DIY kitchen shelf

Tidy Up

Keep essentials in reach with a functional open shelf. Your daily-use items have never looked so good or been so convenient.

This easy-to-make decorative shelf can become a spot for graduated jars, a row of cookbooks or your favorite spices. Assemble it in an hour or two using premade wooden shelf brackets and three pieces of 1×4-inch lumber for the shelf deck. Most home centers will cut your materials to size. Hang mugs on S hooks slipped over a long wood dowel. Finish the piece to match your kitchen cabinets.


  • 1×4 lumber
  • ¾-inch-diameter hardwood dowel
  • 2 Foster Decorative Millwork 95/8×13/4×95/8-inch Wood Arched Corbel, from Home Depot
  • Screws
  • Minwax oil-based stain in Dark Walnut
  • Rag
  • Polyurethane
  • Foam brush
  • 2-inch zinc-plated S-hooks, from Home Depot


  • Tape measure
  • Power saw
  • Sandpaper—coarse-, medium- and fine-grain
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • ¾-inch drill bit
  • Square


Begin by measuring the area where you want to hang your shelf. Determine the best dimension for the shelf, both length and width. Cut three pieces of 1×4 to length for the shelf. (Many home centers and hardware stores will make cuts for you.) Cut the wooden dowel to the same length. Sand all wood pieces until smooth, working from coarse to fine-grain sandpaper.

To hang the dowel, each corbel needs a hole through its side near the top front. Mark a point about 2 inches in from the front and ¾ inch down from the top of each corbel. Drill a ¾-inch hole through the side of each corbel at the mark.

Mark a straight line 2 inches from each end of a 1×4 shelf board. Set a corbel on its back. Place the 1×4 board against the corbel top, just as the board will sit when the shelf is constructed. The corbel should be just inside one of the straight lines on the board. Press the corbel tightly against the board to create a flush edge where the backs of the board and corbel meet. Secure with one screw, driving it through the center of the shelf board and into the center of the corbel top. Repeat on the opposite side of the 1×4 with the other corbel.

Place a second 1×4 shelf board against the first 1×4, making sure the ends are flush. Secure the board to the corbel with one screw, as was done for the first board. Repeat with third 1×4. Stain all assembled piece and dowel to desired darkness, following manufacturer’s directions. Let dry. Seal with polyurethane following manufacturer’s directions. Let dry completely.

Push dowel through one corbel. Slide desired number of S-hooks onto dowel. Continue sliding dowel through second corbel, making ends flush with shelf. If dowel is not snug, glue in place. Mount completed shelf using mounting hardware included with corbels.

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