How to Build a Simple, Built-in, Sturdy Shelf For Your Kitchen (or anywhere, really)

August 21, 2019

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We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

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We encourage all DIYers to know their own limits when they take on projects. This tutorial uses power tools that could cause serious harm if operated incorrectly, so please be safe, be smart, and hire a professional if needed. 

After posting our kitchen phase 1 update, we’ve had so many requests to share how we built the shelves we added to the kitchen. Remember these ones?:

With minimal tools, materials and 30 minutes you can build your own shelf and have it hung in your own home. Here’s your shopping list:

• Saw (miter saw preferably, but you could get by with a circular saw or jigsaw and steady hand)
Impact driver
Clamps (if working with crooked or warped lumber)

• One 1×4 board (I used pine in an 8ft length – choose a length that is long enough for your shelf, plus some extra to make the support brackets
• One 1×8 board (or 1×12 if you prefer a deeper shelf – also make sure you choose a length long enough for the shelf, but you won’t need extra)
1 5/8in trim screws
2 1/2in cabinet screws

Building a Kitchen Shelf

To show how simple building these shelves really is, we filmed a quick video you can watch below.

Pine works great on a project like this if you will paint the wood (good idea to prime raw wood before painting!), whereas a hard wood like oak would be better if you plan to stain. But either way, these shelves are sturdy, easy to make and are a quick project that can be tackled in less than an hour.

Building a Kitchen Shelf

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What do you think?

  1. marymiller says:

    Thank you share This article is very informative and I feel like you are reading my mind.

  2. Brayden Tomlinson says:

    What depth shelves did you use for your kitchen?

  3. Ayisha says:

    Did you find out where your studs were in the wall prior to building the shelves? I ask because I’m thinking that my studs would likely be right behind one of my shelf supports.

  4. Christina says:

    I might have missed something, but how did you figure out what angle to cut the support pieces?

  5. Dani says:

    I would love to know what color the cabinets are painted! Beautiful!

  6. Wendy says:

    I was one of the people requesting a tutorial :) Thank you!!!

  7. Nadine says:

    Thank you.

  8. Monica says:

    Looks lovely, and also practical! I asked my contractor to do something similar and was told that building code did not allow a wooden shelf over a stove top. I ended up going with a commercial grade stainless -additionally, we could not put stove in front of a window for similar code issues!!!!! I seem to live in a town with stricter codes than most !

    • Kd says:

      I think you misunderstood your contractor. IRC M1901.1 “Freestanding or built-in ranges shall have a vertical clearance above the cooking top of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) to unprotected combustible material. Reduced clearances are permitted in accordance with the listing and labeling of the range hoods or appliances.”

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