Floating Shelves Offer Your Space a Streamline Look

 Photo by U.U. via Pixabay

Floating shelves offer your space a more streamlined look. Your walls seem less cluttered, which allows your focus pieces to take center stage.

Because floating shelves require less space than traditional shelves, you can put them anywhere all while maintaining your floor space below. They can be any length you choose — within reason. You can even work around more permanent features like a fireplace, doorway, outlet or window.

You’ll be surprised just how easy and affordable it is to install floating shelves and home much they’ll delight guests and prospective homebuyers alike. You’d expect something this elegant to require specialized tools and a lot of engineering knowledge to avoid collapse. But follow these simple steps and you’ll be enjoying your own in no time.

What you’ll need

  • Floating shelf brackets
  • 20mm paddle drill bit 
  • Electric drill – *Pro Tip* Borrow. Don’t buy unless you do projects like this frequently. 
  • Stain, poly & brushes
  • Palm sander
  • Your hardwood of choice – Poplar, oak, maple, walnut or cherry works great.

How to create floating shelves

Here’s your step-by-step guide.

Measure your space

Determine how large to make your shelves. To achieve a floating effect, avoid stopping them right at the edge of other features. Give it some space. 

*Pro tip* – Mom & Pop hardware and lumber stores will often cut the wood for you, so you don’t have to worry about getting a saw. 

Drill holes for brackets

Each bracket has two 6-inch steel rods. Measure the halfway point between them and mark the wood where it will be against the wall. Drill a 1" wide hole into each shelf edge, 7" deep.

Sand & stain

It’s time to sand and stain. This process is very straight forward. But do this outside because sawdust will fly everywhere. Sanding not only smooths any rough spots. It also helps the shelves hold a more even stain for a flawless finish. 

*Pro tip* Test your stain on an extra piece of the same wood. Stains can be unpredictable depending on the hue of the wood, how it absorbs the dye, etc. You may need to mix two stains to achieve the desired darkness and color.

Find the studs & install brackets

Install brackets directly into the studs, spaced apart to align with the holes that you drilled into your shelves so that the brackets slid easily into those holes.

Arrange your shelves

Place your shelves over the wall brackets. Because of their design, floating shelves can hold significant weight. But that defeats the purpose. Less is more on a floating shelf. So plan and arrange pieces that accentuate each other.

That’s how to build a floating shelf. Follow our blog for more helpful home maintenance and design tips.

DIY: Environmentally-Friendly Trellis

Image by Mark Dixon from Pixabay

Maybe it’s time to get your garden ready, or maybe you already have a few scraggly plants that need some support; but pre-made trellises can be both pricey and flimsey.  Instead of spending a lot to get a product that will fall apart after one, wet spring, why not make this sturdy trellis that can be used for years to come?  If you follow these plans, your final trellis will be 4′ 8" tall and 3′ 7" wide, fitting well into a four-foot, raised bed and will cost less than $15 to make.  

Read on to learn how to make this inexpensive and environmentally-friendly trellis for your garden!

Materials:

  • Five, 1" x 2" x 8′ boards
  • Small screws and nails
  • Four braces
  • Stakes made of rot-resistant wood, found at garden supply stores.  Redwood, cedar, cypress, hemlock or juniper stakes are good choices.
  • 100% cotton thread/yarn, 8 ply or similar

Directions:

  1. Cut four, 1" x 2" x 8′ boards, dividing them into 3′ 4" and 4′ 8" pieces.  Cut the remaining 1" x 2" x 8′ board into four equal pieces, each 2′ in length.
  2. Set up on blocks or 2x4s and screw the 3′ 4" and 4′ 8" pieces together to make a rectangular frame, pre-drilling holes to prevent splitting.
  3. Attach braces at all four corners.  To make a brace, you will need to cut a small piece of wood that will fit into all four corners.  To learn how to cut off square, check out this short instructional video here, or you can purchase four, pre-made braces.
  4. Drill pilot holes to attach the redwood stakes to the bottom of the trellis and screw together with significant overlap but enough to allow the stake to stick out approximately 6" below the trellis.  
  5. Drive small nails into the trellis frame at 6" intervals such that approximately 1/3" still sticks out of the wood.  Omit nails at the four corners.
  6. Tie the thread to the lowest nail on your frame and extend to its companion nail on the other side.  Pull the thread upwards to the next nail on the same side of the frame, then extend across the frame again.  Continue with this pattern until you have thread extended horizontally all the way up your trellis.
  7. When you reach the top, extend your thread from the last nail along the sides to the first nail at the top of the trellis, such that your thread lines up to the brace.  Repeat the process again, pulling the thread vertically this time.  At the end of the process, you should have a 6" x 6" grid throughout your trellis.
  8. Repeat steps 1-8 to create a second, identical trellis.
  9. Take your first trellis and place it in its intended location.  Then, gently hammer at the top so that the stakes are driven into the dirt.  Take your next trellis and measure two feet away from your first.  Hammer it in as previous.
  10. Drill pilot holes and attach the trellis frames together with one of your 2′ pieces of wood near the top of the trellis.  Repeat on the opposite side.  If desired, attach the trellis frames together a second time, 2′ lower on your frame, using your remaining two, 2′ pieces of wood.
  11. Weave any existing plants into the structure of your trellis.
  12. When growing season is over, simply cut the string away from the frame and compost the 100% cotton string and plants together!  You can unscrew the 2′ pieces to lay your trellis flat for winter storage or keep it in place in your garden for next year.

Make an Adirondack Chair

Image by Susan Lowry Hare from Pixabay

Adirondack chairs are popular on decks and for outdoor living, though they also look great in a rustic living room or cabin!  Rather than being straight-backed and uncomfortable, their design make them a joy to sit in.  However, a finished Adirondack chair can up to $700 dollars, whereas materials will run you between $50 and $150 depending on the wood you choose to use. Check out how to make your very own Adirondack chair by following the instructions below.

Note: you will need a miter saw and a jigsaw to complete this project.

Materials

Lumber

  • One 2" x 2" x 6′ footboard
  • Three 2" x 4" x 8′ footboards
  • Four 1" x 4" x 8′ footboards
  • Hardware

  • 2-inch screws
  • 2-inch deck screws
  • 4-inch deck screws
  • 1 1/2-inch deck screws or exterior screws
  • Other

  • Wood glue
  • Directions

    A) Cutting the planks to size

    1. For the stretcher boards
      Cut two 2 x 4s such that the long end measures 31 7/8".  One end should be cut to 20o off of square at the shortest point; the other end should be cut to 35off square at the longest point. Then, mark off 2" on the 20o square end and cut at a right angle (90o) to your 20o cut. 

      If you aren’t sure how to measure a certain number of degrees off of square, check out this quick how-to here

    2. For the legs
      Cut two, 2" x 4" planks to 20 3/4".  Cut both ends parallel, 15o off square.  These will be the back legs.  For the front legs, cut two, 2" x 4" planks to 20" long.
    3. For the seat
      Cut five, 1" x 4" planks to 22 1/2".
    4. For the arms of the chair:
      Cut two, 1" x 4" planks to 27".
    5. For the arm rest support:
      Cut two, 2" x 2" planks to 26 1/2".  Cut one end at 15o off square.
    6. For the back support and front apron:
      Cut two2" x 4" planks to 22 1/2".
    7. For the back slats:
      Cut five1" x 4" planks to 36".
    8. For the top support section:
      Cut one, 1" x 4" board to 19 1/2".
    9. For the base support section:
      Cut one2" x 4" board to 19 1/2".

    B) Building the legs

    1. Using 2 1/2" deck screws, attach both back and front legs to an arm support, keeping the outside and top edges even.  Use clamps and wood glue for additional stability.
    2. Turn the front leg such that the arm support faces downward on your bench, and elevate off the bench using 2x4s.  Measure 13 3/4" from the base of your front leg on the left-hand side, and mark.  On the same leg, measure 1/2" horizontally and mark.   Line up your stretcher such that the 20o off of square side lines up with your two marked measurements.  The 35off square side should now line up to the base on the right.  Fix in place with 2 1/2" deck screws.  Use wood glue for additional stability.
    3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make your second leg.
    4. Using 2 1/2" deck screws and wood glue, attach the front apron such that it lines up with the stretcher board on each side.

    C) Making the seat

    Drill two pilot holes on each side of your seat slats, using a countersink bit to keep the wood intact.  Line up on the top of the stretcher and screw into place using the 2" screws, being sure to put a 1/2" gap between each slat.  Do not use wood glue on the seat slats; they will naturally move more than the rest of the chair.
    Note: it helps to lay out all the slats first, screwing in the outermost slats before the others and adjusting as you go, so that the spacing is right.

    D) Making the back

    1. Turn the chair upright with the back towards you.  You will note that the back support board is wider than width of the legs to which it must be affixed.  Attach the back support to both of the back legs at an angle, such that the distal side is pointed upward and the proximal side is pointed downward until flush with both sides.  Use 2 1/2" deck screws and wood glue to affix.
    2. Attach the back slats as you did the seat slats in Part C: 1/2" apart, using 2" screws at the base but with 1 1/4" exterior screws at the top.  Do not use wood glue on the slats, as they will naturally need a bit more flexibility.  
      Note: it helps to lay out all the slats first, screwing in the outermost slats before the others and adjusting as you go, so that the spacing is right.
    3. Using a bucket, trash bin, or other large, circular item as a guide, draw an arc at the top of your back slats.  Then, using your jigsaw, make the cut.
    4. Slide the finished back into place in your chair.  Secure with 2 1/2" deck screws.  Finally, screw the chair back into the back support with 2" deck screws.

    Finishing touches

    1. Finish the chair by screwing the armrests into the arm supports using 2" deck screws and wood glue, clamping into place.  
    2. After all your glue has cured as per the instructions on your wood glue, sand any jagged edges, particularly the top of the chair back.
    3. Finally, paint or spray with at least two coats of finish: a clear coat if you really like the look of your wood.

    Gardening DIY: How to Incorporate Concrete Pavers into Your Garden & Walkway

    Image by Bronisław Dróżka from Pixabay

    For anyone who is intimidated by the idea of working with garden pavers, for those who may think they are tools only for professionals experienced in masonry, be assured that you too can beautify your garden and yard with these smooth finishing touches.  Perfect for taming and refining wild, overgrown areas, concrete pavers are easily customizable building blocks for framing or accenting outdoor spaces.  And making a permanent commitment or leaving the option to change it up is all up to you–in most cases using grout is optional depending on the purpose and look you’re going for. 

    Rock Garden Borders

    To complement any small trees in your yard, you can dot the area surrounding the base of the tree with smaller plants and flowers, either potted, in the ground or both.  Creating freeform borders allows you to build around the existing trees and plants, and curved lines give your yard a flowing atmosphere.  Concrete pavers serve this purpose especially well since many styles offer interlocking shapes or flat edges that can be tightly lined up against each other to hold in mulch, natural stones, gravel, or other attractive fillers.  

    Planter Pedestals

    Flat-edged pavers or designs with interlocking shapes offer an easy way to elevate potted plants and keep them out of the dirt, upright, and steady.  Set a few pavers together on either side of the front door or at the entrance to your garden and place a potted plant on top.  Giving plants some extra height adds interest and spotlights them as welcoming touches.

    Stepping Stones

    If you enjoy having a fair amount of lawn space and particularly if you live out in the country, having a beautiful yard to curate usually comes with the price of tracking dirt into your house.  Use concrete pavers to form a natural, neutral walkway in the hue and shape of your choice, or arrange several together to create stepping stones to your front door.  Both solutions help keep dirt off of shoes on the way in and don’t take up much of your yard.  

    Border For Your Outdoor Kitchen

    For sheds, pet houses, or even outdoor kitchens made of wood, the sides collect dirt and sand, particularly in seasons of stormy weather.  Concrete pavers let you easily build a border around these structures to beautifully frame them as well as help protect them from dirt and dust.  You can also add a stepping stone pathway to the building that matches its border.

    Border For Garden Beds

    Evoke the ambiance of an English garden by filling unused garden space with concrete pavers.  Line the ground beneath first with weed prevention cloth if your garden is especially prone to weeds; without grout you will likely still get some growth between the stones anyway but, when well maintained, adds to the rustic look.