July 12, 2015

5 Things I Learned from Building Floating Shelves

On our my list of things to do this summer was add floating shelves. We lack storage in the half bathroom and the boys' bathroom, and needed to have a little something else to make them, well, nice. Just because my two year spends most of his potty days in here having fun flushing and washing his hands doesn't mean it has to look like that.

After a weekend of shopping at Home Depot, a few days debating about logistics, and then final construction, they are done! During the process, I learned a few things. These may be things that you already know. Sometimes you need a reminder, and other times, you simply didn't have the experience to know the better.

First off, I didn't build them all by myself. Home Depot cut them. Nick did a bulk of the "put together" stuff. I assisted mostly in opinion, sanding, staining, and holding them on the wall while drilling. Thanks, honey!

Second, all of these opinions are my own and in no way am I sponsored by Home Depot. I simply am a customer and am sharing my own experience and opinion. I get nothing if you decide or not decide to shop their or use their services. :-)

5 Things I Learned from Building Floating Shelves
1. Triple Check your measurements

 I went over the measurements twice, and then turned them over to Nick to double check the spot where I was having difficulty converting measurements. (I traded in some brain cells for motherhood, and it's not always easy calculating with little kids). Had I not done this, I'm not sure if they would have turned out the right way.

2. Account for Studs

 Wherever you are going to put your shelves, BEFORE YOU BUY THE WOOD, figure out the placement of your studs!!! I did NOT do this, and as a result, our downstairs shelves are only attached to one stud. 

If I wanted two studs for extra strength, then the shelves would be "shifted" about 4 inches to the right. This would not be symmetrical above the toilet, and that just bothers me. If I want them symmetrical, then there is only one stud available on the left side of the shelf. This means only very light things can be on the shelf, and slightly "heavier things" can only go on the left. It's okay only because the downstairs is mostly decorative.

Had I gone through this thought process before purchasing (and cutting) the wood, I would have extended the shelves the whole length of the wall.

My upstairs shelves have two studs in each. They are slightly off from where I originally wanted them. For these shelves (which are longer), functionality is more important than look, but thankfully they are not too far off centered. Plus there was a lot of wall space to work with.

3. Account for tool space 

This turned out to not be an issue, but I almost gave up and cried with the thought of it. After we had purchased our wood, brought it home, and held up one to the bathroom wall, Nick told me he thought it wouldn't work. "I'm not sure if my tools will be able to fit on the side of the shelves between the wall." Great. 

With our situation, Nick simply modified our plans and assembled the "box" exterior in our garage, then slid the box - with force at times - onto the "E" support on the wall (In the picture above). If you don't know what I'm talking about, look through a few "Floating Shelves Tutorials" out there in web/pinterest and you should see what I mean. (I'm not doing a tutorial - there are already too many of them)

4. You can pre-order your lumber at Home Depot

Since I know how our shopping trips usually go with two high energy boys, I thought I would save us some time and heart ache and order online. All you have to do is pick it up! You can even schedule when you want to pick it up.

Now, had I done just this, and not had home depot cut our wood for us, it would have saved us time.  But I of course still meandered through the store for a thing or two I forgot to include in my online purchase.

The biggest "con" to having Home Depot prepare it for you is that you don't get to pick the individual lumber. It can be like someone else blindly picking fruit for you, only to realize after the purchase that some are too ripe or a little more bruised than you'd prefer. If you're not picky, and want to save time, this won't matter. If it does matter, just check over all of the pieces before you leave so you can exchange any if they are not up to your perfection. It's also good to check that all the piece are there. Nick noticed we were missing one in the cart. (I guess it's like checking to see that they included fries with your burger at the drive through. Not a big deal if you do it right then).

5. Be prepared to wait if you get your wood cut at the store

I ordered in the morning and scheduled to be ready in the late afternoon. It could have been ready later in the morning, I just wasn't going to get there that early. Now, this particular day was probably just one of those crazy days. It was Friday evening in the summer, and a storm was coming in later that night. (Which of course came in early while we were at the store. It rained on painted furniture I had set out in my back yard to dry. Darn weather.) 

After we picked up our lumber that was waiting for us, we went to get our wood cut. There was someone else in front of us, so we had to wait. Thankfully I had patience with me. It may have helped that the employee was efficient, and fast, and Nick met us there when he got off of work. He was able to take the boys "driving" around the store when they were tired of hearing the loud cutting sounds.

When it was finally my turn, I felt like I had too many cuts. Another customer or two started waiting behind me. I just felt bad for the employee who was doing serious work without a break. He got at least two calls requesting his assistance for something, and he had to give them at least 30+ minutes to wait. They need a tip jar. 

I think we ended up being in the store AT LEAST an hour. I can't remember at the moment. It felt like two, may have been an hour and a half, but was well past the hour mark.

Next time I plan to cut the wood ourselves. The cuts were what we asked for, and they saved US the work of cutting them. We may have saved some time, considering we don't measure and cut wood daily enough to whip al our cuts out in that time. We still had to wait for them to be done, though. Had we taken them home, we also could have avoided the problems we ran into with #2  and #3 since we ended up with some extra wood. 

If it's something we can't cut, I will try and go in the morning instead, or a less busy day of the week. It really is a great service, and I have used them for our front door entry project. Just some more things to consider.

There you have it! I hope these things are helpful to you!

Here are the results of our learning experiences:

Ombre Sea Shell Tutorial Here
Check back in a few weeks for a full reveal of our boys bathroom make-over.

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