How to Build Wooden Utility Shelves

kitchen wall with wooden shelves on either side of a stove
  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Wood putty
Four 2 inch finishing nails
Polyurethane finish or clear water base
Fine sandpaper
2 loop hangers
Two screws or nails for the wall
Acrylic and prime paint for a clear and solid color finish

Utility shelves, as their name implies, have many uses. Installed intelligently, they can save space in any room. You can build or buy shelves in metal, plastic or wood. Here are the steps on how to build wooden utility shelves.

Step 1 - Prepare the Shelving Pieces

Purchase a piece of wood that is 25 inches long, six inches wide, and two inches thick. Use a ruler and pencil to mark 20x5 inches off for the shelf. There will be a 5X1 inch segment left over. Cut this smaller wood into two pieces for the brackets.

Draw a one-inch, 45 degree angle diagonal line on each end of the smaller pieces. Start the line from one corner towards its adjacent side. Make sure that the two diagonal lines are running the opposite direction. Saw the diagonal line. Make the wood pieces smoother by sanding them out.

Step 2 - Prepare Installation of the Shelf and Brackets

Mark the bottom and top part of the shelf. There must be two inches from each end. Hammer two nails on the marked spots until their tips appear underneath. Glue the brackets on the shelf’s underside. Let the glue dry thoroughly. Continue to hammer the nails until they are buried enough to connect the wooden parts.

Step 3 - Install the Shelf

Attach a hanger for the brackets. Find wall studs for attaching the hanger. The studs must be approximately 16 inches apart. Use nails in hanging the shelf. Utilize a carpenter’s level to ensure that one side of the shelf is leveled when hanged. Use a small sized plain rubber ball if you don’t have a carpenter’s level.

Mark the shelf’s other side if the rolling of the ball stops or if its liquid stops moving. Position a nail and finish hanging the shelf. Hammer the nails on each end of the brackets to secure the shelf. Apply wood glue on the shelf wood to secure it on the wall. Wait until the glue is dry enough.

Step 4 - Paint the Shelf

Apply a coat of white primer on the installed shelf. Let it dry thoroughly. Brush two or more paint coats. Ensure that the previous coat is completely dry before applying another coat. Follow the directions of the paint manufacturer in applying a clear finish over the paint.

Step 5 - Decorate the Finished Shelf

Decorate it with a fabric piece. A piece of gingham six inches wide and 32 inches long should be perfect. Fold down the top part by one-inch before hemming, and then fold up the bottom part by one inch before hemming. Glue the finished material piece into the shelf’s outer edges.