The bathroom can be a nightmare to organize, with all of its towels, soap bottles, grooming supplies, and other toiletries—and when you’re sharing the space, that’s double the stuff to store! To keep everything at arm’s reach while still clutter-free, try assembling an open storage system. Boxy wall shelves can be a good option, providing double the ledges for with each unit in case supplies start to overflow. The best part? Assembly is easy. Just follow those simple steps to set yours up ASAP.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 1×6 lumber, 8-foot-long (4)
- Wood glue
- 1-½-inch screws (36)
- Wood stain
- 2-½-inch metal brackets (6)
- ½-inch screws (24)
- 4-inch-wide tins (optional)
The dimensions for these 6-inch-deep shelves are easily adaptable, so you can shorten the length if necessary. To make three, we cut our lumber into the following dimensions: six pieces at 4 feet each, and six more at 9 inches each. (You can get these right at your home improvement store where you pick up your wood, if you don’t want to handle a saw.)
Position a 9-inch piece perpendicular at each end of a 4-foot length plank, then join them with wood glue.
Apply glue to the exposed ends of each 9-inch plank, then lay a 4-foot board across. Maintain pressure at the glued joints of this box until the glue dries. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to construct two more boxes.
Glue alone will not be strong enough to support the weight of all items to be stored on your shelves: guest towels, toilet paper rolls, spare shampoo bottles, and more. Once the adhesive has cured, reinforce the shelves with three 1-½-inch screws at both ends of each 4-foot cut. Tip: Pre-drill small holes and then insert screws in order to prevent the wood from cracking.
Sand all of the new boxy shelves, particularly along the edges, to remove splinters. Start with a coarse 100-grit sandpaper, and finish smoothing the surface with a finer 150-grit paper.
Color your assembled shelves with a wood stain of your choice, following the package’s instructions to a tee. After one or two coats have dried, seal with a coat of acrylic varnish. If you’d rather, you can paint the shelves a color that blends your shallow shelves in with your bathroom walls—just be careful to choose a satin or semi-gloss finish that resists water, as the bathroom will likely to be very damp after steamy showers.
Time to hang your new wall shelves! Determine where you’d like to position the set, exactly how high above the floor and how far apart from one another. (Our lowest shelf is 30 inches above the ground, and we left 4 inches of space between each level.) Hold the first shelf in place, checking that it is completely horizontal using a level. Mark the inside of the two top corners on the wall. After you set the shelf down, affix a 2-½-inch bracket to the wall at each mark using ½-inch screws. You will need one bracket at each corner of the box.
Lift the box shelf so that its top rests on the brackets. Pre-drill through the brackets’ holes into the wooden shelf, and secure with screws.
When you go to hang the second shelf, try this trick: Place three emptied tins that are the same size as your desired distance between shelves (ours are 4 inches wide each) across the lowest shelf, then rest the next shelf atop of them. These helpers will keep your hands free!
Rest a level on the whole stack to ensure the second shelf is horizontal and also aligned with the one beneath. Mark the inside top corners, remove the second shelf, and screw the brackets into the wall at these marks. Hang the shelf over the two brackets, and screw it into place.
Repeat this step to hang the third shelf at the top, and you’re all set to fill the 6-inch-deep ledges with all of the toiletries that you can’t cram underneath your sink any longer.
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