Shelf Plans for a Plate Shelf


Every home, no matter what size, battles clutter. The tops of

Classic plate shelf having three shelves each with grooves to hold plates upright for a beautiful display and ease of reach.

Rich Cherry Wood Artisan Plate Shelves

counters, bookshelves, tables, and other surfaces often get crowded with debris from our days – whether spare change or junk mail.  This can leave these surfaces as an unattractive place to display fine china or collectibles.  You want to show them off – not store them away or bury them in clutter. Plate shelves can help.

A plate shelf is fairly self-explanatory: it is just a flat shelf that can be used for display; often they are made with a rail to keep plates and other collectibles more secure.  These are often seen in kitchens

An excerpt from a set of plate shelf plans showing where the router should pass to create the groove in the shelf for the plate to stand upright.

Illustration from Set of Shelf Plans

and dining rooms, but they can be useful in virtually any room.  These

shelves are among the easiest to build.  You can find great shelf plans that take you through each step and require only a length of 1×10 pine or oak, a length of 1×8, 3/4 inch half round molding, wood pegs or brass hooks, screws, wood glue, finish nails, and finish or paint.  Within an afternoon, you can be done constructing your shelf.  Your plates, mugs, or collectibles can be displayed as soon as your finish or paint (if any) is dry.

Making your own plate shelves from a set of shelf plans requires you to

Bright melon painted accent wall houses two single decorative plate shelves on which plates are handsomely displayed against the backdrop of the solid brightly colored background.

Decorative Plate Shelves on Accent Wall

measure – easy enough – and cut boards to the required length.  You will

also have to know how to use a rotary saw to cut the groove in the shelf, design the shape of the brackets and cut them with a jig or saber saw, install molding, pegs, or hooks, if you want them, and sand your corners.  That’s it!

With a little time and effort, you can create the perfect storage and display solution for your home.

Which of These Decorative Wall Mounted Shelves Is Right For You?

If you have ever lived in a small space, you know that vertical space is every bit as important as floor space. Wall shelves are perfect for any room, from the pantry and garage to the living and bedrooms,

Beautiful, sculpted glass wall shelves fully adorned with knick-knacks, a variety of vases, and a clock

Sculpted Glass Wall Shelves

depending on the materials from which they are constructed.  Not only do they fill space up, rather than out, they can be used in those odd, narrow corners and spaces that seem to be part of any house.

What Type of Wall Mounted Shelves Are Right for You?

That depends on what you would like to store, as well as upon the look you’d like to create.  Beyond the basics of books, you can store CD’s and DVDs, food items, lamps, craft supplies, sculptures and knickknacks, plants, toiletries, office supplies, clothes, toys… and anything else that will fit within the shelves. They are well-suited for everyday objects that you need within easy reach, as well as for display items.  All of these shelves can be quite decorative and very useful, not to mention affordable if you make them yourself using shelf plans.

When you choose ready-to-install shelves with installer kits, you can get your shelf up and ready for action in no time.  What types of shelves are most common?

The Glass Shelf:

Glass shelves aren’t meant to carry the same type of loads as wood shelves, and they are generally reserved for bathrooms, as well as for decorative areas.  It is common to see glass shelves above bathroom sinks that offer easy access to toothbrushes and paste, hair supplies, cosmetics, and other essentials.  In a living room or bedroom, they may be used to hold photo frames, books, candles, or other light items.

The Corner Shelf:

These are great for those odd and underused spaces.  Corner shelves can fit into any corner and are useful throughout the house.  They are commonly used in the bathroom to clear clutter, and you’ll see multi-tiered corner shelves quite often.  These are great for any room and for a variety of objects, from stuffed animals and special toys to family photos.  They don’t detract from your floor space, and there’s less risk of bumping into them.

The Wood Shelf:

Classic and useful, wood shelves are a staple in most homes.  They fit perfectly in any room, and there is an endless variety of sizes and shapes.  From shabby chic country white to a refined cherry or oak, wood wall shelves are ideal for everything from photos and books to utility items and food.

The Floating Shelf

Floating shelves are another great choice for any room.  They don’t float, but they appear to as they are secured to the wall with hardware that is

Ornate and decorative wood corner shelf with intricate cut out scroll designs and having 2 shelves.

Ornate Decorative Corner Shelf

hidden from view.  These help you use your wall space vertically without

taking up space on the floor.  Perfect decoration when wall space is tight or for small toys in a kid’s room where these are very useful and can be beautiful.

All of these decorative ideas may sound expensive, but you will find you can save considerably if you buy shelf plans and make these simple shelves yourself.  Wall mounted shelves are often unsuited for very heavy items because they tend to have relatively weak frames.  But unless you’re storing 50 pound weights, you will find these shelves useful all over the house.

Woodworking Builds an Appreciation for Artisan Work


An interest in woodworking usually begins when a person needs something functional or practical like a bookcase for the

Rich wood finish is gorgeous on this classic, but modern book made to be a part of an impressive entry or plush living room.

Classic Bookshelves in Rich Wood

children’s room or shelves in the garage. In my case, it all started with me years ago after a cabinet maker made some desks to order for my real estate office.

You see, selling real estate is a business that leaves no tangible product even when you’ve done your job flawlessly.   I was deeply struck by the tangible nature of the beautiful work the cabinet maker left when his job was finished.  You could touch and feel it, and you could admire its beauty and functionality. You could really appreciate his work as an artist.

That was the day I not only became interested, but decided I would begin to make things out of wood too.   My grandfather had been the mill superintendent of our local lumber yard and he introduced me to woodworking with the pieces he had built for my grandmother.   My favorite was a bookcase cabinet with glass doors.  Realizing a project that intricate would come later, I settled for building some storage shelves and a work table for my outside utility room at home.

My first lesson came when my shelf plans told me I would need certain tools, which we had on hand. In addition, the shelf plans also taught me about using jigs for sawing precisely to make two things I would need… simple sawhorses. They came out very well, and I was hooked on woodworking.

The shelf plans were straightforward and soon I had two wall shelves up, and then decided I needed a counter or work area of sorts for the little utility room. I took another lesson from my office cabinet maker who had filled a similar space in my office. He made a table for our microfiche machine (remember those?), so I borrowed the idea for my narrow utility room.

The room was about six feet wide, so I bought a plain, ordinary six foot interior door at the lumber yard. I used a dark stain on it and voila, it became a 30 inch counter. The supports for my top were made as follows using 2 by 4 pieces of lumber just as my office carpenter had done.

I bought three, eight foot long 2 X 4’s. The supports were two, eight foot long 2 X 4’s each cut into two, three foot lengths with two feet left over. The third board gave me two more two foot lengths and left me with a four foot scrap length which I chose to use to make my counter have even more support in the back by the wall.

The main supports were these rectangles I built with the two foot lengths forming the base and the top as headers and footers for additional weight bearing capacity. The three foot lengths were the front and back vertical members in between. Both of these finished pieces were pushed back to the wall and secured to it for stability. These rectangles formed the base or the “legs” of the table.

For added stability, I placed my door counter top on its new supports, then got on the floor and used a pencil to mark the wall horizontally

An exploded view illustration from a set of book shelf plans

Shelf Plans Show How It Fits Together

where the bottom of the table top struck the back wall. I put screw holes in my wood, held my wood up to the line where the table top would rest and used my drill to mark the wall in two places about twelve inches from each end of my four foot long 2 X 4 scrap piece.

It was finished by preparing the wall to receive my fasteners, then attaching the scrap piece to the wall. Once the table top was set back into place, it was completely sturdy and I felt like the queen of my castle. Yes, I’m a gal who just loves woodworking. It’s really just like sewing to me, but for different patterns, tools, and materials. We haven’t lived in that house for twenty-one years, but I’d bet the work table is still there.

Bookmark this page