Saturday, May 11, 2013

How To Build A Chunky Salvage Style Shelf

Or how NOT to build one.

You know how over in my sidebar it says
I like to make stuff up as I go along?
Yeah...well, sometimes that doesn't work out so well for me.

However, in this case it all turned out okay in the end.
Thank heaven.

When I started making changes to the living room I knew
I was going to want something different on the wall by the front door.
Something a little more substantial than the little shelf I already had there.
Something I created with MY OWN HANDS!!! Bwahahaha.

Sorry...I got a little Frankenstein-y there for a minute. :)

Anyway...I began searching for inspiration.
I found a great one here at AKA Design.
So I set off to make my own, slightly smaller version.
And I didn't want to follow their directions.
Because I didn't that's why. my story.

First I decided how wide and tall I wanted the piece to be.
Then we set about cutting some wood.

I knew I wanted the corners mitered so they'd all be neat,
so I had the hubby help me cut some boards
before he headed out of town for business.

Some of them were too wide for the miter saw and I
DO NOT like to use the table saw alone.

Since I didn't plan to use many nails...I cut some little
pieces to glue into the inner corners for support.

This section on the left...its inner support piece is shorter because the
smaller piece was *supposed* to fit inside the larger piece.

But *someone* didn't measure correctly and thus the
"making things up as I go along" thing really had to come into play.

You'll see later just how I "fixed" this problem.
Which I knew that I knew wouldn't really be a problem
once I put the molding on the front anyway.

I glued everything with Gorilla wood glue...because it's awesome.

The back of my shelf is open...there is a small 1X3 piece at the top for stability,
but I didn't make the "boxes" you see in the inspiration post.

Here's a back view so you can see the support piece and bottom.

You can see here where I added a couple of those little
support pieces to hold the bottom part to the top part.

Like I said...then it has a piece of small molding on the front...
it's really sturdy, it's not going to fall apart any time soon.
Unless I throw it down the basement stairs,
but really, why would I do that?

Here's what we've got folks:
1 - 1X8 for the top shelf {actually measures 7"}
1 - 1X6 for the top section front and sides
1 - 1X4 for the bottom section front and sides
 1 - 1X3 for the back support
1 - 1X4 for the bottom bottom, you know.
Some upside down baseboard molding, some cove molding,
and some stray pieces of what I believe are
furring strips I found in the corner of the garage. :) 

I only bought 4 foot boards because they were
easier for me to haul around by myself.
Of course, the molding doesn't come in short pieces,
so that's another story.

I filled all the seams with DryDex spackle.
I thought it might help with my impatience.

But it sands soooo smooth. :)

One thing I did do the same...used a sample pot of chocolate
brown paint I had hanging around for my base coat.

My other furniture is black, but I didn't want that harsh of a contrast.

Then I wasted some time adding a little grey here and there.
I say wasted because, in the end...I don't think you can even tell it's there.
The whole thing got some Annie Sloan Old White and distressed.

Here's a lesson learned: chalk paint and
old crackle medium do NOT like each other.
Just so you know.
Oh well.

Ignore my unmanicured pinkish hand...and gaze
upon the hooks I had planned on using.

But Jon, in his infinite wisdom, said to me:
You're not gonna like that.

But why? I picked them and I want to use them so there!
Fine, but they're gonna stick out from the wall and you're not gonna like it.


SO, since he IS awesome...
he suggested doing keyhole hangers.
He even routered them for me. :)

See how he just made a nice little cutout in the wood?
We decided the vertical piece would be stronger for supporting the shelf.

We actually made the whole a little deeper in the middle since
the screws we used were slightly domed and needed a little more space.

Here you see the finished keyhole hanger.
And yes, now it hangs flush against the wall.

{If you look closely, you can see how the cove molding helps
hold the bottom and top pieces together.  See? I wasn't worried.}

We used a laser level to make sure we hung it straight...
at this point it's already hung...he's just using the level now so he can gloat. :)

And thar she be!
Oh, it's missing something you say?'s this?

Oh, I forgot...I used some Minwax paste wax over the paint.
Love it.

While at first I was mad at myself for messing up the paint with the
crackle goop, it actually kinda added to the salvage look I was going for.

Like something that had been repainted several times on top of old chipped paint.

Now it's home to some fun things, like my number 3 sign, a rooster,
a canvas of one of Sara's senior pics, a plaster mold of her hand when she
was 5, and one of many stars you find sprinkled throughout the house.

Like my number 3?
I got that from Antique Farm House.
Jon says: why 3?
I said: because we're 3.
No, we're 2 now.
NO...we will ALWAYS be 3.

The finished shelf is 30 1/2 inches wide,
about 7 inches deep and 10 1/2 inches tall.

Chunky's good, right?
That's what I tell myself anyway.

Does it speak architectural salvage to you, too?


Sharing piles of sawdust here:


  1. It absolutely speaks salvage to me. Well done! I've never tried crackle with chalk paint and I guess I won't now. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Hi Kelly! I think this turned out fabulous, I want one!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I just followed you on bloglovin.
    Beth @ The First Year Blog

  3. Wow, I love how this turned out. You did a great job. It looks so vintage.
    Have a wonderful week,
    @ Eclectic Red Barn

  4. LOVE your shelf! Super cute! Totally pinning it!

    Have an awesome and blessed day!

  5. Classic and chunky - wonderfully distressed and oh, so unique. As one who "forgets" to read the directions for anything, congratulations on a job done well without bothering with those extra words.

  6. Found you through PJH Designs and I LOVE this shelf. It turned out beautifully and very salvaged looking too. I really like the star too, I have a thing for stars as well :).

  7. I love it, it looks amazing and a great tutorial too. I would love for you to link this up to my Inspire Me party that is ongoing. Hugs, Marty

  8. Love the shelf...thanks for the how to!
    I also love the 3 sign...I have been eyeing this one for a while and seeing it in your home I want to order it now! We live at #3 on our street so I have 3s everywhere!

  9. Love your shelf and you gave us a great tutorial. I have found that sometimes mistakes end up giving you the best finishes. ;-) I love that three sign by the way. Thanks for joining us this week at Transformed Tuesday.

    Peggy~PJH Designs

  10. I love how your shelf turned out! And chunky is always good :-)

  11. Hi! First time here, found you in the linky party at lollyjane. I absolutely love the shelf you made, its awesome! Love your styling too. Very cool. :)

  12. I am drooling on the keyboard!

    This looks great!

    I would love for you to share and link up at my TGIF Link Party. The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday's at midnight.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Hugs, Cathy

  13. Just found your blog through the Creative Inspirations Link Party and now I'm following. Love this shelf and how aged it looks when brand new!


  14. Here from Creative Inspirations, and glad I came. You and my mom must share Garilla Glue love. I use it and liquid nails a lot too. I'm inspired to make something up too. Love the shelf, and the things on it. for what it's worth

  15. You did a great job on this! Thanks for sharing at Hickory Trail.

  16. Great job! I also do not like power saws and do not have a guy o help. I am going to have to try the old fashioned hand saw I guess. You are really gutsy to try this project! Congrats!

  17. Great job! I also do not like power saws and do not have a guy o help. I am going to have to try the old fashioned hand saw I guess. You are really gutsy to try this project! Congrats!

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