How to build open shelving

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How to build open shelving

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Project Overview

Every kitchen could use some extra storage, whether it’s for cookbooks, flowers or even an indoor plant. Open shelving can be the perfect solution for filling a dead space in your kitchen with some additional storage space. And with the right equipment and materials, getting the job done couldn’t be easier.

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clean paint brush
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How to clean a paint brush

Here’s a great tip to save you time and mess while cleaning paint brushes. Use tin snips to cut a wire mesh panel into a rectangle. Bend the mesh into an arc shape and place it in the bucket, so that it’s wedged inside. Fill the bucket with water to cover the mesh. Now run your paintbrush back and forth over the mesh and the paint will come out quicker and easier.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Measure and mark the lengths for the shelves
2 Cut the shelves
3 Measure and mark for the quads
4 Cut the quads
5 Measure and mark for the back supports
6 Cut the quads
7 Sand the timber
8 Apply the hard wax oil
9 Install the first shelf
10 Measure and mark for the other shelves
11 Find the studs
12 Nail gun the shelf supports to the recess
13 Put the shelves in place
14 A job well done
  • Step 1. Measure and mark the lengths for the shelves

    Measure the space for the open shelves and decide how many shelves you want to install. Here’s the cut list for our shelves and quad supports:

    Utility hardwood bench top
    • 205mm x 775mm x 3

    Quad moulding
    • 205mm x 4
    • 775mm x 2

  • Step 2. Cut the shelves

    Set up the drop saw and cut each shelf to 205mm x 775mm, we cut three in total.
  • Step 3. Measure and mark for the quads

    Measure the depth of the recess for the shelves. Transfer this measurement onto the quads. Our shelves were 205mm deep.
  • Step 4. Cut the quads

    We need to cut four quads to support the sides of the shelves. Set the mitre saw to 45 degrees as all of the joins need to be on a 45-degree angle. Cut the quads to size. Set the mitre saw to 90 degrees to cut the non-joining ends of the quads. This will make sure they sit flush with the recess.
  • Step 5. Measure and mark for the back supports

    Measure and mark for the quads that will be attached to the back of the recess. Ours were 775mm. Transfer these measurements onto the quads.
  • Step 6. Cut the quads

    Set the mitre saw to a 45-degree angle. Cut the two pieces of quad to length.
  • Step 7. Sand the timber

    Use the orbital sander and 240 grit sandpaper to sand the shelves. Hand sand the quads and wipe away any dust.
  • Step 8. Apply the hard wax oil

    Using long, smooth strokes with the paint brush, apply the hard wax oil to the shelves and the quads. Then use the applicator that is included with the hard wax kit to smooth the hard wax oil onto the timber and create a nice, smooth finish. Make sure you also wax the outward facing surface of the shelf. Let the oil dry.
  • Step 9. Install the first shelf

    Place the first shelf on the bottom of the recess.
  • Step 10. Measure and mark for the other shelves

    Once you’ve decided where you want to put your shelves measure and mark their position. Use a spirit level to draw a straight line across the back of the recess.
  • Step 11. Find the studs

    Use the stud finder to mark where the studs are located behind the recess.
  • Step 12. Nail gun the shelf supports to the recess

    Use the nail gun to fix the quad mouldings into place.
  • Step 13. Put the shelves in place

    Slide your shelves into place on top of the quads.
  • Step 14. A job well done

    Now you get to admire your handiwork. What was an empty space is now a handy storage unit and a stylish addition to your kitchen.

Tools and Materials


  • Applicator
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Mitre saw
  • Nail gun
  • Orbital sander
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Spirit level
  • Stud finder


  • Clear hardwood wax oil
  • Nails
  • Quad moulding
  • Utility hardwood benchtop
  • 240 grit sandpaper

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