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Super Easy DIY Shelf (No Screws or Nails Required)

My husband does a lot of the woodworking on most of my DIY projects, but he was determined that I make this shelf all by myself. I figured out a way to make this shelf without any nails or screws! Once the boards were cut, it just took some glue and clamps and then some paint!

Here's what you'll need for each shelf:

- 1 – 1×2's (I used premium pine boards)

- 1 or 2 – 1×4’s (depending on the length of your shelf)

First determine the length you'd like your shelf to be. I made mine 26" to fit above our changing table. Cut the 1x2 board to that length and then cut the 1x4 board into 2 boards your desired length. So basically if you were making a 26" shelf, you would need one 26" 1x2 board and two 26" 1x4 boards.

Once you have your boards cut, it's time to grab your wood glue and start gluing! First take your 2 1x4 boards and squeeze a nice thick line of glue on the skinny long end of the board. Then smear it with your finger - the glue should cover the whole skinny side. If it doesn't - add more glue! You can always wipe it off, but since there are no nails/screws, you want it to stick really well! (I should have taken a picture of this - sorry!) Then line it up on the bottom of the wide end of the other 1x4 so they are flush on all sides. Once you're satisfied with the placement, use your clamps to squeeze the boards together (be sure to hold the boards tightly so they don't shift when you clamp them - it may take you a couple tries... at least it did for me!) Be sure to move them quickly if you need to because the glue starts to dry pretty quickly. Be sure to wipe any excess glue from the joints and in the cracks - your future self will thank you!

(The picture below is my shelf clamped after the next step - I forgot to take one after the first glue... I really need to be better about my photos!)

shelf being made using clamps and wood glue

side view of shelf

I left mine overnight in the clamps just to be sure they were good and set. The next day, I went ahead and glued the 1x2 board. Here's where you can decide whether you want your shelf to be taller or deeper. I went with taller since I knew I wouldn't be putting a lot on it. Look at the profile of your shelf currently and turn it so it looks like an "L" (one longer side and one shorter side). If you want it deeper, glue the 1x2 to the top of the "L", and if you want it taller (like mine), glue it to the bottom part of the "L".​

You'll want to repeat the same process you did before of gluing, smearing, clamping, and wiping excess glue. Let it set overnight again, and voila! You have a shelf! Albeit a plain wooden shelf, but a shelf nonetheless... and no screws or nails to deal with!

DIY wooden shelf

I wanted my shelf to match the picture frames in the girls' nursery which were a white washed color. So I took my Sherwin-Williams Alabaster White paint from their shiplap wall, and mixed in a little water and painted one quick coat on it. I wanted it to be super thin and even a little uneven so you could see the wood grain and it would match the picture frames well!

Okay, so to make the shelf you don't need screws or nails, but I did use a drill to screw it into the wall (since it was the easiest way to hang it so it was flush with the wall). Since studs are 16" apart, we found the two studs where we wanted the shelf hung, and screwed them in there! It was super easy and fast! I knew I would be putting things on the shelf so you wouldn't see the screws, so I didn't even bother patching them or painting them.

Here's the final product hanging in their room (the light fixture in the nursery casts a really cool shadow which is why the wall looks so strange) - don't you love how you can see the wood grain? If you want to do a wash, then it's even more important that you wipe all the glue off or you will have to sand in order for your wash to look right!

white washed DIY shelf

Here's the final product decorated above their changing table! I love how it turned out - it really finishes the space! You can use these shelves purely as decorative like I did, or you could use them to store books or other baby essentials (just be careful not to load them down with too much weight!)

neutral girl nursery changing table

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