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Traditional-Style Wall Shelf

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Make this elegant display shelf to decorate for the seasons, substitute for a headboard, or mount as a fireplace mantel.

Traditional Wall Shelf

Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Miter saw
  • Cordless drill and driver bits
  • Hammer and nail set (optional compressor and nail gun)
  • Orbital sander and 120-grit sanding discs
  • Painter’s tape
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter’s square

Materials

  • See Cutting Diagram for lumber and moulding
  • 2 - pine crown moulding corner blocks, #224061
  • Crown moulding, pattern #47, #229865
  • 5 1/4-in base moulding
  • 1 3/8-in base cap moulding
  • 4d finish nails
  • Paste wood filler
  • Valspar latex primer, quart
  • Valspar semi-gloss paint, quart, Ultra White (#7006-24)
  • 18-in hangman photo hanging system, #56378, or 6-in hangman photo hanging system, #56156 (see instructions)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online

Instructions

Pick a hanger system to fit the length of the shelf you’ll build. The Hangman system comes in 6-inch or 18-inch versions. For a shelf with a front board that is 24 to 36 inches, use a single 18-inch long wall hanger. For a shelf with a front board 36 to 51 inches long, use two 6-inch-long hangers. For a shelf longer than 51 inches, use three 6-inch-long wall hangers. Attach the anchors to wall studs for maximum strength and use hollow-wall anchors for additional support.

For the crown moulding, pre-assembled corners eliminate the complication of cutting compound angles. When at the store collecting the materials for the project, test fit the crown to the corners to ensure you have selected the proper moulding.

Make the Frame

Step 1

Cut the bottom (A), ends (B), front (C), back (D), and top (E) (Project Diagram, Cutting List & Cutting Diagram) from pine boards. Glue and nail the ends to the bottom (Project Diagram, Drawing 1).

Step 2

Align the front to the bottom and end of the Headboard Shelf.

Align the front with one of the edges and end, and nail it to that edge. Work your way to the opposite end continually align the parts as you go, driving nails every 6 to 8 inches.

Step 3

Use the wall hanger to help create the space the back.

Fit the back between the ends with the top edge even and inset 3/8 inch to accept the hidden Hangman hanger. Use the hanger as a spacer to position the back. Then glue and nail the back in place.

Step 4

Center the top on the shelf before securing it.

Lay the shelf on its back and center the top. Glue and nail the top to the ends, front, and back.

Add the Trim

Step 1

Cut the trim parts (F, I) and (L, M) a few inches longer than needed (Project Diagram, Cutting List & Cutting Diagram). Later, you’ll cut each piece of trim to fit the actual project (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).

Step 2

Spacers help position the trim.

Cut four to six spacers 3-3/16 inches long. (When resting on these spacers, base trim pieces F and G should project beyond the bottom of the shelf by about 1/8 inch.) Cut a 45-degree miter on mating ends of the front base trim (F) and one side base trim (G), and rest the parts on the spacers against the shelf (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).

Step 3

At the back of the shelf, mark the length of side base trim (G) and make a 90-degree cut. Glue and nail the side base trim to the end.

Good to Know

As you install each part, hold the adjoining miter or adjacent trim piece in position and verify the fit. Adjust the length as needed before attaching the part.

Step 4

A clamp is used stabilize the long trim to mark the length.

Clamp one end of the front trim (F) in position against the secured side trim (G) and mark the location of the miter on the opposite end. Cut a 45-degree miter, and glue and nail the front trim in place.

Step 5

Cut the miter on the end of the remaining side trim (G), hold it in position, and mark the length. Then cut the part to length, and install with glue and nails.

Cut the Crown

Step 1

Premade moulding corners make installation fast and easy.

The crown moulding will be installed using crown moulding corners to eliminate making compound miter cuts (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). With the assembly upside down, place the assembled corner blocks against the base trim and mark the length of the inside portion of the corner. Repeat this at the opposite end.

Step 2

Mark the length of the crown moulding.

Transfer the marks to the oversize length of crown moulding (H), and cut to length.

Step 3

Marking the side crown moulding for length.

Hold the assembled corner sections in position on each end, slip the side crown trim into the receiving opening in the corner, and mark the length of the side crown (I). Cut the side crown to length.

Step 4

Add the front crown (H) by nailing it to the shelf between the length marks. Position the trim so that it fits flat against the front (C) and the top (E). (Project Diagram, Drawing 3). Now add the corners and side crown (I) moulding.

Make the Base

Step 1

Cut the base front (J) and base sides (K) to length and assemble using glue and nails (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).  

Step 2

Cut and install the front moulding (L) and side moulding (M) in the same manner as the front base (F) and side base (G) you installed earlier.

Step 3

Clamp the bottom of the shelf in position while the glue dries.

Glue and clamp the base assembly centered on the bottom (A) with the back edges flush.

Finish and Install

Step 1

Sink any exposed nail heads and fill the holes with wood filler. Allow the filler to dry, sand the project with 120-grit sandpaper, and wipe the shelf clean. Apply a coat of primer and two coats of paint following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2

Screw the Hangman hanger sections to the wall and in the back recess of the shelf (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.