Build a Custom Shelf from Crown Molding {Tutorial}

There are so many darling things you can do with a mantel – but sadly I don’t have one. Actually – that is a lie. I do have one -
or should I say I have a half finished one that has been sitting uncompleted for about two years. sad right? and to make decorating matters worse – we went and stuck a big ole’ TV right above it so I couldn’t decorate it even if I wanted too.


But I didn’t let that ruin it for me! This past summer I did some painting and remodeling (Still working on some details before I reveal it) and along the wall in my living room I decided that I wanted a long shelf to use as a décor shelf/pretend mantel. Using crown molding, my pin nailer and the assistance of my hubby – I made my own shelf for about $20 – and it was super easy!

First you need to get your wood from a hardware store. I bought mine from Home Depot. The awesome people who work at Home Depot will cut the wood for you if you don’t have a saw - My shelf is 5 feet long and is made out of poplar - Poplar Wood is great for paint grade projects because it is really soft and easy to sand.

To make this exact shelf you will need:

8 feet of 5 1/4 inch crown molding
5 feet of poplar 7 1/4 inches wide
5 feet of poplar 4 1/2 inches wide
Wood Glue

Mitre the ends of the long pieces on a 45 degree angle both ways – The top of your crown molding will measure 59 1/2 inches. If you are making your shelf bigger or smaller than five feet – your crown should be 1/2 inch shorter than the length of the the top board.

For the sides, you will need to mitre one left and one right at 45 degrees and the backs should be straight. The side pieces will be just long enough to cover the end of the bottom board (mine was 4 1/4 inches on the bottom and 7 inches on the top) When you cut your pieces you will see what I mean.

Your 5 foot piece is going to be sitting on TOP of the crown molding.

Lay your 5 foot piece on the ground – then using wood glue, glue your crown molding pieces to each other – then pin nail the crown together. The nails will hold your pieces in place until your glue dries.

Then glue and pin nail the crown molding to the 5 foot piece (the top).

Next, you want to put in your bottom piece – my bottom piece is 54 inches long – but you can measure from the inside of both crown pieces to get your exact measurement. Then just like before, you will want to glue the whole thing and pin nail it.

We also made corbels – but that is a post for another day (coming soon!) It is really detailed so it is best to have it all by itself.

How to build your own shelf (34)

Then fill your holes with wood filler and sand it down where needed -
(TIP: If you want to, caulk the seam from the crown to the top with paintable caulk – then your shelf will be totally seamless)

Then go ahead and paint it – I used Glidden Antique White. It is the same color as my wall and base and casing in my house. When it is dry, hang that baby up and get to decorating!

To Hang the Floating Shelf: The back of your shelf is hallow – so take a 2x4 that is cut to fit inside your shelf and laying it flat against the wall, find your studs and drill the 2x4 into the wall. Make sure your 2x4 is level!!  put your shelf on the 2x4 and on the top – drill in screws – left, middle and right – The screws hold your shelf to the 2x4 and the 2x4 holds your shelf onto the wall!

I love it!! And love decorating it for each Holiday!! So be looking for more “Holiday Shelf Décor” posts from me!


P.S. Would it be helpful to have a tutorial for how to hang the shelf? Sometimes I wonder if other people can understand what I am saying! haha!

I am linked to these Awesome Parties!! And you should too!


Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

The shelf is gorgeous Amanda! I am going to be doing something similar in my Living room (as soon as the basement is finished). These tips will be helpful.

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple said...

Super cute!

Eilis said...

I want one! I think that will actually be more fun to decorate than a mantel would be.

Christine said...


Ok, I'm going to go around my house and figure out where I want to put some!! hehe

Have a great day!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Very pretty and well done! Thanks for the tutorial! I'd love to see this at our Be Inspired Link Party!

Amanda said...

Wow, brilliant! I love me some crown molding!

Boden said...

Love it! You're totally brilliant on this one here, and I'd be thrilled if you'd come and link this fabulousness up to the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com ~Jen

Unknown said...

This turned out so beautifully!

I host a weekly Friday Link Party, if you are interested, I would love for you to link up!


Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home said...

Just came to your blog via a Google search for how to DIY a moulding ledge and this is fantastic. Thanks for sharing how you did this!

Emma B. said...

I just found your tutorial through searching how to make a mantle out of crown molding, and this is exactly what I have been wanting to do to spruce up our apartment. We have a fireplace, but no mantle! Now that you have had your's up for a while, do you consider it stable and sturdy enough to sit vases and several decorative items on top? Thanks!


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