I couldn't have done it without Kirby.
He is my handyman.
I showed Kirby THIS project I found, to see if it was something he thought he could do with the tools we have. In their tutorial they are testing out the Dremel Trio--which would be an awesome tool to have, but unfortunately we don't.
So we improvised.
We bought 1x2s in 6-foot lengths at Lowes (we bought the step up from pine, since they were less warped overall). It may have been poplar? But I can't remember, sorry!
In order to create the shallow groove for our "stuff" to rest in, and keep it from sliding off our shelves, Kirby ran the boards through a table saw (his dads--I wish we had room for one!) a couple times, adjusting the guide a tiny bit each time until the groove was the width we wanted. He just made sure the blade was nice and low so it only cut in between 1/8th and 1/4th inch. Old-school, yes, but very effective.
Here you can see the groove before we cleaned it up a bit. This board was run through once more to get rid of that little nub. You can make the grooves as deep and as wide as you want, depending on what it is you are planning on sticking on the shelves!
Next Kirby sanded them. Then came the painting. I opted for white, since I thought it would look nice against the blue paint of the wall behind the couch. But this is an area where you can get creative! You could do a bright pop of color, or you could even stain them.
No pictures of me painting. Or Kirby (he put on the first coat). Although, I assure you I looked very stylish out on our balcony/porch in my plaid pajama pants, Ugh boots, and old sweatshirt.
It was cold, okay?
Once the paint was all dry, it was time to stick 'em to the wall.
We used 3" screws so that they could go all the way through the shelf and into the studs.
Because of the position of our couch, the screws on the left side aren't the same distance from the end as the screws on the right. But once I paint them, who's gonna know? And I'll be honest. They don't even bug me all that much unpainted!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Are any of you perfectionists when it comes to hanging things level on the wall?
Try mounting a six-foot-long rail, which might even be a little bit warped.
Ha. I almost lost my mind. I started out with this plan:
Sort of a modified version of what was in the original tutorial.
The most important part is to get the bottom shelf level.
Measure up from the back of the couch, and make a mark where you want the bottom/top of your shelf. I recommend making the mark on the wall above the studs you will be screwing into. Once you have the two screws in, you can adjust the middle part of the shelf for any bowing that occurs.
From that point on, just measure up from the top of your lowest shelf to get your other shelf where you want it. Make sure you remember that you are measuring from the top of one to the bottom of the other. Or you could measure top to top. Just be consistent. And double and triple check your measurements!
When we mounted the third shelf up, Kirby forgot that we were measuring to the BOTTOM of the next shelf, and put the top of his end on the mark, and I put the bottom of my end on my mark. Ha. Easy fix, but it was rather perplexing for about 30 seconds. I was like, "That is NOT. LEVEL."
We mounted ours about 9" apart. They're not all exactly that far apart, but you can't tell.
The most important thing is to make sure they are level.
Yes, my child was rather unhappy for some reason.
You can see how the screws on the right side are a couple inches farther in from the right end than the left screws are.
As I mentioned before, I still need to paint the screws. I'm planning on painting them very carefully with an art paintbrush. I want to make sure we can still get a screwdriver into them to get them out when we move!
Once the shelves are up on the wall, all that is left is to fill them!
Here was my inspiration photo:
They used primarily postcards, I think.
I opted to mount photographs on foam board.
Plus one fabulous postcard from Ireland! Thanks, Liz!
I printed various sizes (8x10, 6x8, 5x7, 4.5x7, 7x10) so that the height of the images would vary. I cut out the foam board with my rotary cutter. If I was going to do it again, I would get a fresh blade. I think mine was pretty dull from all the coupon cutting I used to do with it.
I mounted the photos with a spray adhesive I got at JoAnn's. Worked like a charm. I even got an adhesive which, depending on how you apply it, can be reused.
I can carefully pull the photos off, and simply stick a new image on! Pretty awesome. I'll find out how well that works once I actually swap some pictures out.
So there you have it.
Just think of the fun you can have with this! Holidays--stash all the usual stuff and fill it with themed stuff! If you tend to get lots of wedding announcements all at the same time, stick them up there instead of on the fridge! It's a great option for displaying kid's artwork, too! Or... license plate covers? The possibilities are endless! :)