Building a Plant Shelf

This is how I built a plant shelf cheaply. My wife mentioned to me one day last fall that she needed a plant shelf in the kitchen for a few plants we had on the back porch before winter arrived. She gave me a basic idea of where she wanted to put the shelf.

A couple of weeks later, we were in a local craft store. I spotted a bin of some interesting looking shelves that would be perfect for the plants that were only $3.99.

None are them were finished, but they had the possibility of satisfying the need my wife was looking for.

The shelf I found was 48 inches long and we only needed 42 inches. It was very poorly put together, but had routed rounded edges and scalloped wall brackets.

The wood alone would have cost me more than the $3.99 asking price. So we took our potential plant shelf home.

I then proceeded to rip it apart. I cut the main shelf to fit the 42 inch space we had allocated.

I then sanded all the pieces using 80 grit sandpaper and then 120 grit sandpaper. I reassembled the pieces using Sumo glue and a pneumatic nail gun. If you have the tools use them.

After assembly, I sanded the shelf again using 220 grit sandpaper.

As for the nails, I used 1 1/2 inch nails. You can easily use a regular nail and achieve the same results.

The glue is the primary method to keep everything together. The nails hold it together until the glue dries.

I finished the shelf with Natural Polyurethane I had leftover from another project. After the Polyurethane was dry, I sanded it one final time lightly with the 220 grit and put on a second coat of Polyurethane. The final finish is smooth and durable.

After the shelf was dry, I took it inside and got out my stud finder to locate the wooden studs.

I attached the shelf using wood screws that were 2 ½ inches long (¾” for the thickness of the wood. Drywall should be ½”, but could be ¾”). I put the remaining part of the screw into the wall stud.

Below are pictures of our finished shelf with and without the plants.

It also has a groove in the top to stand plates upright. So once the whether is warm enough outside to put the plants outside, my wife will put her plate collection on it.

Dave Altman

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