Kitchen and Bathroom Woodcraft Tips and Ideas

Kitchen and Bathroom Woodcraft Tips and Ideas

Embracing the Beauty of Wooden Shelves

If you know anything about me, you know I love some good wood shelves. Bathroom shelves, kitchen shelving, kids’ room shelves – basically, if there’s a blank wall, I will put some shelves on it. Over the last 9 years, I’ve learned some solid tips on how to make DIY wood shelves, and I’m excited to share those with you today.

I recently installed these DIY wood shelves in my new home and made similar ones for my last place. If you’re wondering how to make a shelf, know that they are a pretty straightforward, relatively easy home update once you have a few tricks under your belt. From kitchen open shelving to bookshelves and small bathroom shelves, this process will walk you through the simple steps of how to build wall shelves.

First, you’ll want to choose the right size for your space. The depth and length of the shelves will depend on where you plan to install them. My kitchen shelves are 11.25 inches deep, 1.5 inches thick, and 42 inches long. There are so many options like common lumber from the hardware store, reclaimed wood, or pre-made boards. I used white oak lumber that I was able to reclaim from a fallen tree, but you can also find white oak at many lumber yards depending on your location.

Selecting the Right Materials

Once you’ve determined the shelf length and found your boards, you’ll want to treat the wood before installing. Instead of stain, I like to use a beeswax to protect the wood and keep a natural look. Of course, if your shelves are already finished, you can skip this step. Or if you want bare wood, that works too – just know they may get marked up over time.

With your shelf size in mind, you’ll also need to get the right brackets to support them. There are a lot of styles and options, but you want to make sure you choose strong ones. I always use brackets from my brother’s company, Cascade Iron Co. They’re made in the USA and super strong. For my kitchen shelves, I used their Heavy Duty J Brackets in black.

Now it’s time to decide where to install the brackets. I use painter’s tape to plan and visualize the shelves. The standard cabinet height above the counter is about 18 inches, so I placed my bottom shelf 17 inches up from the countertop, with 13 inches between the bottom and top shelf. This ensures the higher shelves aren’t too high to be inaccessible, but also not too low, creating a lot of negative space.

Proper Installation Techniques

Installing the shelf brackets into wall studs is preferable and should be the first choice. However, this can really affect the shelf and bracket placement. If this isn’t possible, you can use a wall anchor instead. The painter’s tape I used to lay out the shelving comes in handy to mark the level lines and drill holes.

And if you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to drill into ceramic tile. You just need a special diamond drill bit. We used an extra piece of leftover tile to practice first, which gave us an idea of how much pressure to use and whether the bit was working well.

Once all of the shelf brackets are installed, you can safely place your shelves on them. These brackets don’t attach to the board, which I love. Sometimes there’s a little tightening or adjusting at this step, depending on the boards and the walls. I also spend some time deciding which side of the board I want to face out, as I love the markings on this oak and wanted to highlight them.

Styling Your Wooden Shelves

I’m really happy with how these DIY wood shelves turned out. They add so much function and design to our little kitchen. If you’re looking for some tips on how to style your new shelves, be sure to check out my guide on decorating shelves in 6 easy steps. I share all my favorite styling strategies that work on all kinds of shelving.

Beyond the Kitchen: Caulking Basics

Most DIY projects I do involve caulk, and whenever I share myself using this essential supply, I’m bombarded with questions. What kind should you use? When do you need it? Any caulking tips for a great application? Can you caulk over caulk? What’s the difference between silicone and latex? I thought it was about time that I devoted an entire section to all things caulk.

Caulk is a flexible material that is used to seal joints between building materials like wood, tile, windows, doors, etc. When it comes to the home, it’s an essential tool that’s used in just about every single space. It comes in a tube, and you usually use a caulk gun to get the material out and into the joint.

If you live in a colder climate, you may notice gaps come and go in the millwork around your home and around windows and doors. Your home is always moving, settling, and shrinking/expanding from humidity. Because of this, gaps can happen, and the best way to remedy these is with caulk.

But caulk is also an essential tool for new projects too. When it comes to woodworking, you want to caulk every seam where the wood meets a new plane. I’m talking about the top of a baseboard, the corners where two pieces meet, the edges of the casing, etc. Caulking is actually one of my favorite parts of a project because it gives every space a finished look and it hides imperfections. Seams and any bad cuts disappear.

Choosing the Right Caulk

There are two main kinds of caulk: acrylic and silicone. For a project that needs to be waterproofed, like a bathroom, kitchen, or exterior project, silicone caulk is the way to go. Silicone caulk is not paintable, but it comes in various colors along with clear. It’s harder to work with than acrylic and can get messy.

Acrylic latex caulk, on the other hand, is what you use when dealing with wood. It can be used on baseboards, door casings, and for wood wall treatments. It typically comes in the color white and should be painted after it’s applied.

If you’re going to do a caulking project, there are a few things you might want to have on hand. One of the biggest tiling mistakes I see is when people use grout instead of caulk where two planes meet, like corners where the tub meets the tile or where the backsplash meets the countertop. These are areas that are always shifting, and the grout will inevitably crumble. You want to remove the old grout and scrape it away, then use silicone caulk to replace it.

I highly recommend getting these caulk caps to save your opened caulk. I like having an opened tube of acrylic latex caulk on hand so I can easily make touch-ups around the house. I’ve had opened tubes last for more than six months with the use of these caps.

Caulking Techniques and Tips

When it comes to acrylic latex caulk, unless it’s in really bad shape, I usually just add more right on top. With silicone, I find it best to remove it first before applying fresh caulk. And I swear by backer rod – you can jam this into the crevice and then caulk right over it so the caulk has something to hold onto. It works like a charm.

Yes, caulk can also be used to seal indoor air gaps and prevent cold drafts from getting into your house. So don’t be afraid to break out the caulk gun and start sealing up those pesky cracks and crevices around your home.

I hope this caulk 101 post was helpful and that you’re feeling less intimidated by this simple home maintenance task. I’d love to see you grab these supplies and start fixing up the gaps around your home – it makes such a difference! And of course, if you need any tips on designing and decorating with beautiful wooden shelves, be sure to check out Timber Building’s website for more inspiration.


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