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Tutorial for Making a Wood Bathroom Shelf

We needed some storage in our small bathroom so I came up with a shelf design after I came across Shanty-2-Chic’s website and saw their bathroom shelf (thank you for the inspiration)!

Unlike their shelf I had 3/4″-thick boards to work with and their shelf actually hangs from a coat hanger but my rope/hanger is solely for decoration (I put brackets on the back for hanging).

This shelf is made out of pine and super lightweight and simple to make.  The shelves are wide enough to fit large towels (I roll ours) and enough space in between shelves for taller objects.

I figure you could make one of these for under $25, including wood, rope, screws and mounting hardware!


Dimensions: 30-1/2″ tall by 21-1/2″ wide by 7″ deep (you can easily customize your own dimensions, too)

Materials and Tools Shopping List:
1-in x 8-in x 12-ft Pine Board ($9 @ Home Depot) actual dimensions 3/4″ x 7-1/2″ x 12′
Metal mounting hardware (for hanging)
Decorative knob or bracket (for rope to “hang”)
Sisal rope 30-inch piece 3/8″ diameter
6 2-inch wood screws 
Drill bit for wood screws
5/16″ drill bit for rope
Countersink (recommended)
Wood Glue

Wood Clamps
Measuring Tape
Safety Glasses
Table Saw

Cut List: 
1- 21-1/2″ x 7″ board – BOTTOM
2- 20″ x 6″ boards – SHELVES 
2- 29-3/4″ x 5″ boards – SIDES
1- 20″ x 1-1/2″ board – BACK RAIL

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire instructions before beginning and make any adjustments/changes according to what you need. Take precautions to cut boards safely.

Sides: cutting dados, notches for back rail and holes for rope
Shelves: notching sides to fit into dados

Make notches in both narrow ends of shelves with a jigsaw.  The notch should be 1/2″ in from the side and 5″ from back end.

CAUTION: For sides make sure you are making them mirror images of each other!

 Top end of sides:

Bottom end of sides:
Make your dados using your table saw by setting the blade 1/4″ high.  Set the fence so your dado will start 10-1/2″ from each end of your boards.  Adjust fence little by little to make several cuts, creating a 3/4″-wide dado.  TIP: test fit your shelf pieces as you go to make sure they will fit snuggly.

Cut notches for back rail (this is where you need to make sure you are making them mirror-images of each other).  Your notch should measure 6-inches down from the top and be 1-1/2″ long and 3/4″ deep (best way would be to use your actual rail as a template and trace around it).

Drill holes in your sides for the rope using a 5/16″ drill bit.  It should be about 1-1/2″ down from the top and centered over your board, so about 2-1/2″ in from each side.

Test fit all your pieces.  If they fit you can sand everything and start assembly!

Glue your shelves inside your dados.  Make sure to brush your glue on all touching edges.  Clamp.

Set your back rail inside notches on your sides.  Pre-drill a hole on each end for wood screws and countersink.
Attach your bottom using your 4 remaining wood screws (pre-drill and countersink holes), going in from the bottom…

…if your sides are centered over your bottom you should have about a 3/4″ gap on each end of your bottom.

Bottom view.

Attach your hardware on the back for hanging.

My hardware required that I drill out some wood underneath for the head of the screw to sit inside.

 Hang your shelf up and then attach your rope and decorative “hanger” (mine was off an old sewing cabinet)!

 I used nails in the sides of my shelves just as decoration.

 The white you see in all the corners is just for looks.  It’s vinyl spackling!  Super easy to wipe in, let dry and then I actually use a wet towel to wipe it down as far as I want or it also sands well.

One more project… DONE!
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1 Comment

  • Reply Britt-Marie

    Amazing Dani! You always make everything look so easy! We could really use one of these.

    June 21, 2014 at 12:32 am
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