Monthly DIY Challenge: How to Make Open Shelves for Less Than $25

If you’ve been wanting some open shelves in your kitchen (or anywhere else in your home) , I’m here to encourage you to build your own! It’s simple and affordable!

Do you like love crossing things off your to do list? I think it’s one of my favoritest things ever. I even add stuff I’ve already done to my list just so I have the pleasure of crossing them off. And I love when I make my list of 15 things I need to do and I’ve actually done 6 of them. #crazylady

I’ve been dreaming about these shelves only since September. Back when life was chaos, we were living in a rental home, our entire house was a torn up construction zone, everything we owned was packed away… and I was trying to stay positive and look at paint colors, flooring samples, amongst all the other things that needed repaired and replaced. During our water damage, our kitchen ceiling fell through and when our cabinets had to be taken down I began to envision this wall without a bank of cabinets and just have some open shelves there.

I’m so glad we decided to go ahead and do this. I love, love our new open shelves and I can’t wait to share our new farmhouse inspired kitchen with you all very soon. We’re still waiting on a couple kitchen essentials and then I can hopefully share what we’ve done in here.

But for today, I’ll share how we built these shelves for less than $25. It’s our monthly themed challenge that a bunch of my blogging friends and I do and we’ve done so many different themes, from crates, stencilspumpkins, dollar store items, paint sprayers, and upcyled material to name a few. February is all about what we could build with 1X2s. And I have to tell you, I have some seriously talented friends! Don’t forget to visit what they’ve created … I shared them all at the bottom of my post!

We had originally thought we’d buy some corbels as the anchors for this shelf. None of the stores had what we were looking for and then one local store had some but once we brought them home they looked so big and “overbearing” that we decided to build our one. Especially with this month’s theme 1X2s, it all worked out perfectly!

For these shelves you’ll need:

  • 1 piece of painted MDF wood (we bought a 12ft. piece from Home Depot for $15)
  • 2 –  7 foot pieces of 1X2 pine (from Home Depot at $4 each) cut into the following lengths:
    • 2- 1X2 pieces cut 40″ long
    • 4 – 1X2 pieces cut 9 1/4″ long
    • 4 – 1X2 pieces cut 11 1/2″ long (cut at a 45degree angle on both ends)
  • wood filler
  • paint

You’ll want to make very sure that that all of these pieces are screwed into a stud. You can see in the above picture that my husband screwed these into studs in three different places.

The bottom shelf is 18″ above our countertops. Using a leveler, mark where your bottom 40″ 1X2 piece will be screwed to the wall. Attach the shelf by screwing down into the shelving unit and into your 40″ piece of wood.

Next, we attached the angled brackets. Make sure your shelf is level and screw from the bottom up into the shelf and down into the vertical wall support. Make sure you pre-drill your holes so the wood doesn’t split.

For the top shelf, we screwed the vertical supports right above the bottom shelf so they are touching. Then we placed our 40″ piece above the vertical pieces and screwed them into studs again. We attached the shelf and angled brackets using the same method as the bottom shelf.

Using wood filler, we filled all of the screw holes, allowed drying time and then sanded them down. We then painted them with semi-gloss white paint and added our dishes as soon as they were dry!!

I was really amazed how quickly my husband was able to build and assemble these shelves! It really only took a couple of hours (including a break or two of course) and I’m so happy with the way they turned out!!

Now, let’s see what else we can create with 1X2s…


  1. Bre says:

    NICE! These look awesome in your kitchen and they do look like they’re really easy to put together! So happy you got the look you wanted, Kendra!

  2. Jamie | anderson + grant says:

    Love the open shelves on that wall! They are so stylish and I can’t believe they were less than $25 to make. I can’t wait to see your completed kitchen. Won’t that be a nice thing to finally cross off your list!?!? (And by the way…..I write down things I’ve already done so that they can be crossed off, too 😉 )

    • Kendra says:

      Thank you, Jamie!! I love saving money where I can and nothing like a good DIY project to do that! I’ll be SO happy to when our kitchen is totally done… thanks for following along, friend! xo

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