Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cafe Shelves Tutorial

Happy Hump Day!  Over the last couple of months, I've received quite a few e-mails asking how I made the cafe shelves in our kitchen.  Sooo, I thought I'd take a moment to I share what I did! 

Honestly, I can't take any credit for how I made them.  I simply followed Traci's(Beneath My Heart) fabulous tutorial.  In fact, you can just go ahead and stop reading my post now and head on over to read her super easy-to-follow steps!  BUT, if you choose to keep reading my post first, here are my "ingredients:"

1 handsome hubby and friend/neighbor ("the handy fireman")
1 crazy decorator
3 kids
3 1x12s (that were cut by the nice folks at Home Depot down to 30" long)
2 long pieces of case molding of your choice
6 corbels of your choice
Miter Saw
Wood Glue
Finishing Nails
Zinsser Primer
150 sanding block
AS Old White chalk paint
AS clear wax
Hot Tub
Cocktail of your choice

First step was to convince handsome hubby and "the handy fireman" to take the cabinet down (oops, and, yes, folks you can see that I'm a lazy painter who never painted the inside of her cabinet doors):

While they did this, I set up shop in the garage with my supplies (having already primed my shelves). 

Once the cabinet was down, it looked like this (ugh):

I was worried that we were going to have to paint the entire 18' high wall all over again, but was pleasantly surprised that after my handsome hubby spackled and sanded, and I painted, you couldn't tell that we only painted the exposed dry wall (SW Ivoire)!

Now, the hardest part ... cutting the case molding, especially because I had never used a miter saw before!  After practicing on extra wood making the 45 degree cuts (and failing miserably), I decided to let the true *professionals* handle it ... kids rule!

Seriously, though, once I (and a neighbor) figured out which way to angle the saw in order for the corners to sit flush against one another, it went really smoothly (although, your arms will ache after you're done ... this is where the hot tub and a drink came in handy)!  LOL

After the cuts were made for each shelf, I simply added wood glue to the back of the longest piece of molding and pressed it against the front of the shelf.  While I held it, my hubby added five finishing nails.  We then did the same for each side piece (only adding three finishing nails to the side pieces).  

After that was complete, I added a fingertip full of spackle to each nail hole ... sanded after the spackle was dry and then painted the shelves with AS Old White chalk paint (propping each one up on various soup cans), followed by distressing and waxing.  I did the same to the corbels, as well:

After they were dry, it was time to hang them.  This was the second hardest part because I am OCD when it comes to measurements being exact (and I fail miserably getting said exact measurements on the first, second and even fifth *trys* (lol) ... that's when the frustation come into play.  In fact, I'm surprised that this picture isn't out of focus from my husband laughing at my use of "not so pleasant" language as he took the picture.  I ended up placing the corbels 7" apart.

After I mounted all of the corbels, I placed the shelves on top and added two flat head screws (one on each side towards the back, seated into the corbels) so that the shelves would sit firmly in place.  Once that was done, then came the fun part ... accessorizing!

Let's look back one more time ... BEFORE:

AFTER: Here is how they look today, with splashes of Easter added:

So, I leave you with this ... if there is a place ANYwhere in your home where you've wanted to add shelves or just a blank space and you're not sure *what* to add ... truly consider adding cafe shelves that you can build yourSELF.  If I can make them ... YOU can ... I promise (but, if you need to borrow my husband and/or Jax and his precious buddies, you may)!  LOL!  And, don't forget to check out Traci's tutorial (linked above)

Thanks for stopping by! 


  1. Love them! You are a girl after my own heart, every good DIY project needs a cocktail (sometimes during!)...Love how you have decorated them too :)

  2. Girl you crack me up!! I love the look of these shelves!

  3. LOL! You are hilarious! I'll make it easy on myself and just go with my handsome hubby/handyman and the cocktail! Works for me!

  4. They look great! My hubby hung some shelves over the weekend in the living room. I have space on both sides of a large china cabinet. It needed something??? Anyway, he hung a shelves. One on each side. Now to figure out what to put on them. I love vignettes but not too sure about what looks right, at least I can always keep it changed up.
    Anyway, you have a gorgeous home! The shelves really add a lot to the space! And a great place to do seasonal decor :)
    Sherry's Bees Nest

  5. They are pretty fabulous funny girl!

  6. I love them Becca! You guys did such a great job. I love how you've styled them too.

  7. Funny and informative post. Love the shelves.

  8. Well, you DID say one handsome husband but...what does The Fireman look like -just in case I need both of them for the job? Now, I'm assuming you climbed your aching body into that Jacuzzi with the handsome husband and NOT The Fireman?

    That turned out really nice. I remember when you did the first post on it and this is a great tutorial. Mitering things drives me crazy! xo Diana

  9. You are such a hoot Becca! :-) The shelves are just beautiful and you did such a good job and that was a great tutorial. Can I come over to your house? I've been using my miter saw today and I could use a good drink and that hot tub! LOL!

  10. Love those shelves! Thanks for the laugh too :o)

  11. Love those shelves! Thanks for the laugh too :o)

  12. I loved them the first time I saw them and still do! It's the perfect spot too. I'm also very impressed with your skill at using a level. :o)

  13. Great tutorial, Becca. I would love to attempt mitre cuts, but haven't worked up my nerve yet. It's a perfect spot for shelves! So much fun that you have a perfect spot for seasonal decorating too.

  14. Those are fabulous! I have the supplies sitting in my garage to make very similar shelves but it's now in line with the other projects, just waiting.

  15. Pretty! We are having our kitchen cabinets painted next week. Hooray!


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