This tiny shelf is ultra-versatile and will fit your style perfectly! Whether basic, elegant, or a statement piece covered in sequins and peace stickers, you decide. You are the designer, the artist, and the craftsperson so you know it will be exactly what you want.
Coordinate your shelf to match the trim in any room of your home or make it stand out. A tiny shelf will hang far enough away from your trim that it will look fabulous whether you use leftovers from trimming the same room or collect a piece from Aunt Sophie. If you are re-trimming a room, repurpose the old trim instead of throwing it away! Six to 12 inches of left-over 4” trim is all that is needed for a shelf with good proportions. If you don’t happen to have scrap trim somewhere in your garage, someone you know might! Many communities or online ad sites have groups that exchange items for re-use, repurposing, etc. When all else fails, or you want to select a specific style, you could make a quick trip to the store.
Tiny shelves are perfect for displaying your tiny keepsakes, artwork, small photos, and so much more! One of my favorites is in my dining room. I keep my salt and pepper shakers and toothpicks on my shelf so they are out of our way between meals. Tiny shelves are perfect for organizing all those tiny things that you might otherwise have to dig through a drawer for such as paper clips, rubber bands, twist-ties, and so-on. Not only will your shelf keep your tiny things organized it will also keep them easily accessible!
Please read through all the steps before starting. With so many possibilities, at least half of your supply list could easily be made from your preference of options.
Step 1: PLAN YOUR PROJECT
What do you have on hand? Is the bottom half able to serve as the shelf top? (See photo 3.) If not, you will also need a piece of craft wood for the shelf unless you have an adaptable piece of scrap wood on hand. Recommended dimensions are listed under Option Two in the Basic Supply List. I’ll be using a 4” piece of baseboard trim. Option Two examples a 2 1/2” piece of trim with a 2” piece of craft wood. I am planning for both options to be 12 inches wide.
Tip:When choosing the material for your shelf, consider what it will look like cut in about half, lengthwise with the flat piece (top of the shelf. (A) resting on the other (B), (Photo 3).
There are several options when it comes to the types of materials used to make trim, each with their own pros and cons. You may already be aware of these, especially if you are using scraps you purchased for a recent upgrade. You’ll find material comparisons and more HERE.
What will it be used for?
> Display/hold your small candles, spare tealights, lighter etc. when not in use
> Keep your table-top indoor-outdoor thermometer for easy reading
> One-cup coffee pods
> Store pet’s leash, extra-tags or collars, waste bags, small flashlight etc. for walking your dog
> Easy access for change collection cups
> Communication center – small easel, sticky notes, pen cup, in-out/location tags, calendar
> Business card and promo pen, keychain shelf
> Key Hooks
> Jewelry keeper with small hooks for chains small jewelry dishes and even tiny containers for earrings
> Essential oils
> Spice shelf with pot-holder hooks
> Guest toiletries – display trial size products for guests to use
> Keeper for eyeglasses and sunglasses with cleaning wipes, cloths, and mini screwdriver kit
What type of style are you planning on? Is it for you or for someone else?
> Plain, no reason to paint or decorate it
> Just painted, no bells or whistles
> Personalized with a few rhinestones
> Unicorn stickers
> Basic white
What materials will I be using and what damage might they cause to the work area? How might they affect my clothing or me, my health?
> Parchment Paper to cover the table and protect from paint and glue drips.
> Apron and vinyl gloves for me.
Step 2: GATHER SUPPLIES AND SET UP WORKSPACE
> SAW to cut trim (I used my table saw, hand saw may be awkward and will require clamps)
> CLAMPS, if needed
> SCREW DRIVER(S) appropriate size for connecting small screws and hangers, if applicable
> DRILL AND DRILL BIT for drilling PILOT HOLES
> BASEBOARD TRIM 6-12 inches (I like 10”-12” best for looks)
> CRAFT WOOD (OPTION TWO) Length of trim, half inch thick and between 2 and 2 ½ inches wide
> WOOD GLUE
> PICTURE HANGERS
> SMALL SCREWS LIKE THESE
ADD YOUR OWN ITEMS FOR OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, PROTECTIVE AND DECORATIVE SUPPLIES
Be sure to protect your work surfaces and yourself.
Step 3: CUT TRIM PIECE TO DESIRED WIDTH (SHELF WIDTH)
While cutting the trim, be sure both edges are straight and cut at 90 degrees
OPTION TWO: Ensure the craft wood is of equal length to fit your trim piece
Step 4: CUT TRIM IN HALF, LENGTHWISE.
For my piece of trim, it worked well to cut along the groove near the middle. The flat side is 2 1/8 inches and the shaped side is 1 7/8 inches, close to half. Work with your piece to decide the best place for your cut based on looks and functionality. You’ll want to make sure your shelf top is deep enough. If you are having a difficult time with your proportions, you may need to work with Option Two.
OPTION TWO: No cuts are necessary unless you prefer to trim away one edge for aesthetics.
Step 5: OPTIONAL - ANGLE THE EDGES OF THE BOTTOM
You may prefer to keep the edges straight. Otherwise, the amount of angle you choose is up to you. Be sure to keep them symmetrical (unless you are going for another look). Using a protractor or similar means to measure will help with consistency. I used the guide on my table saw set for a 72-degree cut.
Tip: If you are unsure about the angle you want or how it will look, start small with a subtler angle. You can always cut off more if you decide it is too subtle. If you have spare scraps available, make a few practice cuts.
Step 6: ATTACH THE TOP OF THE SHELF TO THE BACK
Place the top piece onto the back of the shelf, checking to make sure it will align correctly and fit well. The back of the shelf top and the back of the bottom portion should be flush. To check this, I set my pieces on the table as pictured below. When you are sure that you have a good fit, apply the wood glue according to the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the top onto the back piece.
Remove any glue that may be on the outside surface of the shelf before it dries. Prop the pieces as shown in the photo or with the back sides facing down (on parchment paper or other protective covering). Either way, you’ll want to make sure that the pieces form a 90-degree angle and remain undisturbed while drying.
OPTION TWO: Follow the same process using the piece of craft wood vs. the second half of the trim piece.
Step 7: REIFORCE THE JOIN
Once your pieces have dried, carefully drill a pilot hole through the top of the shelf into the bottom piece near each end about an inch away. Insert the small screws into the pilot holes taking care to avoid over-tightening them.
Tip: Take care when drilling and inserting screws to avoid adding pressure that may cause the shelf to break. If you don’t have a clamp to hold the top piece while working on it, try setting the underside of the shelf on the top of your work surface with the back-side hanging over the edge, as shown. Apply pressure with your hand to the areas of the shelf that is supported by the surface underneath it to compensate for the force of your drill.
Step 8: ADD HANGERS
Apply the picture hangers that you have chosen still taking care to prevent splitting or otherwise damaging your project. Remember that your tiny shelf is small and items that you place on it should be small and light. You don’t need to apply hangers that will hold-up under a weight that is significantly greater than what your shelf will withstand. Choosing a hanger that is too large is more likely to damage the shelf before it is hung. I prefer the no damage, stick-on hook hangers pictured in the center below. Whichever you choose, be sure the weight load rating meets or exceeds your needs.
Tip: Test out your shelf prior to hanging precious or fragile items on it. I learned the hard way to also consider what is located under the shelf such as a pet eating from his bowl.
Step 9: DECORATE AND ADD ACCESSORIES
The construction of your tiny shelf is complete!
If necessary, give a very light sanding with fine sandpaper and you are ready to paint. Water-based latex paint has worked very well for me. Once dry (according to manufacturer’s label), any additional hardware and/or embellishments may be added.