Friday, March 1, 2013

DIY: TV Shelves

So, K and I have been searching for a new entertainment center for, like, forever to replace his old Ikea "birch effect" Lack TV Stand.  We searched and searched, but could never find one that we loved for under five hundred dollars.  We almost bought one at Ikea (a step up from the one step up), but we decided to hold off since we weren't that excited about it.  When I saw THIS idea on pinterest, I knew that I had found "the one".  I am so happy with how it turned out!

This is like the before and after pictures in weight loss commercials where the person is all frumpy and not wearing any makeup before to make the after look even better.  Our before wasn't normally that bad, this was right before starting the project.
I have this problem that I think is the root of all of my time management issues.  I seem to think that everything is going to take significantly less time than it actually does.  And then when I am in the middle of a project I either run out of time or I am shocked at how long it is taking.  Obviously you aren't in danger of running out of time when building an entertainment center, so my reaction here was to be surprised at how long this project took.  Which was not actually that long - it was probably about three days of work, not including shopping for supplies.  As new homeowners and inexperienced DIYers, this probably took K and I a little longer than people who may have more experience building things.  But we are so happy with how it turned out, and I think we learned so much from this projects (plus, we acquired some new tools!).

My beloved sander

We pretty much made our shelves exactly like the inspiration photo, except I didn't want to do the chains as our style isn't quite that rustic.  To me it looked like the chains were more aesthetic than functional anyway.  We spent a LOOOONG time at the hardware store getting supplies.  We had measured our wall, figured out where the studs were and decided how long we wanted the shelves.  We finally decided on 12x1 pine boards for the shelves, then spent forever picking out boards that weren't warped.  We picked two 8 foot boards and then had the store cut the boards each into one 78 inch and one 18 inch board.  That way we had two long shelves and two short shelves, but we only had to buy 2 boards and none of the wood was wasted.
Some things that we bought - five inch brackets, small saw, screws, wall plates
We decided to paint the boards white to match the trim and blinds in the house, and so I went with Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Satin Enamel in Swiss Coffee.  I have been in love with Behr since I painted my closet with it, and I love that it has the primer in it already.  And I went with the color Swiss Coffee because when I asked the paint lady at Home Depot what the standard, builder grade color was for trim in most houses she said "I don't know, maybe Swiss Coffee?"  PS - Swiss Coffee is white, not brown like you might think something named coffee would be.  And she was right, it is a very close, if not exact, match.

I sanded the boards with my brand spanking new Ryobi Corner Cat Sander - we bought it both for this project and some other projects I had planned.  I love it!  It made the sanding go really quickly.  After sanding I applied two coats of paint with a brush.  A roller would have made quick work of it, but since I had left my roller sitting out after painting the closet, I had to throw it away.  Take care of your brushes and rollers, people!  But even with a brush, this was a pretty easy and quick painting project.  Just be sure to catch any drips before they dry and make your new shelves look like a three year old painted them.

Making sure the brackets are level
After they were painted, they cured for a few days while we did other stuff, and then it was finally time to start the exciting part!  We decided that when we wall mounted the TV we wanted to hide the cords, and so we read THIS tutorial on hiding the cords in the wall.  Apparently this is not "up to code", just FYI.  This was by far the most frustrating part of this project. It requires that you cut two holes in your wall, one right behind the TV, and another straight down from the first hole for the cords to exit the wall.  We ran into multiple problems with this, the first one being that there is SOMETHING in the wall blocking the cords from  dropping to the bottom.  We are not sure what it is, but it is like a hard metal plate.  No getting around that.  So, after spending what felt like hours trying to push the cords through the wall, only to discover that there is an actual blockage, we decided to cut ANOTHER set of holes in the wall.  Nothing like cutting four rough holes in the smooth, beautiful wall of your brand new house.  Also, the above tutorial suggests that you buy something called steel fish tape to feed your cords through the wall.  K and I were like "Pfffft, no way are we buying that, we can just push them through without it, or at worst make our own tool to feed them through the wall."  NO!  Don't think that you can do this.  It was after much heartache and frustration that we realized we should have just bought the damn fish tape, and so it was back to Home Depot for me the next day to pick some up.  Luckily, I had spotted one in the clearance section, and it was still there.  Because, I mean seriously, who ever buys that?  Anyway, now we are the proud owners of Steel Fish Tape that we will probably never use again.  The reason it was so hard to get the cords through the wall was because of the insulation, and the steel fish tape is just flexible but sturdy enough to push past the insulation.  I know it doesn't sound like that would be difficult, but trust me, it is.

Ahhhhhh!  The terrifying moment that you start to cut a hole in your wall.
It looks much better after you slap a wall plate on it.  Yes, that is the original failed hole on the far left.

OK, so finally we had the TV mounted, so it was time to put up the shelves.  We had agonized over brackets, and finally went with the five inch brackets because I liked the simplicity of them (I HATED the ugly, super cheap metal brackets and was not having those in my living room .  The issue here is that we needed ten brackets, and the nice ones were about ten bucks each.  So right there you are looking at a hundred dollars.  For brackets.  K wanted to get at least eight inch brackets, but that meant either get the super ugly ones or spend $100 on brackets. We ended up exchanging three of the brackets for the more expensive, larger brackets for our bottom shelf  because it is the one holding the heavy items.  Really, if you are going back and forth between brackets, just get the larger ones.  If you have a twelve inch shelf, you need an eight inch bracket.  Our brackets are offset because we wanted them to be screwed into the studs.  I was going to do what my inspiration blogger did and paint the brackets the same color as the wall, but I haven't done it yet, and at this point the metal is just fine with me.

The cheaper five inch brackets.  Not very sturdy for a twelve inch shelf.

Much sturdier and more attractive brackets.  Also more expensive.

I styled the shelf with mostly with things I already had, although I did pick up a accessories at Marshall's (my new favorite store, I had a hard time controlling myself in there!).  I also thought a long time about how to hide the cords and plugs at the bottom of the shelves.  I'm not really a basket person, and so I wanted to come up with something different.  I started thinking that I would prefer a box to a basket, and that is when I started thinking that I would like to do some vintage crates.  My parents are antique lovers, and so when I told them how I was planning on trying to find some vintage soda crates, they sent me a coca-cola crate that they had.  I picked up the other two crates at a local antique store in Gilbert, Flashback Antiques.  I just love how they look!

Vintage soda crates hiding cords

Some vintage blocks my mom gave me, plus my life philosophy.
The vase was one of my Marshall's scores.
We have had the shelves up for about a month now, and we absolutely love them.  They are a great focal point in the room, plus we get to feel all proud of ourselves every time we look at it because we made it!

What you need for this project:
Boards cut to desired size (we used 12 inch by 1 inch pine boards cut to 78 inches and 18 inches)
Paint for the boards
Brackets ( 3/4 the size of your boards - 12 inch board needs 8 inch bracket)
Wood screws (we used 3/4 inch for the boards and 1 3/4 inch for the studs)
Power Drill
Screw Driver
Small Saw (if you are wall mounting TV)
TV Wall Mount Kit (if you are mounting your TV)

Again, if you are mounting the TV and want to hide the cords, I strongly suggest you read THIS tutorial over at House of Hepworths.  If is really detailed and gives you all of the info you need.


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Colleen said...

It looks fabulous! So chic, I'm so copying you...someday :)

NW Girl said...

Thank you! I'm really happy with it!

Crystal Crystal said...

Did this in my son's room to make book shelves and happy to see someone else had the same "make my own shelves idea" doing it my living room! Yours looks beautiful!

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