together an Ikea unit with an Allen key this is altogether scary. You really are fab at DIY a true inspiration.
    I remember using my Dads drill once for an art project , I wanted to drill small holes into a space scene I made out of papier-mache to insert cocktail sticks to glue Barbie shoes onto the end! I helped myself to some of my brothers astronaut tiny figures to glue on and some of his tiny light sabres he got free in cereal boxes to add a bit of colour, I then wrapped wool all around the sticks, I loved it, he still hasn’t forgiven me. he he

    • Ahahahaha! I love your story Charlotte! You are so creative! You should feel accomplished putting together things. At the end of the day, you have a finished piece, something you can be proud of! I hope your New Years was awesome and you are off to an amazing year! Stay warm! Take care Charlotte! Hugs, Koko πŸ™‚

  8. I love shelves on the wall! I wish I am crafty enuv to make one!
    I’ll consider myself lucky if I can put a photo up on the wall without hammering my own fingers! XD

    • Hahaha. Don’t hammer your fingers! You need them to draw! Bali is beautiful. And as far as publishing look into self publish. Nice to see you here Hari. I hope you get better internet service! πŸ™‚

  9. Your project turned out Great!
    One hint on wall stud locating I use in my trade {electrician of 45+ yrs} tap on the wall with your knuckle or rubber end of the hammer, then use the small nail to find the center of it. If built to code studs will always be spaced at16″ to centers for the next one. πŸ˜‰

    • I’ve found the studs in my house are not always at 16″! Hahaha. Yes, great tip. The wall tap had been my go to since I was little…but this “handy” stud finder tool was supposed to make the job easier…I think “old school” method is much-much better! You would know! I wish I knew an electrician! I have so many projects that I could use the help of one! πŸ˜‰ Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again. Have a wonderful day! Koko:)

    • Okay! I’ll be right over…well, after the snow storm blows over! Hahaha…so far six inches and growing. I know you could do this build. I don’t build anything complicated as it’s just me doing the build and I am not a pro carpenter! But I do appreciate your confidence in me to build yours! Teehee. Have a glorious day! I am so enjoying the falling snow and hot Vietnamese coffee in hand. Hugs to you! πŸ™‚

  10. Oh My God ! You have made the whole shelf making process so easy and we can add so many things to it according to our taste and style. I am definitely going to try it. Loved it.

    • I hope I make it look easy and I hope I explain it so anyone can do it! If you get a chance to do this, do it! It does give relief to areas that are congested! I’ve always said, “An organized space is a happy space.” Take care of yourself. Hugs! Koko:)

    • Haha! You are sweet to say so. DIY just saves a lot of money! I try…yep mess ups happens, but all in all, it’s about learning and doing and in the end…getting it done! I appreciate you here. Thank you so much for kindly commenting. Have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚

      • You’re right, not only is DIY saving you money! Its sooooo therapeutic, fun and let’s your creative side just POP! You have a wonderful day too x

  11. Very nice! They look great. It can always be a hassle trying to find shelving to fit awkward spaces like this. It’s so simple to build some with a few tools. Love seeing your posts! -Jason

    • Thank you Jason, it means a lot to hear! I am so thrilled to finish it. It really enhances the space. I hope that this shows anyone can do it and to not be afraid to try. The wood wasn’t cheap but I saved a lot not having it custom built by someone else. I also got exactly what I wanted. Hope you are doing well. Happy new year!!!!

    • Thank you so much for saying so Johanne! I dreamt about it for so long. I have to pinch myself every time I see it, because I can’t believe I finally got it done. So much in life kept getting in the way. But it’s done and I’m happy. Checked that one off my list and into the 698 more projects to go! Hahaha. I appreciate you popping in. Means a lot. Take care and have a wonderful weekend. Cheers, Koko

    • Thank you Liz for coming by and kindly commenting. I love the extra storage it gives. As I was putting blankets and pillows and …. I was like wow, and there’s more space! Take care Liz! Cheers, Koko:)

    • Thank you so much Liam. I’m happy to hear you have gotten out the tools and doing work yourself! Nice feeling right? I’m loving what you are doing to your home. And you sound happy! I’m thrilled for you! Take care. πŸ™‚

    • Please don’t be intimidated. I hope I write it in a way that anyone can do it. I am self taught. Really when I say, “If I can, you can”, I believe that! You are so sweet to stop by and comment. I hope you have a lovely rest of your Sunday. πŸ™‚

    • Yay! I hope I made the instructions clear enough. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I’m not an expert, but I have some amateur opinions. Teehee! Thank you for stopping by and reading. Take care Doll! πŸ™‚

    • Hahahaha! This project came out perfectly leveled. I was super stoked about that! The key was not being in a rush. Blasted music and off I went. Thank you for stopping by. Take care and have an awesome weekend! πŸ™‚

    • Glad you like the colors. That’s the hardest for me as the colors I like tend to go with feeling. Sometimes I want bright and crazy and other times soothing and mellow. I love gray colors as they can be a neutral and I can add pops of color if I want. πŸ™‚ Thank you for checking the blog out. I appreciate that! Have a great day!

  12. I have a closet that I have been wanting to do this in for years, but I never thought I could pull it off., These are great instructions.

    • Hahahaha! I had to keep in mind when building the shelves that there is a cat that likes to climb! Thank you for the awesome comment. Made my day! Hope to see you back here again. Peace, Koko πŸ™‚

  13. Pingback: Surfboard Storage | atkokosplace

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