DIY Custom Closet Shelf

Tools Needed:

  • 1/2 Plywood sheet (This was a 2′ x 4′ sheet)–this is our shelf,
  • 1″ x 3″ x 8′ board (this is a furring strip board)–this will be cut into 3 pieces and act as cleats: pieces that will support the shelf,
  • 1″ x 2″ x 8′ board (this is also a furring strip)–this will be the face finish of the shelf,
  • drywall screws and drywall screw anchors. We needed sheet metal screws that will screw into steel studs, because this is installed in a commercial facility.
    Close-up of a tip of a sheet metal screw.

    Your home most likely will be wood studs, with a few exceptions. If you aren’t sure, there’s a metal testing stud finding procedure you can do. (Comment below if you would like those instructions.)

  • wood glue,
  • a level,
  • stud finder.
Closet before shelf was added. Not a functional space.

So, this one was not all me. I was the “job site coordinator” on this one. That is to say, I asked a coworker to help me do this, and my co-worker did it. Sometimes it’s great to have another (more experienced) mind thinking about your project with you, so they can make it better. Plus, I learned so much about working with lumber.


I wanted a basic shelf for a closet at the office, and the closet is not a standard size.  I was thinking about this one way: maybe I could put two finished shelves together with brackets underneath? But I saw a stray piece of sheathing one day, and it got me thinking about this project another way: maybe I could cut the shelf out of this sheathing and put brackets underneath? My co-worker improved on my idea: instead of brackets, use a few pieces of 1×3 as a cleat to hold the shelf up. This means more space underneath, and less sagging of the shelf (which is 24″ deep) in the front.

Instructions (Basic):

Before getting materials:

  1. Measure where you want the shelf to go, because  in most cases you can get your wood cut for free (see lessons learned #1). Remember to allow 1″ width for the face. Then measure again, to confirm.
  2. Sight your furring strips to make sure they aren’t warped or bowed.  This video is a good guide for how to sight a piece of wood.

After getting materials:

  1. First, we dry fit the cut plywood to determine shelf height and width.  We marked the wall on top of the plywood, then put it aside.
  2. Then, we installed the 1 x 3s below that mark (enough for width of shelf). When screwing the 1 x 3s to the wall, make sure you are screwing into studs. If an area doesn’t have a stud in it:
    1. mark where the screw should go on the wall and on the cleat,
    2. then drill a hole into the cleat and corresponding point into the wall,
    3. insert a wall anchor into the wall,
    4. screw the cleat onto the wall, making sure to line up the hole in the cleat with the wall anchor.
  3. We checked the cleats for level.
  4. We dry fit the plywood shelf a second time to ensure  it will sit on cleats and it fits into the opening (and checked for level again), then removed it to attach the face.
  5.  We glued the face onto the front edge of the plywood, making an “L” shape.  We clamped the glued pieces together, wiped off excess glue and let them sit overnight to dry.
  6. The next day, we set the shelf back on the cleats with the front facing out. Ready for use!

(If you want: you can stain or paint the shelf. Here’s a post with tips about painting wood, and here’s one with tips about staining wood.)


Lessons Learned:

  1. Get your wood cut at the store (if an available option): The big box home improvement (HI) stores will give you a few straight lumber cuts for free when you purchase their lumber. Our shelf is 40″ x24″ so we just had to get one cut there.  My co-worker cut the furring strips on site, but you can get those cut too. Make sure you have CORRECT measurements! Stores will not do miter (that’s angle) cuts, so you have to do those yourself. I have not worked myself up to that yet. Soon. But this project is straight cuts only.
  2. If you can’t figure out a project get another view from someone else: Even a web search can’t give you an idea that isn’t already in your head. I talked with a couple of people just to get to the point where I realized I needed a custom shelf.
  3. Learn about how to pick out wood. Getting a great piece of wood makes your project easier. Not all wood (even if it’s cut straight) is exactly straight on all sides. I got a firsthand tutorial about wood bowing and corkscrew pieces. This video mirrors my tutorial.
  4. Pre-drill your holes slightly smaller than the screw or nail (especially when attaching the shelf lip). This ensures that your wood doesn’t split.

Daily Prompt: Shelf

Crafting: Burnished Wood Necklace

*This project is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Skill Level: Beginner (If you know NOTHING about tools–Intermediate)
Tools Needed: Circular Pieces of wood 2″ diameter (1 per necklace, but have at least 1 extra for any mishaps), power drill, wood-boring drill bit 1″ diameter, wood burning tool, acrylic paint (here: the colors are metallic bronze and café latte – satin finish), small artist paintbrush or small sponge paintbrush, suede or leather jewelry cord your desired length (this is 1 yard), crimp clasp jewelry finding (closure) of your choice, needle-nose pliers, safety glasses and ear protection.

So this a project that came out of a couple of mistakes. (A lot of my projects are). I bought the circular pieces of plywood to fill an umbrella hole in a patio table I want to up-cycle (that project to come later). The pieces were too big because I didn’t measure–I just eyeballed it. (Lesson Learned: ALWAYS MEASURE!) I had also bought some acrylic metallic paint for glass painted project. (that to come later, too!) I should have bought acrylic ENAMEL instead. (Lesson Learned: Always read labels!) I wondered what to do with the pieces and the paint. And then, I thought about practicing my wood burning skills and make some creative maybe even tribal-looking jewelry. And thus, this project was born.

To make your own,

Wood boring drill bit. (picture from
  1. First determine the center of your wood piece by measuring. Clamp your circle to a sturdy piece of wood, or saw table (because this will slide on you).
    **Always use hearing and eye protection when using a power saw or drill.** Using your drill and wood boring bit, drill a 1″ hole in the center of your circle. Two of my 4 wood pieces broke while doing this; keep your torque low and your circle clamped tightly. (You can also use a hole saw drill bit, but it’s more expensive. However, it will be more secure.)
  2. Sand your piece and clean off any dust before painting–wipe with a damp lint-free cloth and let dry. To decorate your piece, you can do any combination of painting and burnishing. I burnish after painting. Here, I painted both sides of the piece, but not the inner or outer edges. Let the paint dry between coats, then let it fully dry before using the wood burning tool.

    Bore holes before painting. Make sure to have piece securely clamped, or you will get a stray cut (see left piece).
  3. To burnish the edges, I used a pointed tip (about 1/8″) and made random burn marks in the wood in the inner and outer edges. You can also use the edge of a chisel tip. This is pretty tedious, and you can get burned if you are not careful. (See Swag Bag Project #3)

    Burnished edges of wood jewelry
  4. After burning your piece, you can use a sealant to protect it (I didn’t here, but it still looks great without it).
  5. Take your length of jewelry cord, thread it through your wood piece-making sure it’s situated in the middle of the cord. Knot the cord to secure the wood piece. I find when you knot the piece into place, it will better lay flat when wearing. One yard of jewelry cord makes about a 19″ necklace (measure  from neck down body front).
  6. Because I don’t have any jewelry tools, I got the easiest necklace closure to work with: the crimp closure. I suggest you do this as well if you’re not going to invest in jewelry-making supplies. Make sure to have your leather cord when selecting your closure so you can size them. I bought a closure that was big enough to fit my cord but not so big that I would have to crush the closure to keep it attached. Fit your cord into the  necklace closure and crimp sides together with needle-nosed pliers.

    Close up view of necklace closures (2) that you can crimp to attach.

Lessons Learned:

  • Always measure before cutting/purchasing/crafting
  • Always read labels!
  • Boring a hole into a small circular piece of wood can be tough. If you want to try this at home, have extra wood pieces in case you break one.
  • Wood-burning tools are HOT! Make sure you are protected.
  • Even if you bought a couple of mistakes, if you think hard enough, you can find a way to make them work!

Look for “Weekend DIY Girl” on Fridays; My products on Etsy

Now that “Weekend DIY Girl” is back, you might have noticed that I’m posting only on Fridays. This is deliberate: 1) because it’s the start of the weekend (duh), and 2) so you know when to expect my nuggets of goodness (in other words, to keep me on track so I won’t leave you again).

Starting next week, I will give my best efforts to post a new project, question or suggestion pertaining to DIY, crafting, or Home Improvement biweekly.

I’ve gotten a couple of requests to purchase some of my more recent projects, so I’m opening my Etsy store again. Click here to go to my store.

In the meantime, if you would like to purchase an item, ask a question, or suggest a project, use the contact form below. I’m happy to help!

Thanks for hanging out with us!


Power Circuit Board for a Vizio VW26L TV

Difficulty Level: Intermediate (If you have patience, you can do this. If not, it will be hard.)

Time Needed: Varies, depending on your skill level. For a beginner, like me, it took me about 3.5 hours to replace 6 capacitors.

Tools Needed: Soldering Kit–including iron, solder, desoldering wick; Replacement capacitors–These have to be the same wattage as your TV and must be compliant in other ways (see link to YouTube video.); Phillips Screwdriver; wire cutters

*Note: I was able to get the soldering kit and replacement capacitors in a Capacitor Repair Kit for my TV from Amazon. Also, the technician in the video below sells these kits on his website. (I don’t endorse anything except myself.)

Some of the parts needed for a TV repair. (from l to r: Capacitors–in bag, desoldering wire–underneath, solder–curly silver wire, Phillips screwdriver–red handle, solder container, soldering iron, wire cutters.

After both of my LCD TVs stopped powering earlier this year, I was sure that something was wrong with my new Blu-Ray Player. I was marathoning shows from Hulu, so I thought the combination of the internet connection to the Blu-Ray Player and the HDMI connection to the TV  was transmitting a computer virus that blew out the power to the TVs. I did a little chatting and research online and found out two things: 1) Blu-Ray Players can’t transmit viruses because they don’t have operating systems and 2) the capacitors on TV power circuit boards could be the culprit. (FYI: My TV was a Vizio, but this happens with all brands of TVs.)Continue reading “LCD TV REPAIR”