Y'all I'm SO proud of how these turned out! We are not "handy" people, don't own tons of tools, but this project looks so good that I feel like I could build my own house now. Haha.
I'll give you the run down on how we went about building the shelves. Forgive the crappy progress pictures. We did a lot in the evening and it was hard to get a good shot!
Here are the items we used:
Shelves: 3/4" maple plywood, in desired size.
Supports: 1x2" boards (but would have used 1x3" boards if we did it again)
Bottoms: 1/4" maple plywood, same size as shelf
Faces: 1x4" boards (which we cut to length with our jigsaw)
Stain: we used Rust-oleum in the color "Kona"
2" wood screws
1" wood screws
Dark small wood screws
Now, we don't own a big powerful saw. The most exciting thing we have is a jigsaw and that will not work for these big pieces. So, I got all the wood at Lowe's and had the guys cut the shelves and bottoms to size for me. They charge $0.25 per cut after 2 cuts, I believe, so it's totally worth it to let them do it.
Then simply attached them with wood screws to make the "U" shape frame.
We wanted a distressed look to our shelves, so we went at the wood with golf clubs, hoes and hammers to beat them up a bit. We made sure to sand down any really uneven pieces we created, then wiped them all off before staining.
I couldn't participate in the staining part, since I'm pregnant and the fumes were so strong, but the hubs did a great job.The stain turned out beautiful, I think. The hubs used a brush on the shelves and ended up using a rag on the fronts. He says he wishes he had just used the rag on all of it, because it went on a bit thinner. You don't need to distress the bottoms, but they do need to be stained.
Once the stain is dry, you'll need a coat of polyurethane. We used a spray kind that's easy to apply. After that is dry it's time to hang! Now the reason I didn't mention staining the supports, is because it's unnecessary. When we started, we thought we would just do shelves and not box them in, then changed our minds. (That's why I say use wider support pieces, too.) Make sure your "U" shape frame is level all around and screw into the studs, using 2" wood screws.
Here, you'll see what we did and what I recommend. We ended up with the 1x2", then another little 1" spacer to make it deep enough for the "box" of the shelf. Now, I would just get a 1x3" and be done with it!
When you're done hanging all the supports, put the shelves on top and screw into the supports with 2" wood screws. Next is the bottom, using 1" wood screws. Lastly, using wood glue and brads, install the faces. Now, we knew going in that our walls weren't exactly square. (Thanks, builder!) Because of this, we waited to cut the fronts until everything else was installed. We knew about how long we needed, but we wanted to make sure they fit perfectly to the edge. We used the jigsaw to cut those pieces to size before staining them.
And here is the finished product!
We finished just in time to put out some Easter decor!
I got pretty much all of the decorations for the shelves from Hobby Lobby.
Our total was about $200 for all the wood, stain, polyurethane, screws, etc. Our shelves are 44" wide by 21" deep, so if you're filling a smaller space, it would be cheaper. Regardless, our builder wanted $1,500.00 for built-ins that looked dated to me. I'm really happy with our $200 version and am so proud of us for doing the work!