Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Couch Shelf DIY

Fun stuff is still happening all over our house. I'm not sure that I'll ever actually declare my house "done". I'm having too much fun working on things!

A few months ago one of my projects was to put a shelf up behind our couch and I'm a huge fan. This idea came to me ages ago when we put our couch in front of the window but I didn't get around to it until this fall. But now that it's done I can't believe that I waited this long.

This was a pretty simple, and inexpensive, project in the grand scheme of things but fairly time consuming. There's lots of quick steps with downtime between them so it's good for a weekend at home. It made a big impact in the room though and I love having it there to hold my water bottle. And, let's be honest, lots of other things too.

I threw together a semi tutorial for you. Nothing very detailed but here's what I ended up doing.

For this project I used:

1x6x8 pine board
3 shelf brackets
2 shelf screw sets
paint brushes

A couple of general notes: 
Always make sure that you wipe down the board before priming or painting it. That gets rid of any dust or hairs that might land on it while you're not working on it.

And always make sure to read the directions on the cans before starting this project. Different materials have different dry and re-coat times and you want to make sure your project always gets as much drying time as the manufacturer says is necessary! I find it helpful to take notes on what time I finish a coat so that I know when I can start the next one.

Step 1: Sand and prime shelf.

This step was definitely the fastest for me. Because I wanted a shelf for behind my couch I didn't cut my board. But if you wanted a shorter shelf or two you could certainly cut this down to size. I've heard that some hardware stores will cut them for you when you buy them but I've never tested that out myself. Make sure that you have enough brackets for your project. If you're doing multiple shelves then you'll need at least two per shelf.

Once your board is the right length, sand the shelf lightly with fine grit sandpaper and then put a thin coat of primer on the shelf. I primed, and painted, all sides/edges of the shelf because I knew they were going to be visible. But if you're planning on hanging the shelf somewhere where no one will see the bottom then you can just do the parts that will be seen.

Step 2: Paint board with 1-2 coats of desired color

I used what was left of a paint sample container in a smokey blue. It was a basic flat latex paint and I diluted it very slightly with water to help make the brush strokes less visible. I'm not sure that was really necessary but it turned out well. I put two coats of paint on my shelf because one coat didn't give very good coverage. Maybe if I had not diluted the paint it would have worked better. I really don't know.

 Step 3: Coat shelf with polycrylic

Once again how many coats of sealant you choose to do it totally up to you. I went with three on the tops and sides and one on the bottom. I wanted all surfaces of the shelf to be sealed because I planned to put drinks and food on the shelf. If you're using it for decoration only you might not even need the polycrylic at all!

Step 3: Hang your shelf!

I don't have a lot of particular guidance about hanging your shelf. Most of it's up to you: where you want it, what it's function is going to be, etc. For me, I wanted it under the windowsill but not touching the couch top. I knew I'd be using it to hold all kinds of things: books, mugs, my knitting, and snacks for sure. And because I wanted it by the couch I knew that it had the potential to be climbed on by child visitors so I wanted it to be very strong. We ended up going with three shelf brackets, each of which is mounted into a stud. A pair is rated at 100lbs so the shelf should be able to hold any sized kid who might want to perch on it! (Or some some adults for that matter!)

Also, make very, very sure to get all your marks level. I wouldn't just eyeball this since you're putting weight on it. You wouldn't want anything to fall on your head while you were napping!

Step 4: Enjoy!

All in all, this was as easy as I hoped it would be! I worked on it off and on over the course of a week or so while I was home and it came together just like I envisioned. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I'll answer what I can. Happy projecting!

My cozy corner


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