Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My New Display Shelf

New Display Shelf
I needed a display shelf for my soaps when I am at a craft show or a home party.  I had seen a shelf at Hobby Lobby that I thought would work, but even on clearance it was a bit more than my starting business could afford.  I am really glad I took pictures from several angles when I saw it because the next time I was in there it had sold.
Preparation for cutting the blackboard slot

I decided that I could build it for myself and make a few adjustments that would make it work better for my needs.   Since my soaps are not large I needed more shelves that are shallower.  I also have a good supply of free wood from pallets.  Using the free wood, I think that I ended up spending about $15 total on the supplies for this shelf.  I had to buy carriage bolts, screws and finish nails for this project.
Shelves together
I decided what want for my birthday ;) during the course of this project.  I would love to have my own battery powered drill so that I don't have to keep snagging my husbands'.   After all I have to schedule my work around when he is home and I really prefer to be able to not work on work projects while he is home.  Although to be honest, I have tapped him for help on several occasions.

I started by drawing a sketch and figuring how many pieces of wood I needed and what sizes they needed to be.  Once I knew what I needed, I started cutting wood to the appropriate sizes.  It took me about a day and a half to finish cutting everything.  It also took more than one trip to my parents' house to use my Dad's equipment.  Let me just say that it is a whole lot easier to cut 16" boards on a table saw than with a 10" reach moto saw.
Shelves Painted

Several of the shelves have rather uneven boards thanks to the moto saw.  I started my cutting my main support posts.  I needed 2 long posts and 2 shorter posts to make the frame.  I cut a arched shape to form the top.  I also cut boards to go across the front and back below the blackboard and behind the top of the blackboard.  I cut boards to span the frame front and back legs.

For the blackboard I took 2 pieces of 1/8th in plywood that were the same size and glued them together with wood glue to achieve the required strength.  After allowing the glue to dry overnight, I prepped it for paint.  I had done a fair amount of research and I knew that I could make my own chalkboard paint.  I used a recipe that calls for cornstarch.  I mixed cornstarch and water with black craft paint.  I gave both sides about 8 coats of paint.

For the shelves I cut end boards and slats for the front, back and bottom.  I made the boards for the front and back a little bit wider than the boards for the bottom.  This gives the shelves a more finished appearance.  I then spent a fair amount of time using a hand sander to sand all sides of the boards that I was using.

I used nails to attach the boards at the top and bottom of the blackboard to hold the blackboard in place.  I used a chisel to cut part of the boards out to accommodate the blackboard without leaving any major gaps.  After this was together I used screws to attach the supports to the front of my front legs.

The blackboard  framed at the top prepped and painted
My next step was to figure where to place my supports so that I could start drilling the holes for my shelves.  I drilled the holes for connecting my front and back legs.  Next I drilled the holes to connect the shelves to the front legs.  I assembled one shelf to be able to make sure that I was figuring the placement correctly.

After making sure that I had my placement right I drilled the holes in the shelf that was already assembled.  After I had the holes in the first shelf I used it as a template to drill the holes in the remaining shelf ends.

After I drilled the holes I started assembling the remaining shelves.  I used finish nails to attach the slats to the side pieces.  Since these slats were so thin (under 1/2") I pre-drilled all of the slats to ensure that the wood didn't split with the nails.  Unfortunately, there was one that I have to fix.  I accidentally put a nail through the pre-drilled hole for the carriage bolt.

After I had a of the parts assembled, I used the same recipe for chalk paint with the same paint that I used on my reclaimed bookshelf.  I have put 2 coats of paint on it so far.  Unfortunately, I have been so busy that I have not had time to put a third coat on it.  After I have had time to do this I will also add a coat of paste wax.  Having used it once I can tell you that this shelf will be a very helpful addition.

On top of everything else I was getting ready to get the last of my pictures for this post and what happens, it SNOWS!  And I'm not talking a little bit of sporadic flakes, but there was enough coming down to start collecting on the grass.  It is spring already and in Tennessee no less.  We very rarely get snow this late in the year!  I must admit though that it was all melted in less than an hour though.

As a side note, for those my area, I will be a the Smith County Ag Building in Carthage on March 29th from 9 AM to 4 PM.  I would love to see you there.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


  1. This is so totally Awesome! I love it. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing with us at Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party.

  2. Replies
    1. My sister-in-law promptly told me that she wanted me to make her one. I reminded her that while the wood was free it basically took me 4 days to make it. ;)

  3. Wow - This is really cool! I love the chalkboard feature. And your soaps look wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much! The chalkboard is really nice because I can use it for pricing and for multiple options.

  4. How pretty! Thank you for sharing this with us at the HomeAcre Hop!

  5. Great project. It turned out nice. Thanks for sharing at the My Favorite Things Party. Hope to see you again this week Theresa @DearCreatives


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