Accessory Shelf D.I.Y

This post is a little different, it is my first D.I.Y post! When I have the time, I love crafting, sewing and generally making things. I’ve been trying to think of a way to tidy up my drawers that double as my dressing table; there were too many bottles of perfume, moisturisers on them and my jewellery box was always a tangle of necklaces. As such, in the mornings when I was rushing to get out the door, I never bothered trying to untangle them to wear one. I vowed to resolve this; I had a number of decorative ideas but we’re a little low on storage where we live so they’ll have to wait. In the mean time I’ve gone for something more functional, but I do also think it is quite an attractive feature. I got a drill for Christmas that I’d been itching to use, this was the perfect excuse.Ta da!

I completed the project in a day but it is very easily done in stages (I had a week off work in which I sorted out our flat and baked a lot of cakes). I actually put up two shelves but the other one was just a plain shelf. The perfumes and moisturisers live on that one.

You will need:

  • A value shelf kit (one that comes with fittings), in the size you want (~£5)
  • A tester paint pot in the colour wash you’d like (I went for a dark cream called rice cake – ~£2)
  • A paint brush (~£2 or dig out one from the shed, or your dad’s shed)
  • A drill
  • Cup hooks (how many is up to you) (~£4)
  • Sand paper (try the shed)
  • A tape measure
  • A pencil
  • A spirit level (try the shed again)
  • A dust sheet (~£1)
  • A hammer (you’ve guessed it, the shed)

Total cost: (~£14)

Lay out your dust sheet on the floor. Next, identify the front of your shelf and using a tape measure, measure and mark in pencil where you’d like your hooks. I did mine at 1 inch intervals, be careful not to have them too close together.

hole measurements

Next, using the correct sized drill bit (start small and see if your screw will fit, if not then try the next one up) drill your holes. If you’ve never used a drill before, read the manual or ask someone for a quick demo; they aren’t complicated but make sure you take care, we don’t want any injuries!

Drilled holes

Once you’ve drilled the holes, use the sand paper to sand the holes, edges of your shelf and all the accompanying parts (the bracket etc).

Sanding edges

Now, mix your paint wash, 2 parts water to 1 part paint. I used an old soup pot with a lid, which meant storing my paint between coats was easy and I could just throw away the pot when I was finished.

Paint mix

Grab a couple of tins of beans/soup/tomatoes to have something to balance your shelf on (on the dust sheet) and paint the top and edges of your shelf, along with one side of the bracket parts. Let that coat dry before turning them over and doing the other sides. Once the second sides are dry, repeat the process so that you have two coats all over your shelves and brackets. The back of the brackets don’t need to be painted if you cover the edges well. Be careful to tidy the edges, drips congregate at the edges and sometimes run underneath the side you’ve painted, if these dry you’ll have drip marks on your shelf.

Shelf first coat

Painted shelf with bits

Painted and ready to assemble

Once you’re paint wash has dried completely, assemble your mounts. Do this by laying out all the fittings to make sure you have them all and know what goes where; the shelf kit should come with a list of how many of each screw, wall plug etc should be there. Then follow the instructions and put your brackets together. Use the screwdriver bits of your drill or do this by hand with a standard screwdriver. I found I had to re-drill the holes in a couple of the brackets, but hey what do you expect for £5!

Screws layed out

Assembled mount

Next, screw in your hooks

Hooks in place

Now to put them up! The instructions with the shelf should state the distance between the brackets. Using a pencil, mark a point on the wall where you’d like the first bracket to be, then using a spirit level (that is level, i.e. the bubble is in the middle), draw a pale line in pencil along the wall that is at least as long as the distance between the brackets. Next use your tape measure to measure the point for the next bracket and mark it on the line. Both bracket points should be on the line, this way you’ll have a straight shelf.

Place your first bracket at the first point and using a pencil (if it will fit through the hole in the bracket or a screwdriver to mark the paint if not) mark on the wall where the first bracket screws should be. Using the correct sized drill bit (the instructions should state this, if not start small and work up), drill the first set of holes (please check for water pipes and electricity cables beforehand!!). Gently hammer in the wall plugs and then screw in your first bracket, using a screwdriver bit on the drill preferably or a hand help screwdriver if not.

Mounts ups

Repeat for the second bracket. This may look wonky but it is the angle I promise! The spirit level was perfectly balanced on them. Through out the process, keep checking your two brackets are level.

Next, place your shelf centrally on top. I checked this by measuring how much shelf was either side of the bracket and making sure it was the same each side. Hammer your shelf to the bracket using the nails provided.

Assembled and up

Your accessory shelf is complete! Hang those necklaces and hair ties or anything else you can think of on it. It was a fun day spent getting used to my new drill and for less than £15 I’ve got a very functional accessory shelf and space on my chest of drawers too for mementos like photographs; our room looks much less cluttered now.

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