Friday, March 22, 2013

Shelving Do-It-Yourself

Note: I am by no means a DIY expert and don't pretend to be. Rather I am a woman with an unhealthy preoccupation with power tools. Please read all installation directions and safety procedures and happy drilling. 

 The awkward space between the kitchen cabinets and the sliding glass doors has plagued me since we moved into this house nearly three years ago. Year one it just contained the black clock. In year two I added the mail sorter in a bid to get the envelope situation in this house under control. The sorter is pretty, but it looks terrible there and I'm pretty sure that those are the same bills I shoved into its pockets a year ago. It looks messy and there is still mail everywhere!

This is my solution. Personally, I think it looks about a thousand times better. The space seems better integrated with the rest of the kitchen and it gives a nice focal point as you walk in the door (this wall is directly across from the front door in open concept living space of my house).

I began the project by first collecting my materials: 4- 7' x 7" decorative brackets from Home Depot, 2- 10" wide by 2' long pieces of board ( I selected a 10"x 6' board and had the Home Depot folks cut it for me), 1 can of spray paint, 1 packages of dry wall anchors

Then, by collecting my tools: stud  finder, level, tape measure, sander (or sand paper), phillips screw driver, drill, 3/4 drill bit

I began by applying a coat of spray paint to the brackets. Spray paint is really convenient, there are no brushes and little clean up, but you have to be careful to keep the paint far enough away and to move back and forth in smooth strokes in order to avoid drips and uneven color. While I was waiting for the paint to dry I used my palm sander to sand the rough edges on the boards.

Once I was finished with that the first coat of the paint was dry. I put a first coat of paint on the boards and a second coat on the brackets, turning them to assure coverage from every angle. 

While I waited for the paint to dry a second time I used my tape measure and level to lay out the placement of my brackets. Earlier I had used my stud finder to mark the studs in the wall and had run into my first minor road block. The studs between the cabinets and the sliding glass door were irregularly spaced. Due to this I had decided to use dry wall anchors to attached the shelves rather than screw the brackets directly into the stud, which was my first inclination.

The Stud Finder blinks and give a beep when it senses the edge of a stud. 
Drywall Anchors come in package like this and are rated for different weights. I planned to place mostly small decorative objects on mine so I selected anchors rated for 50 pounds. 
I marked where I wanted the shelf to lie, where I wanted the brackets to sit and where I needed to drill the holes on the wall before taking out my drill

Once I had decided on the position of the brackets I used a scientific and time tested method for placing the holes... I held the bracket up to the wall on its side so that I could see where the key hole was and marked it. O.k. so maybe my husband would have a cow if he saw me doing it this way, but I'm a visual person.  For all you mathmeticians out there, I doubled checked the hole placement by measuring the bracket from its top to the top of the key hole and divided the width of the bracket in half. When I checked the measure it method against my visual method the results were the same. 

Now that I have the holes marked I placed the 3/4 drill bit in the drill. The bit has to be larger than what I would use for a normal screw because the dry wall anchor gets pressed into the hole with the anchors employing barbs on either side that allow the screw to hold extra weight. The screws are then screwed into the anchor. 

I slid the bracket key hole over the screw head and pulled down to secure the bracket on the screw.

Once all four brackets were secured to the wall  I placed my painted boards on and was amazed by how different the area already looked.

I filled the shelves with a collection of bits and bobs from around the house, using cranberry as an accent color to reflect the color the the dining room. I think the the transformation is remarkable. What do you think?

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