DIY: Shelves go up, desk goes in

March 28, 2014

I got some really kind comments about my little desk project. And as promised, here’s how I put it up in my house.

I can’t show it in the picture, but there are no legs. I didn’t want any because the space is small (32 3/8 wide!!!) I mean that’s just big enough for me to hide behind – eating cake.

I really wanted to float shelves above the desk, but that’s not possible without cutting into drywall and creating some good supports. So my easy DIY solution – Rubbermaid Fasttrack Hang Rail and Shelf Standards which give the illusion of some float.Rubbermaid Fasttrack rail system The top hang rail (horizontal hang bar) is the one thing that gets screwed into wall studs to support the weight of the whole thing. This is my method versus just screwing the shelf standards (vertical supports) into the wall studs because my wall studs don’t live where I need the standards to live. So I spend the extra $13.98 on the hang rail. For an accounting of what I spent, read on.

1. Measure your space and cut hang rail with a hack saw to size. I screw up and have to run to the hardware store to get V. 2 hang rail, which gets cut to the right size. Make sure to use a level before screwing so the vertical standards will hang level. Screw hang rail into wall studs.

see the door? I put it on the floor2. Hang shelf standards (vertical) onto rail. Screw in shelf standards to drywall for extra support (and if you’re really into it, screw in some drywall anchors to make that thing stick). This should look like a doorway to the wall. Very Alice in Wonderland.

9" brackets for 11 3/4" shelves

9″ brackets for 11 3/4″ shelves

This is the structure of your shelves. Make sure they're level!

This is the structure of your shelves. Make sure they’re level!

3. Snap Shelf brackets into slots. I bought Rubbermaid 9” brackets for the shelves, and 14” brackets for the desk. I go with Rubbermaid because I know the white paint is most likely identical. For the smaller shelf directly above desk, I get Blue Hawk 7” brackets. There’s a difference. But I don’t want to run to another hardware store and search, so I tell myself I will live.

3 upper shelves measure just under 12", smaller shelf is 8 1/2". All hand sanded, stained and poly-ed by me!

3 upper shelves measure just under 12″, smaller shelf is 8 1/2″. All hand sanded, stained and poly-ed by me!


4. Forgot to mention I had some scrap plywood lying about, so I had it cut to size, then stained and polyurethaned for shelves.



Take the shelves out for a spin. Are they where you want them to be? Are they reachable?

5. Put shelves on brackets. Check and double-check that there’s enough height for magazines and books. OMG Pinocchio, you’re starting to look like a real desk area!

6. Redo the brackets to fit said magazines.


2" screw so the shelf doesn't move

2″ screw so the shelf doesn’t move


7. Screw shelves into brackets for extra hold and support. I use 2” screws for the tiny hole towards the back. And 1 ¼” for the area towards the front if it needs it. Also, use a weight on the shelves to hold them down while you’re screwing into the wood. This helps a ton. Thank you KettleBell.

8. Now stand back and admire your handiwork. Then start loading up the shelves with whatever your sweet heart desires. The shelf is your oyster. Make it your b*tch.wpid-PhotoGrid_1395903682190.jpg

The desk and shelves are fairly inexpensive because my buddy Ryan has a lot of scrap wood lying around. Or I should say HAD. 🙂

Cost of project:

Hang rail 13.95

shelf standards 12.60 x 2 (for 70 inch ones)

Shelf brackets 9″ 1.79 x 6

shelf brackets 7″ 2.78 x 2

shelf brackets 14″ 4.79 x 2

more stain once I run out 6.95

spray laquer 3.97 x 2

extra wood – 14.28

Screws 3.67

TOTAL: $86.63 plus tax === $94.64

That’s a pretty good price for these almost floating shelves and handmade desk. But the pride I feel when I see this is priceless. Now for that small space above my desk. Inspiration board, small succulent garden, or a blank space to stare into space? The adventure continues…

Until tomorrow, take chances my darlings! XOXO

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1 Comment

  • Reply pamela November 14, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Hi – this is so cute. How big was the piece of wood you used for the desk part?


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