DIY Live Edge Shelf

Hi Infarrantly Creative readers! It’s Sarah from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs and I’m back to share how to make a DIY Live Edge Shelf! Recently, I’ve had a thing for double shelves – I love how they get clutter off of desks and countertops and how it adds a 3D element to the wall!

A few months ago, I purchased a piece of live edge Sassafras for another project and didn’t end up using it. Cut in half, it’s perfect for a double shelf! The live edge is pretty subtle, so the edge has a slight wave to it, but it still creates an even edge.
diy live edge shelf


Want to make your own?

You will need:

Piece of live edge wood (I found mine at a local specialty lumber shop for about $30)
1×4 piece of oak (or other hard wood) about 3′ long
Wood Glue
Screws
Chop Saw
Table Saw
220 Sandpaper

1. First, prepare your live edge wood by removing any excess bark. We used a chisel (make sure to keep your hands clear of the blade, it’s sharp!)
After removing the bark, the edge of my wood was a deep brown.
2. Cut off any rough edges on the ends with the chop saw. Then cut to desired width, mine measures 21.5″ wide.
3. Next. start preparing your brackets (you can purchase pre-made ones from Ikea or similar stores if you’d prefer) For a custom look and size, make your own! Start by selecting a hard wood such as oak, you want it to withstand the weight of the shelf.

Cut strips of the oak by ripping them on the table saw. I wanted the supports to be as thin as possible so I ripped an oak 1×4 into 3/8” slats. Because of the variance in the width of the live edge board, I used a chop saw to cut shelf sections matching the width of the boards.

Set the chop saw to a 45º angle and cut the supports. I wanted the supports to reach 2/3 of the way onto the shelf which required a 8.25” support for my 8-9 inch shelves. The vertical support for my configuration was cut to 18.25” long. 

4. Start assembling your brackets. Lay the vertical support on a flat surface and glue the shelf sections at a 90º angle. Then add the support which joins the vertical and shelf supports at a 45º angle. Double check to ensure the supports are square and let the glue dry overnight. 

To reinforce the glued joints, Pre-drill holes and insert small screws through each of the joints. Pre-drill holes for screws to attach to the wall. Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper.

5. If desired, paint the brackets, or leave natural.

6. Next, finish the shelves. The top shelf will sit flush on the bracket against the wall. Since the bottom shelf intersects with the bracket, cut a notch in the wood so that it can sit flush against the wall. Use a table saw to crosscut the notch or a jig saw if you don’t have a table saw. Sand the shelves with 220 grit sandpaper.


7. Measure the shelf placement and attach the brackets to the wall with screws.

8. Secure the shelves to the brackets using screws.

And that’s it!

It’s perfect in my entry to catch keys and sunglasses!

I love love love the natural wood with the more modern brackets! I hope you’ll give it a try!

Finally, here’s what I’ve been up to this past month!

DIY Tissue Peonies, here

DIY faux mantel and stacked wood, here

Follow along the real time progress as I refurbish a pair of Chinese Chippendale armchairs, here and here

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