DIY Floating Shelves

First off, please excuse the crummy before shots. Blame my phone! Anyway, I’ve been in need of some office organization for a while. I just had boxes and papers everywhere. Ok, im slightly embarassed to show this… but this is what my office was looking like for weeks:

Yikes! I know! We just didnt have a filing cabinet so we had stacks of papers everywhere and there just wasnt enough space in there for everything. Thanks to my DIY vintage trunk filing cabinet, I’m halfway to organization!  So i also decided i needed some more shelving space. So on the far right wall, i switched out that small wooden shelf for a larger vintage metal one (you’ll see it in the after pictures). And i decided to make floating shelves!

I have small floating shelves from Target but they are very poorly made and easily pull screws out of the wall. I really wanted to make something more substantial. Since i follow Young House Love everyday, i knew where i needed to go. Ana White did a floating shelf how-to on their site over here so i went to check that out. If you dont know either of those bloggers, you definitely need to check them out. Anyway, so on the how-to, Ana put together a digital guide to show you how to build them. I went with this concept because its a really solid construction and goes directly into studs. Since my wall was a lot smaller, i went with 4ft shelves instead of 6. The three graphics/images below are by Ana White!

I just really liked the simplicity of these shelves and the solid construction of them so i went to work! Go to the step by step how to for details.

I also got to use my fancy Laser guided Miter Saw for the first time on this project! Woot! Maybe one of the best gifts we got on the registry. And my favorite part? It was one of Kenny’s friends that got it for him so that he could actually have something as a wedding gift too… little did he know it was actually for me 🙂 Of course, as always… i had to use my (teeny tiny) side porch to use this sucker. Cant wait for a garage.

Once i had all my wood cut, nailed, glued and all put together, it was time to paint! Since I painted these shelves the same grey (That was Kennys vote instead of “boring white”) as the vintage chest so it made sense to paint them at the same time.

Here is what i used:

  • Paint – Olympic All in one paint + primer in semi gloss
  • Minwax Polycrylic protective finish
  • Small foam roller (get a high quality dense foam. trust me, its worth it)
  • Paint tray
  • screwdriver

The trick is to do multiple THIN layers. Lay it on thick and you’ll get lots of bubbles and drips. Eww. So here it is after 2 thin layers.  For these you dont need an angled brush so pretend thats not there. Here are the shelves after one thin layer. I did three layers for these guys and didn’t take much paint at all. I used one quart for these three shelves and the vintage trunk. And then spilt the rest on the carpet. but thats another story.

I threw them up on the wall to check how well they were spaced, if they were balanced, etc.

Im going to be honest because, well… thats what blogs are for. This project was a horrible pain in the butt. Lets just put together a list of all the things that went wrong:

  • Since i dont have the best set up to cut plywood, i had them cut it in the store. Which they cut horribly wrong. So i had to go buy more plywood from a different shop. Which also cut them wrong.
  • The 1X2s were just slightly warped (though they were the straightest i could find in the store) which made one of the entire shelves horribly warped so i had to go buy more 1x2s.
  • i used my fancy new miter saw to cut the 1X2s and smashed the crap out of my thumb. thankfully i didnt cut it off.
  • Since i dont have a nail gun, to nail the plywood on the 1x2s i had to nail them by hand. smashed the crap out of my thumb. again.
  • The screws i used initially would BREAK OFF INTO THE WALL. The metal was just too weak even thought they are wood screws. Yes, there are maybe 4 different screws stuck in the wall. (Dont tell my landlord) So i had to make new holes for new screws. Kennys dad just happened to have bad ass screws in his car so he gave me a handful of them. I just highly suggest spending extra on higher quality screws.
  • If you read over here, you already know that Maggie (the puppy) spilt the entire can of paint onto the drop cloth and seeped into our carpet (PLEASE, dont tell my landlord! Hopefully my landlord doesnt read this…)
  • Once they were all together and on the wall i realized they were sagging! Without even anything on them! I talked to my dad in law (aka carpenter extraordinaire) and he says to A. either use brackets or B. screw the right side into the wall. Because of the way these shelves are built, i cant go with B and A would make sense if i had solid shelves. They dont sag TOO much so i decided just to leave them as is and deal with the fact that they arent perfect. by any means.
  • I also used a filler that didnt do a good job at filling so theres about 57 blemishes. Im ok with it for the most part but they are very far from flawless.
  • They can’t hold much weight. Considering i needed to put boxes and books on them, basically this whole project ended in shelves for decoration. Which of course, im ok with but its not what i needed.
So to conclude… this was one of the most frustrating projects I’ve done. I think if i were to do this all over again, i would just go with solid wood and brackets. Thats not my ideal visually but they would be much sturdier and better for what i needed them for. If you want shelves that dont hold a ton of weight and just want them to look good, then go for it!

With all that said, i am happy how everything turned out. My office is much more clean and organized and its really been staying like that. Plus it was fun to decorate these beauties with some fun new artwork.

Oh, and I just got this cute shelf from Home Goods. Love it! It has that vintage feel and cute little drawers. Im a sucker for little drawers.

I’ll have the whole office before and after soon!



Label Addict

Ok i have to admit i went a little label crazy. pretty sure my husband thinks im nuts. So ive been working on our Vintage Trunk/coffee table/ filing cabinet and did a file overhaul. We just had so many papers everywhere, there was no organization to the chaos. But finally… ahhh… a breath of fresh air and organization. PLUS ITS PRETTY. Yes, i think my files are pretty. I’m actually excited to file away bills. I know, super weird. But come on… this is some organizational eye candy:

For those of you that  have a silhouette, i tend to print out 12 projects at a time and smush them all together… ok so this is only two projects but i added maybe 20 more words later on. The Recipes label is for my fancy new DIY Recipe box over here. Oh and incase you like the font i used for this project, its called ChunkFive and you can download it for free over here. When printing out text, i tend to get really chunky fonts especially if its smaller than three inches wide. After typing out the word, i turn down character spacing so that the letters are overlapping slightly and then i hit “weld” to make them one solid word. Makes it easier and  i like the look of it. So win win!

Then i went to Target and picked up some clear filing bins and these oh so cute filing folders. Initially I wanted to take the Vintage Trunk makeover and throw in some hanging file bars in there but when i saw these ins i thought it would be easier. Instead of hovering over a trunk all the time, if we need to organize or sort through personal stuff, we just grab the “personal” bin. Wham, bam, thank you organization.

Here you can see some of the categories. We have three main bins seperated into “Personal” “$$$” and “Other”. We basically threw everything onto the floor and started making piles. I should have taken a picture, it was pretty crazy. There were piles and sticky notes all over the place. Some things i didnt know what category it should have so i just started piling like items and thats how we came up with some random categories like “Non – profits” and “Church”. Those are items that usually arent in a filing cabinet but we had so much paperwork that it just made sense to make its own folder. So heres all the folders we have so far:


  • Kenny Personal (includes passport, IDs, birth cert, etc)
  • Rachel Personal (same)
  • Health – Kenny (medical bills, insurance info)
  • Health – Rachel
  • Pet info  (Shots, medical bills, etc)
  • Sponsorships (info on our sponsor kids, organizations, etc)
  • Non-profits (info on the multiple non profits we adore)
  • Utilities (electric bills, water bills, etc)
  • Employment Kenny (Resumes, transcripts, invoices)
  • Employment Rachel
  • $$$ (Bank info, student loans, credit cards)
  • Other Bills
  • Taxes (W2s, tax info)
  • Home (Rental info, insurance,etc)
  • Auto – BMW (maintenance, titles, insurance)
  • Auto – TC
  • Church (bible studies, classes, membership info)
  • Receipts (random receipts we might need)
  • Wedding (Receipts, vendor info, $ info)

Here they are all tucked into their new home.

The other great thing about the trunk is that it had a large shelf on top of the files. This is great to throw new mail, things to be sorted, remotes, etc. As far as the plan for the interior, if it was in better shape, I’d love to keep it as is – it has a great texture and a vintage feel to it, but it has sections missing, stains, etc. We could definitely throw a cork board in the lid which would cover up most of the stains, but I’ll definitely let you know when we decide!

Well there you go! Definitely “pretty” files, right? I definitely think so. And really, who can tell that this is a filing cabinet?!


DIY Recipe Box

So i cant cook. Not by a long shot. Every time i try to without a recipe, its pretty awful to be honest. So i desperately need some delish recipes to make me some delish food. So a while back i got this sucker… a basic mini notecard holder. Pretty lame, i know but it did the trick.

For the wedding, Kenny’s oh so sweet Aunt gave us this guy full of family recipes! Its the perfect size, lots of space and pre loaded with yummy ideas. Only problem… not super easy on the eyes. What can i say? I’m picky…. so how do you fix it? Cover it in some pretty paper!


And then whip out the ol Silhouette

Much better! This will fit nicely in my kitchen.

Next throw on a few layers of mod podge to make the paper a little pasta sauce-proof. Check out how perfectly this guy fits into my kitchen! Stupid plugs… so convenient for cooking but not at all for epic pictures.

I just like that it brings more color and pattern into the kitchen.

Heres all the different categories. Wish i could tell you how to make these, by my Aunt included these in the box! They are printed on photo paper though so im sure youve just gotta get the measurements right. Heres all the categories:

  • Appetizers
  • Main Courses
  • Soups
  • Sides
  • Desserts
  • Cookies
  • Breads
  • MISC
  • Drinks

Oh and the font i got for the lid is a handwritten font that i grabbed for free over here. Over at Fonts for Peas they have tons of handwritten fonts that are all adorbs and all free so go check em out and download a few (or 20 like me)!

By the way, how cute is this guy? I needed a timer so why not get one thats flippin adorbs. Hes also got lil owl measuring cup friends to one side and another birdie to the other. That guy opens beer with his butt. For serious. It definitely makes cooking more fun when you have little friends everywhere. So cute!