How to Build Display Shelves

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Display shelves can be made using basic pine boards and crown molding. These shelves are ideal for adding a decorative touch to a blank wall. Driftwood, candles, vases and dried flowers are just a few of the decorations that can be displayed. A basic shelf structure is fastened to the wall, and the structure is concealed by elegant crown molding. The process allows you to create shelves that can be customized to fit any space.

Things You'll Need

  • Board, 1-by-3-inch, 24 inches long
  • Board, 1-by-3-inch, 18 inches long
  • Box of finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Screw gun
  • Box of wood screws
  • 4-inch crown molding, 36 inches long
  • Miter saw
  • Nail set
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrush
  • Set the1-by-3-by-18-inch board on a work surface with one 1-by-18-inch side flat on the surface. This is the shelf support. Center the 1-by-3-by-24-inch board on top of the shelf support with the 3-by-24-inch side flat against the 1-by-18-inch side of the shelf support that is facing up. This is the shelf. Make sure that one long edge of the shelf is flush with the outside edge of the shelf support. You should have an L-shaped structure.

  • Drive finish nails through the shelf into the shelf support. Space the nails every 3 inches.

  • Select a wall location for the display shelf. Locate the studs in that area with a stud finder. Mark the location of the studs.

  • Hold the shelf assembly against the wall. Place a level on the shelf and adjust as necessary until the shelf is level. Insert wood screws through the shelf support into the wall at the marked stud locations.

  • Measure in 2 inches from each end of the crown molding and mark the measurement. Set up the miter saw to cut a compound 45-degree angle. Make a cut on each measurement mark. The compound angle should extend outward from each end of the crown molding. The two pieces should be 2 inches long at the top. These are the end caps for the shelf trim.

  • Cut a compound miter on each end of the remaining length of crown molding so that the top edge of the molding measures 24 inches; the bottom edge will be shorter in length. This is the front trim. The end caps should fit on each end of the front trim to form 90-degree angles at the joints.

  • Align the molding sections underneath the shelf. Make sure the top of the molding is tight against the bottom of the shelf. The bottom of the molding should be against the bottom edge of the shelf support. Drive nails through the top and bottom edges of the molding sections to fasten them to the shelf support and shelf. Space the nails every 3 inches.

  • Set the nails with a nail set approximately 1/16 inch below the surface of the wood.

  • Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Allow the putty to dry. Sand the putty flush to the surface of the wood.

  • Apply a wood finish to the display shelf. Allow the finish to dry completely before use.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a built-in look, paint the shelf the same color as the trim.
  • Wear eye protection when working with wood.

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