It doesn’t seem to matter how big your house is, or how much storage you already have, everyone always seems to need more places to put stuff. And my house is no exception.
I wanted a little shelf in my bathroom where I could put toiletries. And it needed to look good since it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the bathroom. Oh, and it had to be small, 4″ wide x 16″ long in order to fit in the space. As usual, getting exactly what I want usually means a DIY project…
Click Next to see how to create Glitz and Glam DIY Silver Shelves.
I liked these Davis Brushed Silver Shelves at Crate and Barrel, but they didn’t come in the right length and width for my space.
And I had the same problem for these Ekby Mossby stainless steel shelves at IKEA (the master of storage!).
Since I really wanted those silver shelves in my room, I decided to re-use the idea that my mother came up with for her glam wall unit…aluminum flashing and a board!
Click Next to see a sneak peek of the finished project and find out how to put these DIY Silver Shelves together.
A Sneak Peek At The Finished Project
This is the finished shelf hanging in my bathroom. No-one can believe that it’s made from aluminum flashing and a board (with a little bit of bling)!
Continue reading to get the step-by-step instructions on how to make this shelf.
How Much Wood and Aluminum Flashing Do You Need?
The 2 main components of the shelves are wood, plywood or MDF boards and aluminum flashing.
1. The first step is to figure out how many shelves you want.
2. Next figure out how long the shelves need to be to fit your space and how thick the boards will be. Most shelves are about 1″ thick, but if you are planning on storing heavy items on them, or if they are longer than 36″ wide, you might want to consider going thicker than that.
3. You will need to figure out how wide the aluminum flashing needs to be. There are 2 possibilities for the measurements depending on how you are covering the boards:
a If you need to see the silver on both the top and bottom of the board (like you would for a wall shelf), you will need to wrap the flashing all the way around the board. To calculate the flashing width, add the width of the board to the thickness of the board and multiply by 2. Then add about an inch. For example, if you are using a board that is 1″ thick and 8″ wide, you’ll need flashing that is at least 19″ wide — (1″ + 8″) x 2 + 1″.
b If you only need to see the silver on one side of the board (like you would for a countertop), the flashing will need to cover the width of the board and then wrap around far enough to cover any overhang. To calculate the flashing width, add the width of the board to the thickness of the board multiplied by 2 and then add at least a couple of inches to cover any overhang on the underside. For example, if you are using a 1″ x 14″ board, you will need flashing that is 18″ wide — 14″ + (1″ x 2) + 2″ (for the overhang)
4. Next figure out the length of the flashing that you need. For each board, it will need to be the length of the board + 2 x the thickness of the board (to cover both ends of the board). For example, if your board is 40″ long and 1½” thick, the flashing should be cut to a length of 43″ — 40″ + (1½” x 2).
Click Next to find the complete list of tools that you need to complete this project.
Everything You Will Need
Click Next to get to the good part…the instructions for how to make DIY Silver Shelves.
Preparing the Aluminum Flashing
1. Cut the first board to the required length.
2. Cut the flashing to the length of the board + 2 x the thickness of the board. For example, if the length of the board is 36″ and the thickness is 1″, you will need flashing that is 38″ long — 36″ + (2 x 1″). Tin snips* work very well for doing this, but you can also use regular scissors or a utility knife. Be careful with the edges of the aluminum flashing…they are sharp!
3. Measure ½” in from the side of the aluminum flashing and draw a line that continues along the length of it. Regular pencils don’t work very well for this. I used Sharpie Peel-Off China Markers* instead. They are something like crayons but wipe right off the aluminum…so if the board slips and your line isn’t straight, you can easily start over!
4. Stand the board on its edge with one side along the line you just drew. Draw a second line down the length of the flashing using the other side of the board as a guide.
5. Lay the board down with one edge along the second line that you just drew. Draw a third line down the length of the flashing using the other side of the board as a guide.
6. Stand the board on its edge again (similar to step 4), with one side along the third line that you just scored. Draw a fourth line down the length of the flashing.
7. Make sure that your board is centered in the middle of the flashing lengthwise and draw lines at each end.
You should end up with marks that look something like this.
8. Use the straight edge* and a utility knife* to score the flashing along all of the lines that you have drawn. The scoring should go from one end of the flashing to the other (not just across the part where the board was). This works best if your straight edge reaches all the way down the length that you are scoring. Otherwise, the score lines may not meet up exactly and the line may not be straight.
9. Fold the aluminum flashing up along the first line that you drew, with the scored line on the inside of the fold. The fold should make a corner (not be folded all the way over). Once you have made the fold manually, put the straight edge along the fold and press along the outside of the fold. This will help to create a square corner.
10. Continue to do this with all of the lengthwise lines that you drew. Do not fold the lines at the ends of the flashing yet. We will do these ones in a later step. This should end up looking like a covering for your board.
Covering the Board
1 Fit your board into the aluminum flashing covering that you have made.
2 Use a Staple Gun* with 1/4″ staples* to staple the edges of the aluminum flashing to one side of the board. If you are using a powered staple gun, make sure that the power is not set very high or the staples will go right through the aluminum flashing.
3 If you are using a manual stapler, don’t worry if the the staples don’t go all the way in.
You can use a hammer to knock them in the rest of the way.
4 Wrap the aluminum flashing around the rest of the board and staple the other edge in the same way. Ideally these staples should go on the side of the board that will be against the wall so that you won’t see them once the shelves are installed.
Finishing the Ends
Finishing the ends of the shelves is something like wrapping a Christmas present.
1 Cut each of the four corners at the end of the board all the way in to the board.
2 Fold the end pieces of flashing in. Be very careful when you’re doing this…it is very easy to cut your self on the edge of the aluminum flashing while you are trying to fold the edges in.
3. Make sure that the bottom piece of flashing is shorter than the thickness of the board. If it isn’t cut off the extra.
4. Fold the piece that will be on the bottom of the shelf over the end.
5. Make sure the top piece of flashing just reaches to the edge of the board. If it is longer, cut off the extra.
6. Fold the piece that will be on the top of the shelf over to finish the edge.
7. Staple along the edges to keep everything in place. You could also use little silver-head nails for this if you prefer the look.
8. Repeat for the other end.
Adding a Little Sparkle
Now you have a finished stainless-steel look shelf that didn’t cost very much to make and is a custom size for your room. This definitely adds the glam!
If the shelf will be located somewhere that the edges are not obvious or your brackets will cover the ends of the shelf (or the staples don’t bother you), you are ready to put them up!
And now for the glitz!
If you want to cover up the staples, or just want to add some extra sparkle (like I did), try using upholstery tacks along the front and sides of the shelf. These crystal head upholstery tacks* are especially good for adding that extra bling.
Use a rubber mallet* to hammer them in so that the front of the tacks doesn’t get damaged.
I installed it with some 3″ corner brackets, mostly because those were the only things I could find that fit the size of my shelf.
The Finished Shelf
The finished shelf fits perfectly in my space and adds the little bit of glitz that I was looking for.
It’s the perfect size for holding bubble bath and perfume bottles, which is exactly what I wanted!
And that’s how some aluminum flashing and a board and a little bit of sparkle turn into Glitz and Glam DIY Silver Shelves.