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.
Step 2: To Paint or to Stain - That Is the Question!
After sanding, I painted the shutters. A word to the wise (which I wasn't on the first shelf). Make sure the shutter is closed all the way and glue the cross bar in place. After the paint is dry I put polyurethane over the top because I love the look of the milk paint, but I wanted to protect it from moisture since I was going to place mine in the bathroom. Milk paint is great because it comes in powder form. You mix up only as much as you need at the time, and by mixing in more or less white you can make just about any shade of the color you want. And by putting in more or less water you can even get a real worn, antiqued look, which is what I did with an old gate I have.
Step 3: Brackets, Brackets, Who's Got the Brackets?
I have used both wooden and metal brackets. I discovered that I can get the metal brackets from King Architectural Metals for real cheap for the size needed for these shutters. On the first shutter I simply nailed gunned the shutters together and then attached the brackets. As I progressed through the later shelves, I discovered that routering in about a 1/8" the width of the shutter on thebottom of the top shelf where the two join makes for a stronger, better looking shelf. I also discovered that using a second shutter may not always be the best choice because small items do not sit very well on the shutter part of the shelf. I changed over and started using a 1 x 12 cut down to about 8 1/2 to 9 inches wide and routered on the top edge,
Step 4: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions - What Hangers to Use
This next step is when I installed whatever I had chosen for hangers. Whether drawer pulls or door knobs. Depending on the item, decide how big a hold you will need to drill and whether the back side will have to be recessed so that your shelf will fit flush to the wall. Then simply attach your hanger. I had some old door knobs that were a bit trickier to attach and my husband ended up drilling the old screw holes out and tapped in for a bolt.
Step 5: Hanging Your Shelf
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 painted the plugs. Way too much hassle. Then I discovered these handy hangers on Rockler Woodworking and Hardware and also came across them in Lowe's. Easy as pie and still keeps the shelf close to the wall.
Hope this helps if you do come across any cool shutters.