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How to Build Decorative Wall Mounted Shelves

Wall mounted shelves

I knew I wanted something decorative and functional to hang on the wall in my cozy corner space and after scrolling Pinterest for inspiration this is what I came up with!

I decided to build this geometric decorative wall mounted shelf unit so that I would be able to add some plants and to hold some books. 


  • Two 8 ft 1×2 common boards
  • 2’ x 2’ 1/2” Plywood 
  • Wood Glue
  • Edge Banding
  • Wood Stain (I used the color dark walnut)
  • Interior Polyurethane (I used clear matte finish)
  • D-Ring Picture Hangers
  • Wood Filler


  • Miter Saw
  • Nail Gun
  • Corner Clamps
  • Clamps
  • Paint Brush
  • 220-grit Sand Paper
  • Iron

Step One: Cut Boards

I started by making all the cuts  to the 1x2s and for the 1/2” plywood shelves. See cut list below:

1×2 Cut List:

  • 2 @ 20” 2 sides 45-ed
  • 1 @ 13 7/8” 2 sides 45-ed
  • 1 @ 12 7/8” 2 sides 45-ed
  • 1 @ 10 1/8” 1 side 45-ed
  • 2 @ 10” 2 sides 45-ed
  • 2 @ 10” 1 side 45-ed
  • 3 @ 10” (straight cuts)
  • 1 @ 9” 2 sides 45-ed
  • 1 @ 3” 1 side 45-ed

Plywood Cut List:

  • 3 @ 9 7/8” x 5” (9 7/8” leaves space for edge banding)

Step Two: Glue Corners Together

Build each section separately, gluing together only the 45-ed corners.  I worked two corners at a time to ensure each part was fitting together perfectly and would create a level finished piece.  Apply glue to one side and then use a corner clamp to hold the piece together tightly until the glue has dried.  (Optional) Nail the corners together for additional support.

Once each section is glued and solid then attached the smaller sections to the center section.  Use corner squares and a level to ensure each section is attached correctly.

Step Three: Attach Shelf Brace

Next attach the 1×2 shelf brace bars in each section.  Determine the height you’d like each of the shelves, then add glue to either end and set the bar.  Be sure to use a level to make sure the bars are attached at the correct height on both sides. 

For additional support you can nail from the outside of the section frame into the brace bar.  Then, set a clamp to hold the frame and bar tight until the glue dries.

Step Four: Add Edge Banding

Edge banding is a simple way to create a finished edge on cut plywood. 

To add the edge banding, set your iron to the recommended temperature per your banding instructions.  Then while holding the banding in place, run the iron over top until it has fully adhered.  Allow the edge banding to dry and cool slightly and then you can cut off the excess.  Once the larger excess has been removed, lightly sand the edges to create smooth corners.

Step Five: Attach the Shelves

To attach the shelves to each brace bar, run a bead of glue along the brace bar and then set the shelf.  Use a level to again confirm it is level.  Once the shelf is set then nail from the top of the shelf into the brace bar.  I’d also recommend adding clamps to hold the shelf securely to the brace bar until the glue has dried.

Step Six: Prep for Stain

Fill any nail holes or gasps with a stainable wood filler.  Once the filler is dry sand it flat.  Then with 220-grit sand paper lightly sand over the entire shelf unit. 

Step Seven: Stain or Paint

I choose to stain my shelves; I used a Dark Walnut stain.  To apply the stain I used a disposable paint brush and a clean rag to wipe off any excess.

Once the stain was dry, I then used an interior polyurethane for a top coat. 

These decorative shelves would look great painted as well though! 

Step Eight: Add Hanging Brackets

Attached heavy duty D-Ring picture hanging brackets to the back side of the shelves.  Make sure to hang the brackets at the same height to ensure the shelves will hang level on the wall. 


Links to Build Wall Mounted Shelves


How to Build Decorative Wall Mounted Shelves

Prep Time 2 hours
Build Time 8 hours
Dry Time 8 hours
Total Time 18 hours


  • Miter Saw
  • Nail Gun
  • Corner Clamps
  • Corner Squares
  • Clamps
  • Paint Brush (2)
  • 220 Grit Sand Paper
  • Iron


  • 2 8 ft. 1x2 Common Boards
  • 1 2 ft. x 2 ft. Sanded Plywood Board
  • Wood Glue
  • Edge Banding (Match the plywood board if you are staining)
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Stain (I used Dark Walnut)
  • Interior Polyurethane
  • 2 Heavy Duty D-Ring Picture Hangers


  • Cut boards.
  • Glue corners together.
  • Attach shelf brace bars.
  • Add edge banding.
  • Attach shelves.
  • Prep for stain.
  • Stain or Paint.
  • Add handing brackets.

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