DIY Wood Shelves

bedroom_shelvesFor months my boys have slowly been adding things to their dressers. It started as one small card or lego creation to a full on craze. In their eyes, it is the most beautiful mess.

messy_kids_dressersDo you see the beauty as well or do your mom nerves (like mine) kind of cringe too at those pictures? You can see what the chartreuse dresser first looked like here and my son’s red dresser/chalkboard wall here.

They have reached this age that when I ask them to pick up their room and toys there are things they don’t want just thrown in a bucket.

I found myself in this pivotal mom moment. I don’t want to raise my kids with a passion of things, but I also want them to appreciate what they have and take care of those things well. Throwing action figures in a bucket of toys is one thing, but there are things like their art, trophies, pen pal letters, basketball card collection, nature collections, Hawks programs, movie tickets, and mementos of ‘home’ that are special. Most of these things are items that I could say, “throw them in a drawer,” but then I remember…Those things they are proud of.

They want to see them easily and know that they wont be messed with by siblings/friends/dogs. Their little lives don’t have all the milestones, scars, and triumphs ours have had. Those things are their memories. In time, some might get thrown out, but for today they are held tightly. My boys will feel loved by me showing a little love for things that are important to them, so I have refrained from telling them to throw stuff out or hide it merely for my OCD tendencies.

I realized that they needed shelves. Having one central area dedicated to this would be wonderful, so it was time to get out my tools.

I started by shopping for some wood.

picking_out_wood_for_shelvesYou may have some of these supplies on hand, but a lot of the supplies can be altered depending on how you finish your shelves off. I will list the supplies I used to make my shelves, but just know you can alter and make do with different things to get this same look.


  • 10″ x 1″ boards for the shelves
  • garden stacks
  • Ryobi Sander
  • Ryobi nail gun
  • Wood filler
  • Wood Stain
  • Foam brush
  • Ikea Shelf brackets (these were $0.49 each in my store)

The first step I did was measure the little nook where I wanted my shelves to go here in my boys’ room.

roommate_TNMT_decalFrom wall to wall it measured 35″, so I used my Ryobi Miter Saw and cut all my boards (including my garden stacks) 34 1/2″. I then sanded the boards.

wood_sanderAfter all the boards were sanded, I used my nail gun and nailed the garden stacks to one side of the 10″ wide boards. My original thought was that this little lip would face down and create an illusion that the shelf boards were made from a thicker, rustic wood. While nailing the boards together though, I decided to use the lip face up, so it created a little wall that could help keep the boys stuff from falling off the shelf easily. This is a boys’ room with a basketball hoop on the bunk bed, so who knows what can happen.


wood_shelvesAfter all the shelves were pieced together, I used wood filler to cover my nail holes. I let the wood filler completely dry, sanded over it, and was then ready to stain my shelves.

wood_fillerI used a foam craft brush and painted the stain on. I left it to completely dry (instead of rubbing it off with a cloth). I wanted a dark look. I did both sides and then my part was done!


wood_stainMatt did the hard part of measuring, spacing the shelves out, and making sure they were level. These little plastic braces were so inexpensive, yet they totally work. I think they look great! We didn’t have any black screws on hand, so we used the silver we had and I went back and painted a little acrylic paint over each screw and you can’t tell the difference.


wood_shelves_tutorialNext, the really fun part happened. The boys got to decorate their shelves. They were so excited. They would hold something and contemplate if it should go on their shelf. After placing it, they would stand back and admire. They were so excited. I literally bit my tongue as I saw my beautiful shelves get decorated….well beautifully :).

The boys were thrilled, the dressers were a little cleaner, my boys continually said how much they loved their new shelves, and I think their little hearts felt loved. That was the point, so the after picture looks perfect to me!


boy_shelf_tutorialWe do a lot of tasks for our kids as parents, I hope my kids feel us pursuing them more than anything else we do. Their little hearts, interests, memories matter most.

boy_shelvesWe have already built a lot of shelves in our time here in Indiana. You might like these as well. Click either of the pictures below to be redirected to those blog posts, if you are interested in their tutorial.


DIY_wood_shelfI love shelves. Can you relate!?

If you have kids or know kids, I hope you are able to go a little extra step and use your imagination and skills to help them feel loved this week. Every moment matters!



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