Make a Decorative Shelf in 10 Steps Make a Decorative Shelf in 10 Steps

What You'll Need
Timber for the shelf
Shelf brackets
Wall plugs or cavity fittings
Screw driver
Fine glass paper
Paint and/or varnish
Paint brush

A decorative shelf can be as intricate or as simple as you want. For some, the decoration is on the brack that holds up the shelf, while others may prefer combining it witht he visible edge of the shelf.

Step 1 – Location of Shelf

Look at the area you want to install the shelf and decide the ideal position for it. From this you will be able to work out the best length and how many shelf brackets you will need.

Step 2 – Check the Wall

Check to see if the wall you will be attaching the shelf to is a solid wall or a cavity wall.

Step 3 – Shape the Shelf

The shelf timber should be at least 1/2 inch thick. One inch is better if you are expecting to put heavy items on it or just want it to look more solid. Use the router to put a nice decorative edge on the timber.

Step 4 – Check the Location for the Brackets

For a wood decorative shelf to look evenly balanced it should be supported by evenly spaced brackets. Mark the height that you want the shelf to be at and then draw a horizontal line the length of the shelf.

Step 5 – Solid Walls

If the wall is solid you can set the brackets at the best distances without worrying.

Step 6 – Cavity Walls

If the wall is a cavity wall you need to make sure that the brackets can be placed so that they will be evenly distributed along the shelf. For example, a 3 foot long shelf will need to have a bracket within 4 to 6 inches of each end.

Step 7 – Attach the Brackets to the Wall

Using the horizontal line you drew as a guide place the brackets against the line and mark the positions of the screw holes. Depending on the wall, drill holes for the cavity fittings or wall plugs. Fit the brackets to the wall.

Step 8 – Check the Horizontal

Place the shelf on the brackets and check that it is horizontal.

Step 9 – Paint or Varnish

To finish off the shelf paint it or varnish it to fit in with the décor of the room. Use a fine glass paper to smooth down the timber to a satin smooth finish. Pay particular attention to the ends. Apply the paint or varnish in thin coats. Let each coat dry and rub down with fine glass paper before applying the next coat.

Step 10 – Fit the Shelf

When the shelf is finished place it back on the brackets and mark out the screw holes necessary to attach the shelf to the brackets. Put at least one screw into each bracket.


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