Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Cafe Shelves...Ballard Knock Off

Remember last week when I told you I'd figured out what would go on my long blank wall in the kitchen? Well, here they are!!

I was inspired by some pictures on other blogs like this one and this one and some photos on pinterest to build my own knock-off Ballard Designs cafe shelves. I'm here today to share with you how I did it!

Let's remember what I was starting with... {sorry for the dark photo}

I used painters tape to measure out how long I wanted the shelves to be and about where I wanted them to hang so I could live with it for a few days to make "sure" that's what I wanted to do.

Once I was decided it was off to buy my lumber.

I decided on one 3' and one 4' shelf.

So, I bought a 8' long 1x8. I purchased door casing for the trim. I knew I'd need 7' for the fronts of the two shelves and about 8" for each end. At Home Depot you can purchase the trim by the foot so you can buy just the amount you will actually need. I think they come in 12' long strips. I found two that were already cut and in more manageable lengths.

I also picked out four corbels for my shelves to mount on. These were about $6 and the most expensive part of the shelves. I've seen other bloggers mentioning buying 2 for $5, but I didn't find those. :(

The first thing I did was use my mitre saw to cut the 1x8 into my two desired lengths... 4 ft & 3 ft.

Then I measured my door casing along the edge of the 1x8 and marked where I wanted the BOTTOM of the moulding to stop.

I set my mitre saw to a 45 degree angle and cut my wood.

**Important to know***
Cut your wood like THIS...

NOT like this...

I made that mistake and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. Laying the moulding flat will give you a great photo frame...but not a box which is basically what you're building.

I used wood glue along the backside of the moulding and used my nail gun to secure it to the shelf. The door moulding I bought (and probably they all have this) had an inset ridge that my 1x8 fit nicely into. See below how I did my moulding.

You could butt the moulding right to the top of the shelf, but I preferred to have a little lip on mine.

Your corners may not be perfect. That's what wood filler is for!
To get these corners you'll have to figure out which direction your wood needs to go and adjust your mitre saw accordingly. When I marked the wood I also made a pen mark diagonally in the direction I wanted the wood to go. That way when I cut my wood I could see the line and make sure my blade was going to cut in the direction I needed to match up with the other piece to make a corner. I definitely made more cuts than necessary all because I messed up the angles and measurements.

Once you have all the pieces cut and nailed together you'll be left with something like this.

Now the fun part... painting (UGH!)... I dislike painting the most. :)

Once it was painted and dried I chose to hang the corbels on the wall FIRST.

When both were hung on the wall and we had them leveled out we just screwed through the shelf into the corbel.


Then came the truly hard part for me... Decorating them.

I'm really happy with how they turned out!! The total cost was about $47 for two shelves. Not bad when this look would have cost me $189 plus tax and shipping at Ballard.

Linked up here:
Somewhat Simple


  1. Perfect and great tutorial. Did you really do it all by yourself! I am so envious and impressed!

  2. They are perfect there. I like that you used two different sizes.

    BTW, if you have a compound miter saw, you can lay your boards flat to cut them for this application :)

  3. @Lori Thanks Lori! Yes, by myself. I did have extra hands to help me mount them and nail things together...but the building was all me.

  4. @Mel - Thanks for sharing that Mel! I didn't realize there was a difference. Good to know! :) Thanks for stopping by.

  5. You shelves look amazing! Better than the originals I think, and they add so much character to your walls. I'd love it if you would stop by my blog and check out the giveaway I'm having for a Dremel Trio!

  6. @Rachelle @ Adventures in Creating Rachelle.. Thanks for your sweet words! I will head over to your blog!! There have been a few times a Dremel would have come in handy. :) thanks for hosting that and for stopping by our blog.

  7. These are gorgeous. I would love some of these at my house! I am featuring this at Grab my "featured' button.

  8. @somedaycrafts Wow! Thanks for featuring my shelves. I'm excited. :) Thanks for your linky parties. Have a great weekend.

  9. I love your shelves~ they are beautiful and love them in the black! Would love for you to come share this at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

  10. @Courtney ~ French Country Cottage Thanks for the invite, Courtney! I'm on my way over... :)

  11. Hey there~ Just stopping back by to say thanks so much for linking this up at Feathered Nest Friday! Hope you will come share again soon! :)

  12. Love it so much I featured you at my weekly Hookin Up with HoH party!

    Feel free to stop by and grab a button if you'd like!


    Allison @ House of Hepworths


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