How to Make a Traditional Wall-Mounted Shelf with Molding

The compact design of this DIY shelf frees up floor space for storage in a small room. Learn how to make one with traditional molding and swirling Victorian brackets.

diy shelf beside bed

Choosing a bedside table that matches your style and available space can be hard. This wall-mounted shelf is perfect for a small bedroom and drips with traditional elegance. With curved Victorian-style brackets and a painted shelf trimmed with carved molding, the DIY shelf exudes classic traditional style. Hang them in a grouping for a sophisticated mounted bookshelf, kitchen storage unit, or upscale shoe rack. Learn how to build and install the shelf, below.

See more unique DIY shelf ideas here.

What You Need

  • 8-foot-long trim molding (Acanthus, $7, Lowe's)
  • Miter box with a hand saw with small teeth (or power miter saw)
  • 1-inch×12-inch×3-foot board (we used ChoiceWood poplar board, $23, Lowe's)
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Nail set
  • Caulk
  • Primer and paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Brackets (Victorian, $13 each; www.vandykesrestorers.com)
  • Screws
  • Wood putty
  • Level
  • Tape measure

Step 1: Make Cuts

To cut the trim's beveled edges, you will need to make angled, or mitered, cuts, to create miter joints. A miter joint is made of two pieces of material that are angle-cut at the same angle and joined together to create a 90-degree corner.

To make the cuts, you will need a plastic miter box and a handsaw. The easiest way to cut molding, however, is with a power miter saw.

Set the miter saw to 45 degrees. Begin with one of the side trim pieces. Place the uncut trim against the board's left side edge and mark a diagonal pencil line slightly beyond the width of the shelf to allow for enough trim length for a 45-degree angle cut. Clamp the trim to the miter box and your work surface. Cut at the mark.

Hold the piece again alongside the shelf edge and mark where the straight edge needs to be. Cut here with the blade or miter box set to 90 degrees. Sand after all cuts.

Learn how to use a miter saw to make miter cuts.

Step 2: Nail Trim

For the long front edge, cut a trim piece with 45-degree angles on both ends. Cut remaining side trim piece like the first. Place the three trims against the shelf's edges to ensure they fit and modify if they don't. Nail trim to shelf. Countersink nails using nail set. Hide nail holes and gaps at trim corners with caulk. Prime and paint as desired.

Step 3: Attach Brackets

To finish, position first bracket against the shelf bottom at desired location. (Ideally, you will be fastening at least one bracket to a stud in the wall.) To attach the shelf top, drill down into the shelf top and into the bracket, recessing the screw about 1/8-inch into the wood. Do this at the front and back. Repeat for remaining bracket. Fill screw holes with caulk or wood putty and sand smooth. Prime and paint.

Step 4: Hang Shelf

Attach shelf to studs in wall. Your brackets come with keyhole anchors bored into their back faces. You will hang these keyhole slots onto protruding screws in your wall. To accomplish this, place a screw into the wall, ideally into a stud, but allow the screw to protrude enough from the wall to hang the keyhole bracket on. Install second screw using a tape measure, and level for accuracy.

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