How To Build Shelves with a Live Edge
How to select boards, prep, seal and hang rough sewn wood for decorative shelves in a bathroom.
- cedar boards
- 3 inch corner brackets*
- spray paint* (stain bronze)
If you’ve never seen the episode from Today’s Homeowner where Dad and I have an old cedar tree cut into 1 inch planks, here’s the link to watch it now! We had to tear down the tree from my front yard because it was all over the roof and a hazard to the safety of my house. After it sat behind my garage for about a year, we drove it to a small, locally-owned sawmill about 45 minutes from my house.
Pick Out Your Boards
We ended up with all different length, shapes, and sizes of boards, but all were mostly 1 inch thick. So for this project, I picked out 2 boards that complimented each other, were about the same width as the toilet room they’d be hung in and had a ‘pretty’ rough edge.
Since one of my boards was wider than the space, I looked it over to find the best 30 inch section.
I didn’t like all of this jaggedness on one end, so I made a cut there before measuring and cutting on the other end to get the correct length for my shelf.
Sand, Sand, Seal
Usually you want shelf boards to be smooth so you can slide things on and off with ease. But I knew these weren’t going to be practical shelves for us, just purely decorative. I sanded using 80-grit sandpaper and an power sander, but I wasn’t too worried about making it as smooth as I normally would have.
After sanding and wiping off the dust, I applied a satin polyurethane. Since these are ‘rough’ and a more rustic look, I didn’t want them to be too shiny. Once the first coat dried, I sanded again with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the wood grain the polyurethane raised and applied another coat.
Corner Brackets for Shelves
To match the other gold accents in my new bathroom, I spray painted the zinc brackets and screw heads before attaching them to the bottom of each of my shelf boards.
My shelves are not the same length, but I still wanted the brackets to be stacked vertically once hung. So I accounted for the difference in length when attaching them.
Using a level I secured them to the wall above our toilet. Since this was a new addition, we added boards between the studs in the wall above the toilet before the drywall went up. A nice tip if you’re ever building or renovating! Then you don’t have to use anchors for heavy things like shelves or towel bars!
(You can watch my ‘Bathroom!’ Highlight on my Instagram to see this blocking in action!)
And there you have it! Simple, yet effective, shelves you can hang anywhere!
I’m usually someone who has to fill up all available space, but I’m still loving the ‘less is more’ look on these shelves. It’s like they’re filled with potential instead of ‘stuff’.😅
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea
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Brian C says
Great shelve Ideas, Chelsea.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf says
Thanks Brian! ~Chelsea
Neat idea Chelsea 👍. I love the live edge look. Love watching your show and the transformations you guys do in such a short time on a small budget. Just wish it wasn’t on so early on Sunday mornings on my local channel, sometimes I don’t wake up early enough to catch it. Keep up the great work and Happy Holidays.