I made it… without my Hubby!

I have to tell you about this great little party they are having over at Shanty2Chic.

Isn’t that the cutest button?

And they are giving away a pink hammer! I sooo want that.

This is one of my very favorite blogs! These sisters are stinkin’ adorable and amazingly creative!

My sister wanted to do a blog with me, but to be real honest, she’s lacking a little in the creativity department, if you know what I mean! (Love ya, sis.)

Since Mom became sick, I haven’t been able to do any new projects, so I asked them if I could share one of my golden oldies.

They said, “yes!”

Now if you follow me and you have already seen my Cafe Shelf tutorial, then read no further.

Just head on over to the party and check out other great projects done by some wonderful do-it-yourselfers! Click HERE to visit.

If you are new to my blog, then WELCOME and keep on reading….

I am going to share with you how you can make your VERY OWN Ballards Design-style cafe shelf for a fraction of what it costs in the magazine.

Here’s my inspiration…

Aren’t they beautiful? Well, they are expensive too! They range from $99.00-$139.00!

I wanted some of these shelves in my kitchen, so I told my hubby and he made me some…


Didn’t he do a good job? I posted about that project here.

So why am I posting about them again, you ask?

Because of a comment left by a viewer on Lorie’s blog, Be Different…Act Normal. She has a great little blog that highlights a ton of adorable ideas. She posted about my cafe shelves, which you can see here.

Someone left a comment on her post that caught my eye. It said, “The key phrase is :”her husband made these for her”. Not going to happen at my house.”

It got me thinking….

Yes, I am very lucky that I have a husband that likes to make things like this for me. And I know that there are a lot of ladies in blogland that do not live with a carpenter!

So can a woman make this shelf by herself? YES, she can!

I’m going to show you how! And I am going to do it all by myself!

Here is what you need:

*1×8 piece of pine (because it is the least expensive)

*a piece of trim

*2 corbels

*hammer and finishing nails (or nail gun)

*Miter box and saw (or an electric miter saw)

*wood glue and wood filler

*tape measure

Lowes is my preferred place to shop, and it is just five minutes from my house.

But, Home Depot has a better selection of corbels. So I took pictures at Home Depot to show you the type of wood and trim you could buy.

I discovered that Home Depot had a better selection of corbels when we were making the cabinets for our guest house.

You can see posts about my guest house by clicking on the label in my sidebar.


Here is an example of the type of wood you will need for your shelf.


You can get a 1×12 or 1×8 piece depending on how deep you want your shelf.


The piece above is 8 inches deep, like the ones in my kitchen. However, you cannot stack dinner plates on my shelves, so if you want to put plates on yours, you may want to go with a 1×12 piece.

You need to decide how long you want your shelves, 3 feet, 4 feet, etc. You could probably make two shelves from this one piece of wood that is only $5.83!

HERE’S A TIP….Let the workers at Home Depot cut the boards the length you want them so you don’t have to! It’s FREE!

Tell them you want them to cut it 3 feet long (or however long you need it), and they’ll do it for you!

Then you need to find your trim. You can pick whatever type you like at this point. But here is an example of what mine looks like.


It’s $1.04 per linear foot. I think this piece is about 8 feet long, so it would cost about $8.00.

Here is the one I already had at home that my husband got at Lowe’s.


It has a little fancier shape on the bottom, but I couldn’t find one like it at Home Depot. They may have it, but it was late and I had my two year old with me, so I may have missed it. :0)

Then you can pick out your corbels.

There are a bunch of choices, so you can pick the ones you like best.




Since the shelf I am making for my giveaway is smaller, I used the littlest corbel which cost $5.25 a piece.


So, If I bought all of these pieces, I would have spent less than $25.00.

Now, if you get the workers at Home Depot to cut your board, you only have to cut the trim pieces at home.

Some of you may be comfortable using power tools, and some of you may not. If not, I wanted to show you how to use a miter box and saw. This will allow you to cut a trim piece at a 45 degree angle without using an electric miter saw.

You can get the miter box by itself for less than $5.00.


If you don’t have a saw, you can get them both for less than $8.00.

IMG_3143 If you don’t have finishing nails, you will need to get some like these…


I already had these at home so I am not sure of the cost.

Again, I am using a board and some trim that we already had, but I bought the corbels.


My board was 28 inches long. Yours can be bigger if you’d like.


So to start, I cut one end of my trim at a 45 degree angle.

You can use the miter box for this.


Or the electric saw…this thing scares me to death!


You can swing the handle from side to side depending at what angle you need to cut the trim.


I cut the trim on one side and then lined it up on board to mark the other end.


Here’s the other end…See how I just marked it where the corner of the board meets the trim?


When putting it on the saw, lower the blade slowly to see if the blade will line up on your pen mark. If it does, then cut away!


For the two small side trim pieces, you need to cut the trim flat on the ends. You can use the middle slot in the miter box for that (or use the electric miter saw).


Then I marked the point where the corner of the board meets the trim piece. See my little pen mark? That’s where you want the blade to hit when you cut the angle.


Then you “45” the side pieces to match the front trim piece. Again, using the miter box or electric miter saw.


Don’t worry if there are small gaps, we’ll fix those in a minute…

Here’s the other side…


Next, you want to apply wood glue to the trim pieces before nailing them on.

I used a stainable wood glue because that is what we already had. But you can use any kind.


Apply it to the shelf…


Then attach the trim piece with a nail gun…


Or a hammer and finishing nails…

(I am
using my upholstery hammer because my hubby’s hammer is at my parents’ house. He’s been installing a new shower for them.)


(Now I know what happened to my wood glue! That rascal!)

Repeat these steps with the remaining trim pieces.

We are almost finished girls!

Now you need to attach the corbels.

I measured 6 inches in on both sides, but you can place them wherever you want.


Make sure than you line up the back of the corbel and the shelf evenly.


I applied wood glue underneath the corbel and then hammered the nails in at an angle so they wouldn’t go through the top of the shelf. You may not have to worry about that if your nails are shorter than mine.


You could also use the nail gun for this part.

Now for the details…you will have little nail holes that need to be filled with wood filler.


I didn’t have wood filler at home, so I used white caulk.


It’s the kind you can paint.


Looks much better!


I also used the caulk to fill in any little cracks between the trim and wood.IMG_3179

And I’m finished…well, except for painting it!


This is the paint I used. I got it during the Glidden free paint giveaway, and of course I chose the color black!

But if you have some black spray paint around the house, I’m sure you could use that too.


Just paint away, baby!




And I did it without my hubby!!!!!



  1. You made it look so easy that I just may try this myself. Thanks for the detailed instructions. I've wanted something like this for my kitchen for a long time – not enough storage space – and in my older home they would look awesome. Great job!

  2. Hi Traci! I'm so impressed! I loved the shelves when I saw them the first time and I still love them! Great job on the tutorial!!!!!! You did a fantastic job on your shelf as well! Thanks for linking up with us tonight! ~Ashley

  3. Yay!! I was looking for this link and I'd lost it! I wanted to make these shelves for the party, I won't have time, but I can get them done before Christmas. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  4. Hey Traci. Great job and excellent tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to give us a step by step with photos. You've got that great can do spirit that encourages us all.

  5. Lucky you for having a helpful hubby! But, I am so impressed with you for taking on these shelves yourself! And this was an awesome DIY tutorial!! Thanks for linking up… LOVE it!!

  6. You did a fantastic job without your hubby! Whenever I do something like that while my guy's at work, I tell him I'v ebeen doing, "big boy stuff." :) Thanks for all of the detailed information. I think people will look at it and think they can do it themselves!

  7. Loving the corbels. I am trying to talk hubby into letting me add some to the ugly floating shelves in the living room. (Okay I'm not trying I'm just waiting until I have the money to buy a few).

  8. U R my hero!!!! I have been wanting to learn how to make shelves 4 ever!!! Love Ballards, but too spendy for my little ole budget. I just found your blog, will be back!!! Thank you, thank you!!!!

  9. I am so going to make some of those! I just need to finish up my kitchen project, and my dining room project, my stairway project…..you get the idea :-}…I have a lot of projects going at once and need to stay focused. Seeing projects like yours get me 'off track' (in a good way of course!).

  10. Great job Traci! I love that you literally showed every step (even what kind of wood to buy!) It looks like a very do-able project. The shelf looks fabulous. = ) Thanks for sharing.

  11. This by far is the most detailed version of building a shelf I have ever seen…Thank you so much for taking so much time in putting this together for us.
    Take Care,

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