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40+ DIY Shelves You Make This Weekend

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Whether you’re just getting started with DIY and looking for an easy project, or you need to add some more function and storage to your home, DIY shelves are a great weekend project.

The great thing about DIY is that you can customize your projects to fit your space exactly–both in terms of size and style. But is it cost-effective?

"the best DIY shelves" text overlay on collage of DIY shelves

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Is it cheaper to build your own shelves?

Yes. 9 times out of 10, it’ll be cheaper to build your own shelves than to buy them. For example, you can get this shelf at World Market for $80 for just the shelf–it doesn’t come with the hardware to actually hang the shelf.

Or you can buy a 2x10x8 board from Lowe’s for $16 and make not one, but 2 shelves. Even if you add in $20 for stain and sealer, you can make 2 shelves for about half the cost of a pre-made single shelf.

Maybe you want the look of marble shelves instead of wood. Well, you could buy a 2′ shelf for $40, or you could buy a piece of 8′ lumber for $10 and a roll of contact paper for another $10 and build 4 shelves for $20.

How do I make my own shelves?

Throughout this post, we’ll have links to specific tutorials for 40+ different shelf ideas, but you can build a simple wood shelf in just a few hours.

What you’ll do is buy lumber and cut it down to the length that you want your shelves to be. Sand it down with 120, 180, and 220 grit sandpaper, and then stain and seal it to get your desired look.

Once it’s dry, you have your shelves made! Simple as that. To hang them up, you can use some brackets that screw into your wall and into your shelf.

How thick should wood be for shelves?

When selecting wood for shelves, you’ll want to get wood that is at least 3/4″ thick (aka 1x lumber). If you prefer a thicker-looking shelf, you can opt for 1.5″ lumber (aka 2x boards).

If you want a chunkier-looking shelf than a 2x board provides, you can also build a shelf from 2x4s and then frame it out using 1/2″ plywood.

How much weight the shelves will support will depend on things like how long the shelf is and what brackets are used to hang the shelves, but if you build with 1x or 2x boards, you should have a functional shelf.

If you’re curious how far a shelf can span without support, check out this sag calculator. Just enter a few details about your shelves and it’ll let you know how much it might sag. If it sags more than 1/32″ of an inch, you might want to add another support and run the calculator again.

Alright, now that we’ve talked a little bit about DIY shelves, let’s dive into all of the shelf ideas and tutorials!

There are so many different types of DIY shelves that you can add to your home: from wall shelves to built-ins in closets and specific things like plant shelves. We'll start with basic wall shelves and then dive into the other types.

DIY Wall Shelves

These wall shelves are simple to build and great for displaying decor in any room of your house. Find your favorite style and then click over to the full tutorial to start building.

DIY Built-In Shelves

From living room built-ins to DIY closet shelving, we've got you covered. Built-ins are a great way to customize a space and add value to your home!

Other Shelves

We've covered wall shelves and built-ins, but there are still so many other types of shelves. Let's take a look at some other unique shelf designs.

There you have it! 40+ DIY shelf tutorials that you can tackle this weekend. Well, you can tackle one or two of them. I don’t think you could do them all in a single weekend 😉

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