10 Easy DIY Shelves Tutorials, Plans, and Ideas

DIY Shelving: is it a curse or a blessing?

For the reluctant DIY’er who begrudgingly admits the need for the shelf or shelves, has the basic skills to do it, and really doesn’t want to go through the effort or expense of hiring someone, the simplicity of making your own shelves might seem like a curse!

If you love DIY remodeling, however, and you’re always itching for that next project and hoping to learn a new skill or two while you’re at it, DIY shelving can be a major blessing thanks to a perfect combination of relative ease, low expense, project speedy-ness, and a chance at making a major WOW statement!

I’ve gone out on behalf of both the griper and the over-achiever and found a bunch of awesome examples of DIY Shelving Ideas. I’ve included every skill level, every budget, and the project speed ranges from zero-to-done in fifteen minutes to a full weekend throw down.

If you decide to tackle one of these, be sure to check out my notes with each picture. I might be able to save you a few minutes effort or maybe avoid a migraine.

10 Easy DIY Shelves Tutorials, Plans, & Ideas

1.DIY Floating Ledge – Shanty 2 Chic {Tutorial}

Great detail, scale, and finishing make this shelf stand out.

What a beautiful shelf!

  • The post at Shanty-2-Chic.com includes detailed instructions and pictures. Very helpful!
  • The mounting system of this shelf (a hidden 2×4 on the wall inside the box) is smart and makes getting the shelf right where you want it a breeze.
  • They recommend a couple of things I personally would avoid:
    • Pocket screws (Kreg Jig) – If you have the tool already and you don’t have a finish nail gun such as a trim nailer or a brad nailer and you want a totally perfect job, then you could go with the pocket screws. But it’s a PITA and the box could easily be held together with just brad or trim nails and glue inside the joints. Since this is to be painted (vs a see-through finish) you could also just run screws through the face, countersink a little, putty and paint.
    • Guerilla Glue – I love Guerilla Glue but it has one major drawback – it expands which results in foam to be cut away and sometimes opens up an otherwise nice joint in the wood. I would use Titebond Ultimate Wood Glue on this project.
  • I’ve never tried the vaseline trick, but it seems like a good idea. If you don’t have any, you can still do the same thing it just requires a little more elbow grease when you’re sanding.

2. Easy DIY Shelf Using Corbels

This shelf is super easy, just a couple of corbels and a 2x4!

This shelf is super-easy and falls into the zero-to-done-in-fifteen-minutes category. And I think it looks pretty nice given the simplicity, don’t you?

This is a three step process, give or take.

  1. Get solid screws in the wall by either using an anchor system (toggle, molly, EZ-Anchor, etc.) or by screwing directly into something solid like a wall stud.
  2. Hang the corbels on the wall. They almost allways have a “keyhole” type mounting system like you often see on large picture frames. The corbels may come finished or unfinished, so you might have to spray paint it.
  3. Set a nice stained 2×4 on the top. If you feel like this shelf is in a safe spot out of harms (kids or men) way, then you can just let it sit there. If you want to be sure it’s secure, use a liberal amount of glue to hold it (you’ll need a prybar to break it loose later). This assumes that your board and your corbels are similar depth as in the picture. If your shelf is deeper, you might need more secure connections.

3. Rustic – Easy Weathered Wood DIY Shelf

This one was so easy and cool I had to draw up some sketches for you!

I really only like to put pictures here that I can actually find the original source for. I want to send people to the creative mind behind it all. But I love this idea and since I couldn’t find an original source, I’m going to embed the pin I found… if it’s gone (no picture below) it’s because someone removed the pin.

Source: firesidedreamers.com via Ellison on Pinterest

I love rustic because rustic loves me. What I mean by that is that rustic stuff works great for those of us who want (almost) everything done lightning fast without too much fuss over exposed nails, perfect alignment, etc.

I liked this particular shelf so much, it inspired me to create a to-scale 11×17 drawing you can use as a guide if you want to build one. Any source of weathered wood such as old siding, a table top, etc. would make this just so cool.

Free DIY Shelf Drawings

4. DIY Shelf and Headboard in One – Campbell Design

Creative use of DIY Pillows and DIY Shelving to create a cool headboard!

Looking for a great looking alternative to an expensive bed for the master suite or a guest room? Look no further! This simple soultion combines an easy shelf with a little bit of simple sewing to create a really great looking headboard. You can’t see any bed rails here so I’m guessing this bed is on a simple metal frame. That’s smart creativity.

The shelf is very similar to the one I drew up awhile back as a coat hanger shelf. (drawings here on RG)

The biggest difference is in mounting. My coathanger shelf has coat hanging hardware which can be used to cover up large mounting screws. This shelf has a clean face. So you have a couple of options:

  • cut the pieces and fit them on the ground but assemble in-place, allowing you to securely mount the main board (2×6 or 8) and then cover your mounting screws with the crown molding. (God help you when you want to take it off)
  • Use a special router bit and optional template tool to create Keyhole mounts on the back of the shelf
  • Make the shelf a box like the first shelf in this post, allowing a hidden mounting board
  • Screw directly through the face, countersink and putty or plug the holes before finishing the shelf in-place – again not easy to remove. (you would expose the screws, damaging the finish)
  • Use this awesome mounting hardware… easy and inexpensive, but requires planning ahead – something I rarely do.

5. DIY Shelf with Hanging Rod and Storage – Maiden d’ Shade {Tutorial}

Nice looking shelf and a helpful and detailed tutorial

This is a beautiful shelf and the tutorial linked above is detailed and helpful.

I can’t really say I would do much different at all. I do wonder how it would look with a smaller finial on the rod. Maybe even just a flat end-cap almost flush with the support brackets, but that’s just a matter of preference and the ones used here look great.

6. DIY Rustic Industrial Shelves – A Keen Life {Tutorial}

Steel Pipe and some 2 bys and you're all set!

You know how some ideas just send you off into an alternate reality of idea dreamworld? That’s what this one has done to me. I’ve been daydreaming about all sorts of things I could build with these pipes.

Shelving seems like a good place to start!

The blog post mentions buying all this at Home Depot and mentions the total cost at just under $200. I wanted a little better idea of what the costs were so I found (most of) the same parts on Amazon.com, this link will get you in the right area and the picture below will show you the part numbers. Most are Prime eligible making shipping a non-issue.

Shelving Post Amazon Cart

As you can see, these little parts kind of add-up! $155.18 so far and the list isn’t totally complete (see below). But maybe that’s not so bad for an authentic industrial look that should be strong enough to hold heavy loads such as (lotta) books, large TV’s, your stash of gold bars, or whatever floats your boat.

(Note that Amazon didn’t stock the 18″ lengths so I included four extra 12″, making the whole unit 6″ shorter, or you would need to add another section to make it taller. Also, if you’re so inclined or have a plumber in the family, you can buy this pipe in long lengths and thread it yourself at a much lower cost.)

7. Industrial Rustic Shelf Tutorial – Silvie Liv {Tutorial}

This is idea #6 above turned on it’s head, or is it the other way around? This shelving unit, which is fully supported by the wall and ceiling, a la wall cabinet, was the inspiration for the above.


Nice. Real nice.

Same basic concept and materials as the floor-standing design but a good bit more difficult overall. The alignment must be perfect to be sure that a good number of the mounting screws attach firmly and securely into solid structure. Drywall won’t hold this up and I would be very reluctant to trust even the best drywall anchors.

If you’re very ambitious and you have an attic above the ceiling, you can go in and place “deadwood” in the correct locations above the ceiling. If the ceiling connections are uber-strong, then the rest aren’t as big of a concern.

8. DIY Contempo-Nature Shelf

This really-neat-but-not-so-difficult idea is one of those that made it to Pinterest but from whence it came I cannot say.

I just know it looks great and it wouldn’t be difficult at all. Here is an impromptu material list and how-to:

  • 1×6 Clear Spruce, Fir or Poplar – Ripped Down to 5″ wide – about 5′ long
  • Wood Glue
  • Trim Nails or Brad Nails and Nail Gun
  • Finish Screws
  • Really Nice Looking Tree Branch (see picture, must be dry not “green”)
  • Wall mounting hardware (see instructions)
  1. Cut the now 5″ wide board to three equal lengths (for a perfect square, then cut 1.5 additional inches from one)
  2. Working on a bench or the floor, arrange the boards as shown in the picture.
  3. Add glue to each joint, then use the brad or finish nails to secure,
  4. Pre-drill and install two finish screws at each joint, coming up from the bottom and down from the top.
  5. Measure the exact distance of the inside of the box, along the vertical board
  6. Cut the tree branch that exact dimension, being careful that both ends are cut parrallel
  7. Glue the ends of the tree branch and install
  8. Add two nails and one finish screw to each end of the branch, pre-drill to prevent splitting
  9. If the top will be above eye-level, mount with L-brackets above top shelf, otherwise use a router to cut two keyholes in the top board and hang on wall.

9. DIY Entryway Shelf – Living Well On The Cheap {Tutorial}


This is a really nice looking entryway shelf with lots of coat storage. The simple design makes this shelf a great project to build your skills with.

The shelf in the (awesome) picture is screwed directly to the wall and the screws covered up (nicely). The only problem with that is removal down the road if you don’t want the shelf anymore, or if it breaks or becomes damaged.

The mounting hardware I linked to in idea #4 would probably work well here.

10. Beautiful Coat Hanger Shelf – Illustrated How-To – Remodeling Guy

Free Detailed Drawings for this Shelf at RemodelingGuy.net

Wow! What an amazing looking drawing. It must have taken real talent and effort to do that…

Free DIY Coathanger Shelf Drawings here on RG


  1. says

    Thanks for coming to take a look Charlotte! My good ole remodeling blog has been a wee bit dormant for awhile but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. Your quick comment is super-encouraging! Thanks again. – Tim

    Beautiful shelf by the way! I hope including it here sends some folks your way!

  2. Franki Parde says

    LUV # 4!! We just got back from Florida – drove past “your town” and said, “hi” “Remodeling Guy!” :) franki

  3. says

    Thank you Tim, for featuring my shelves here! (#7)

    I just wanted to let y’all in on a lil secret… I didn’t screw anything into the ceiling. Those top flanges are just sitting there looking good. We simply made sure to screw each shelf bracket into the studs, and it is holding up wonderfully!

    This is a lovely compilation of shelves here, it makes me want to build more! :)



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