I am in love with how much this has improved our entryway… with one little tiny shelf. Our entry way is FAR from done, but this is a great start- I love having somewhere to drop my coffee and keys without the kids kicking the coffee over (and without me losing my keys). This minimal shelf is thin enough that it doesn’t take up precious space in our split level entry and it’s good looking enough for me to want to keep it around. Because of the partial ledge, this little guy packs a big punch when it comes to holding things. You can put your coffee and keys on the flat shelf, but the ledge lets you hold taller things, like books and iPads without trouble. Win/win/win.
I have spent way too much time on Pinterest for this small space. Figuring out what would work best to make the entry more functional without sacrificing style. I spotted this amazing shelf (it’s designed out of a single piece of wood so all the grain matches!) but the steep price tag wasn’t something I could justify. I knew that I don’t have the patience to make something so involved, but loved the idea of a split thin shelf. This is my compromise/ hack! And the best part? You can make it in an afternoon after only one trip to The Home Depot.
Okay, maybe I made two trips to The Home Depot because I’m forgetful like that.
To make this modern wood shelf, you’ll need:
- 1×4 (I used this oak) 2x the length of your desired shelf
- Measuring tape, pencil
- Chop saw & circular saw or table saw (You could do it all with a circular saw if that’s what you’ve got!)
- 100 grit sandpaper (plus finer if you wish) and palm sander or patience with a sanding block
- Wood glue and wood clamps (see notes below)
- Wood stain and finish (I used this one that does both), rag and gloves
- L brackets (both 3/4″ and 1.5″) with screws (and drywall anchors if needed!)
- Drill and level for hanging
I chose to use a hardwood to skip the step of ripping the edges for a flat edge. Softer wood is usually sold as lumber and has rounded edges which are great for building, but without a table saw- they can be a pain to get that nice clean flat edge. Plus the grain on this red oak is rad.
Start by cutting two lengths of 1×4 (however long you’d like your shelf to be, mine is 38″). Cut one of those pieces wherever you would like your ledge to be. Take the ledge side and cut it lengthways.
Take these two pieces (the top half) and line them up, then flip them, apply your glue and clamp them in place. *I only have two wood clamps. This is my first time using a hardwood, because usually I can pile heavy things on and the softer wood gives in. Hard wood? Not so much. I am not completely happy with how tight that seam is SO if you can- grab a few more wood clamps if you choose to use a hard wood for this.
When the glue is completely dry, give it a sand (I used 100 grit) then stain! I used Minwax Wood Finish in Special Walnut. I wanted to match the look of some hooks we’ve purchased but are yet to put up. The colour is exactly what I was hoping for!
*UPDATE* We recently refinished our entry way and moved this shelf. We are still totally in love with it but wanted a more secure way to mount it. We have 3 kids that pull on this thing when they’re getting their shoes done. This time around we mounted it with 1/4″ hanger bolts and silicone adhesive. We drilled holes into the bottom board of the shelf (4) and then put the hanger bolts into the wall using heavy duty drywall anchors. We added the silicone adhesive (we have Iron Grip and that stuff holds SO well) then slipped it into place. Push it/ hold it on for the 1 minute then you can walk away and it’s so much more secure than the million L brackets we’d originally used. But if you don’t want permanent- use the L brackets instead (shown below) :)
This is how we mounted it. Since it’s so thin (especially on the ledge side), we couldn’t use brackets that the shelf slips over. Drilling into such thin wood wouldn’t have provided much stability. We chose to use small L brackets concealed behind the shelf. Since it’s hip height, you won’t be below it much to notice and if I was worried about it, I could always paint those brackets out to hide with the wood better. If it were visible… I totally would have erased that pencil line too… really ;)
Run a level line, then find your studs and mount your L brackets into the wall. Use the larger ones where your shelf is double thickness (the flat shelf part) and the smaller brackets where the ledge is. When your brackets are all on, slip your shelf into place and screw the brackets into the bottom of your shelf to hold it in place. Easy peasy. Please keep in mind there is a small gap (the thickness of the L bracket metal) at the back of the shelf then. This totally doesn’t bother us, but I want to be clear.
I really am so thrilled with how it’s turned out. I have big plans for this space! Not only is it hardly functional, but it’s not safe for our kids right now. I can’t wait to tackle the rest of this space to get it finished, useable, pretty, and safe. But in the meantime… this was an easy win thanks to Home Depot Canada!
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