How to Build a Single Kitchen Shelf

A single kitchen shelf is useful for many things, and if space is at a premium, is perfect for that extra bit of storage for spices, dishtowels or kitchen implements. To attach the shelf, you can use any type of L-brackets, including metal, plastic or wood, whichever goes best with your décor. You can build the shelf to any size you want, so that it is customized, unlike the premade shelves you can buy in a big box store.

Measuring tape
Stud finder
Furniture screws
Long screws – the length depends on the thickness of the L-brackets
Medium-grit sandpaper
Fine-grit sandpaper
Paint brushes or old rags
Router (optional)
Screwdriver or drill with screwdriver bit
Paint (optional)
Stain (optional)
Polyurethane (optional)

STEP 1: Locate studs in the shelf area, using the stud finder. Mark the wall where the studs are. This is the location where you will have to put the L-brackets if you want a sturdy shelf that will not fall off the wall. If the studs are not in a convenient place, you will need to purchase heavy-duty wall hangers. Try to find at least one stud if you are using the shelf for heavier kitchen implements. Measure the length of the area for your shelf. If the area is 10 inches and you want a 2-inch space on either side of the shelf, the shelf will be 6 inches. Write down the length of the shelf.

STEP 2: Determine the width of the shelf. If you want to store kitchen implements, you need a wider shelf. Measure the area to determine the maximum depth of the shelf. Write down the measurement if you need the shelf to be as deep as the maximum. If you are building a spice shelf, you only need three to four inches. Write down the measurement you need.

STEP 3: Cut the board for the shelf to the measurements you chose. If you want to give a decorative cut to the sides, router the sides with the appropriate bit. The instructions for your router should show the patterns for each bit that came with the router. Alternatively, you can purchase separate bits at a home improvement store for a specific cut. Sand the edges of the board with the medium-grit sandpaper to get any splinters or large gouges out of the shelf.

STEP 4: Sand the entire shelf with the fine-grit sandpaper until it is completely smooth. If you purchased wood L-brackets, sand the L-brackets until they are smooth, if needed. Brush all the sawdust from the shelf pieces. Vacuum all the sawdust from your work area with the Shop-Vac.

STEP 5: Put the shelf together by screwing the shelf onto the L-brackets. Paint or stain the shelf. If painting, follow the instructions on the paint can for allowing time to dry and adding additional coats, if you want to add more than one coat. For staining, dip the soft rag into the stain and wipe it on the shelf and the L-brackets, if the brackets are wood. Allow each coat of stain to dry before applying the next coat. The more coats of stain you add, the darker your piece will get.

STEP 6: Lightly sand the shelf again, if you stained them, if you wish. This is completely optional. If you do sand the pieces again, be sure to clean up all traces of sawdust before continuing. Following the instructions on the polyurethane, coat the pieces. The more coats of polyurethane you put on the pieces, the more they will shine. If you want a more rustic look, use only one coat. After the pieces have dried completely, screw the shelf onto the wall.

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