How to Build a Display Shelf in a Living Room

A display shelf in a living room can be used to showcase photos, family heirlooms or souvenirs. You can create display shelves that add elegance and efficient use of space. There are simple and inexpensive methods to create a display shelf for the living room which can be accomplished by beginner builders or skilled craftsmen within a few hours.

  • 18-inch-wide hollow door
  • Rip saw
  • Stud finder
  • 2-by-4
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Lag Screws
  • Hammer
  • Nails
Locate a full size hollow core door. Find these anywhere remodeling is being done to a house or apartment building. Measure 9 inches in from both side edges of the door at multiple points and mark the points. Draw lines down the length of the door along these marks. Use the rip saw to cut down these lines creating two 9-inch pieces with one side open.

Scrape out any residue left behind in the cut side of the door pieces. Scrape down a depth of 1-1/2 inch to ensure the removal of all filings. Use the paintbrush to apply paint or stain to the door pieces on all of the exterior sides. Allow the paint or stain to dry as you continue to the next steps.

Find the studs in the wall where you want to hang the display shelf for the living room. Use the stud finder to help with this. The position of electrical outlets can also help you locate studs because they are always attached to a stud.

Use the measuring tape to measure up the wall from the floor to where you want to place the bottom shelf of the display shelving. Mark your spot. Measure up the wall another 18 inches to locate the position of the second shelf. Mark the spot. This will give you enough room to place items of various sizes on the shelving.

Use the measuring tape to measure the length of one shelf. Make the same measurement from the marking on the wall. Find the nearest stud that falls before the end of the measurement and mark that spot. Repeat this process for the other marking. Use the level to draw a line between the two top marks and the two bottom marks.

Make a cleat for each shelf to hang on. Cut the 2-by-4 inch boards to the length of the door. Cut the 2-by-4 inch boards to the width of the opening between the outer edges of the door pieces.

Use the drill to make starter holes into the studs at the marks you made before. Line up the 2-by-4 inch cleat along the lines marked on the wall, with the 2-inch side against the walll. Drill through the cleat into the starter holes of the studs.

Place the lag screws into each hole and secure the cleats to the wall.

Attach the shelves over the cleats, pushing the cleats into the openings of at the back of each door piece until the cleats are completely hidden. Use sandpaper to correct gaps in the door pieces if they do not sit flush against the wall. Remove the shelf. Apply wood glue to the top and bottom of the cleat. Apply wood glue to the inside edges of the door piece. Put the shelf back onto the cleat. Remove excess glue.

Hammer the nails through the shelf into the cleat. Use a spacing of 8 inches between the 1-inch brads. Fill in where the nails went into the shelves with wood putty to cover the nail heads. Apply paint or stain to finish the job.

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