The first shelf I made I actually drilled three holes and put screws into the wall with expanders behind them. Then put plugs in the holes and painte...
Do you have some old shutters, or know where to get some. I was lucky enough to come across a bundle of them that had been stored outside for quite a while. I knew that with a little TLC they could be beautiful and useful!
Step 1: Sand them, or don't!
I hand sanded for hours. Because I was using Old Fashioned Milk Paint, and the look I was going for was antiqued, I sanded the ones I used the Milk Paint on. Milk Paint only adheres to surfaces that do not have a prior paint or stain on them (unless you put in the special bonding agent). If you are using regular paint, I would make sure and do a light sanding to make sure the paint adheres and work it from there.