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Install a Kitchen Shelf

Project Overview

Install a Kitchen Shelf

These days, kitchenware makers are creating distinctive products that combine form and function in perfect harmony – keeping these items in drawers and behind cabinet doors doesn't do them justice. Our solution is to display your favourite pieces on a handy floating shelf, which you can make yourself. It's economical too because you can save on the number of cabinets you need to purchase. Depending on your kitchen layout, this shelf can be fitted into a straight run or made to fit into a corner as we did. Construction for a corner shelf is really simple – you just build two straight shelves and align them when attaching to the adjoining walls.

10 Steps

  1. Measure
  2. Assess supports
  3. Cut to depth
  4. Cut to length
  5. Add front edge
  1. Fill, sand and paint
  2. Install tracks
  3. Cut to fit
  4. Install shelf
  5. Creating a corner shelf
Show all steps »

Step 1


Instructions are for one shelf – you can make extras as desired. Your shelves will be cut to the same depth as your upper cabinets. Straight run: Measure distance between upper cabinets (minus 1/8" for fit) to determine shelf length. Corner shelf: Measure the distance between the right-hand cabinet and the wall (minus 1/8" for fit) to determine the length of the right-hand shelf. To determine the length of the second shelf, take a second measurement between the left-hand cabinet and the wall, less the depth of your upper cabinets plus 1/8" It's a good idea to mark stud locations at this point because if you are lucky enough to have studs spaced appropriately, you can hang your supports at those locations. If they are not in the right place, your shelves will need to be hung with the correct anchors for your wall type.

Step 2

Assess supports

Determine how many tracks you'll need (if span exceeds 36" you'll require a centre support).

Step 3

Cut to depth

Cut one piece of 3/4" MDF equal to the depth of the cabinets. Cut one 2" wide length of 3/4" MDF for the front trim. If you are making corner shelves, you may need to cut 2 of each. You are constructing 2 shelves that butt together.

Step 4

Cut to length

Cut both pieces to fit the span between the cabinets or 4 pieces for the corner shelves, to match the 2 sets of measurements you made in Step 1.

Add front edge

Step 5

Add front edge

Glue and brad nail the 2" piece of MDF to the front of the shelf. For the corner shelf, attach only one 2" piece. You will align and fit the second piece later.

Step 6

Fill, sand and paint

Fill any gaps with wood filler. Sand and paint. Note that for the corner shelf, you may want to complete this step after Step 9 since you will need to carefully align your two shelves before finishing.

Step 7

Install tracks

Using screws and the appropriate anchors, install tracks, ensuring they're level with the bottom of cabinets. For the corner shelf, it is critical that you make sure your supports on the right wall are level with those on the left.

Step 8

Cut to fit

Cut a notch in the shelf to accommodate the tracks. Prime and paint.

Step 9

Install shelf

Position brackets at desired height and install shelf.

Step 10

Creating a corner shelf

Temporarily install the shelf with the finished trim edge first. Now install the second shelf which should butt up against the first one. Hold the trim piece on the edge of the second shelf to make sure it fits neatly against its twin. You may have to adjust the fit before nailing it on. You can now remove the two shelves and finish them as in Step 6. Once installed, you can screw a metal joiner strap between and underneath the two boards to keep them aligned.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 3 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.


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