I’m super excited about the new shelves in my home! There were some minor hiccups along the way, (isn’t that how it usually is with DIY… you experiment, try new things?) even with the “ack” moments, I’m really happy with the way it all turned out. This is how it went down…or up?…
I tried to make my own stain using the steel wool method. Notice the word tried? I want to give this DIY stain another go. I believe my mistake was letting this mixture sit too long. Thus the strong rust color rather than the weathered gray I was going for.
1. Fine steel wool in a glass jar 2. Pour white vinegar to cover steel wool (about 2 cups) 3. Let sit for a few days 4. Stain is made (again, I think I let mine sit too long)
These brackets are from Ikea. I bought them about 10 years ago. They were light pine, lovely as is, but I wanted a weathered look. The second bracket from the left was after one coat and the third bracket was after a second coat. Neither color was anywhere near the weathered gray I was going for.
I found the stain didn’t go on evenly even though I applied it evenly. Perhaps it was because I didn’t use a wood conditioner.
I had hoped with a third coat the color would even out somewhat (and hoping the color would gray out as they dried…), but that was not the case. As I mentioned above, the color came out a “rust” color instead of the weathered gray I was hoping to achieve. At this point I was not in a full-blown panic, but more like “ack”! I’d been waiting for the right time and place to use these and now I’ve ruined them! What do I do now?
So… I got out my trusty DeWALT palm sander and went at the brackets. I didn’t sand them down to bare wood as I still wanted the weathered look and decided a whitewashed technique could be just what these brackets needed. You can see the whitewashed technique here.
I wanted to mention how I hang stuff on my walls. TAPE. I use tape to “see” what the finished look will look like. You will see in future posts that the artwork is hung different from what is taped here (hence the beauty of using tape. See it before the nails go in.) I also changed the color of the walls in this room. The clock stayed in the same spot and so did the shelves. 🙂 I moved the cat house you see in the corner of the picture to the hall upstairs. I’ve noticed the cats scratch at it way more up there and it seems to be a great spot for them to go to when they need some quiet time. (see the cat post here) The lamp was moved to another room. You can see the lamp shade project here. Following At Koko’s Place you will see that things rarely stay in the same place for long!
The boards I used for the shelves used to be one of two huge bookcases. My awesome husband took them apart for me and the boards sat in the garage where they awaited what their new life would be. Picture them stained the darkest brown color you see here. I sanded them, leaving both the natural wood color and some of the brown stain, knowing I would whitewash the boards using the technique I did on the dresser turned desk here.
In making the bookcases, I countersunk screws… In making shelves, I didn’t want them to show. I then cut four boards down to 40 1/2 inches long using my DeWALT jig saw and then sanded the edges.
Patch away I did. There was a lot of patching to do! After patching, I sanded it all flat.
Dark gray walls now! The rack of plants I move around to follow the sun. And spoiled pets…the reason we bought sofas. 😉
Taped the walls again after the new color went on. Frog tape was used this time instead of Scotch Blue. The headlamp was because I decided to hang the shelves around midnight and I didn’t have adequate lighting in the room at the time. What? I know I’m not the only one that does projects at odd hours 😉
I used the level as I taped the lines. It made the job easier for me. I didn’t have studs where I needed them to be, so I used wall anchors. Best invention. See them in this project here.
Four down, four to go!
Even though I pre-leveled, I still would check the level as I went along. I also made sure the brackets were in a straight line.
All done! Now to add the boards.
*Insert happy squeal here!
Plants bought from Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, and Costco. Owl from TJMaxx. Buddha, can’t remember, I’ve had him for a long time.
I lived with the blue, then the green tapes for a bit. Over the course of a few weeks, I moved the tapes from three shelves to four and played with the spacing. I tried to picture what I would have on the shelves and how tall I envisioned the plants to grow. Since I love greenery, I knew I wanted more space to put them so that was why I added the fourth shelf. And I am happy I did!
Thank you so much for reading. As always, I appreciate YOU! Have a beautiful day!
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.)
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! 😉
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!
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.
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.
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