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Simple Shelf Project

As an Air Force veteran myself, married to an Air Force Pilot, we have a lot of military memorabilia. In an effort to not let it completely take over the house, I'm pretty particular about what gets put out, and what goes into storage. One of the things that always stays out are the model aircraft. Only one is mine, but the rest are my husbands. They mean a lot to him, and I'm happy to put them out!

Originally they were clumped together on a bookshelf in our living room. The bookshelf became a dropping ground for just about everything... birthday cards, extra chargers, photo albums, random books, and the models. It was all collecting dust so when I decided to rearrange the living room I needed a new home for everything.

Living Room Bookshelf

One of the places we keep most of the military momentos is in our Den/Bar area. There are lots of great photos in there of my husband (and his dad) flying, hubby's and my Air Force Academy diplomas, and some military art. I knew this was the perfect place for the airplanes to live, but I didn't know where!

There was a big open space above the windows that I thought would be a perfect place for a long, deep shelf.

I used nice 1x2 whitewood boards, a 1/2" sheet of birch plywood ripped to 16" widths (nice side down), and 2" drywall screws. The L Brackets are 16" deep, and 12" tall. I wanted the shelves to be rustic, so I left the screw heads showing, which is why I chose drywall screws because they are black (versus bronze construction screws, yellow deck screws or silver wood screws). I left all screw heads out, and didn't finish the joints to keep with the rustic theme.

Shelf Brackets

The shelves are 12' 2" long, and 17" deep. I joined the plywood on the top using two of these mending plates, which you'll never see from the bottom. The L supports provide enough stability, as well as the 1x2's around the edges, and I wasn't putting a ton of weight on the shelves so this is good enough for our purposes. I first secured the edge boards with 2" brads, using my Milwaukee Nailer, and wood glue. I love this nailer because it doesn't require an air compressor which makes it totally portable - and I don't have to worry about dragging an air hose behind me. I stained she shelves using Jacobean stain by Minwax.

Mending Plates on Top of Shelves

I had many of the materials on hand, so the only things I had to buy were the drywall screws, and 4 1x2's - not a bad project for $25! Construction took about 2 hours, plus time for staining and drying. For construction I used my Impact Driver, Miter Saw, and Circular Saw.

I love how they turned out! My only complaint is the spacing of the L brackets, but the window isn't centered on the wall, and I wanted the brackets into studs, so my OCD had to take a back seat on this one. I have some Remote Operated Battery LED Lights to put up on the shelves for better lighting, and will update the post when they arrive!

Completed Shelves

If you make your own shelving, I'd love to see! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @PearlsNCotton and I'll be sure to share on my page!

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