How to Build a Corner Shelf for You Bathroom at TechShop




My sister-in-laws bathroom countertop was getting a little crowded and mentioned to my wife that she wanted to buy a corner shelf.  My wife then proceeded to tell her that I could build one for her one. 

So yup, you guessed it.  I built one at Tech Shop

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Step 1: Gather Tools and Cut Materials

1”x 10”x 6’ pine board
#10 biscuits

Tools :
Miter Saw
Biscuit Jointer
Orbital Sander
Tape measure

I used the miter saw cut the board into

six -  9 ½” squares (shelves)

two - 4 ½” cuts (top and bottom slab)

then lightly sanded the material

Step 2: Lay Out the Shelf and Make the Biscuit Cuts

After the boards we cut to size I laid out the material so that I could visually see the shelf unit.

With the material laid out, I then clamped a square scrap of MDF to the workbench to use as backing for the biscuit jointer.  I then, one piece at a time (to not get mixed up) lined the shelf with the edge of the work table (for biscuit alignment) and cut the biscuits into the shelves.  And then placing each piece back to the layout position.

Step 3: Glue Up

After all the biscuit cuts and been made, I brushed on glue and added the biscuits to the joints, one joint at a time.  I broke the gluing and clamping process down to three sections- top, bottom, and middle.  I know there are better ways, but I just don’t know them.  And after allowing them to set up for a while (1 hr.) I then proceeded to glue and clamp all three sections together to complete the glue up process.

Step 4: Final Sanding

After the glue had plenty of time to set up (about 4 hours).  I used an orbital sander with 220 grit sand paper to smooth out the faces and edges of each shelf.  I also rounded the outside corner of each shelf that was sticking out so that there would not be a sharp point on each corner of the shelf.

Step 5: Finish

To install the shelf I will drill two recessed holes at the top and bottom of the shelf “slabs” and anchor the shelf to the wall.  The screw holes will then be covered by buttons and should blend in nicely. As far as the finish, it could be stained, but the color and painting will be done by my sister–in-law.  And I’m definitely not picking out a color, I’m sure it would be the wrong one.

Well, this is what the corner shelf will kind of look like mounted on the wall just to give you an idea, but with tons of items on the shelf.  I’m sure my sister-in-law will love having her countertop back.

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26 Discussions


Question 1 year ago on Step 2

What are the biscuit pieces for exactly? And are they mandatory for this project? I don't have a biscuit jointer


3 years ago

I ended up making it with a handsaw and a bunch of sanding. The two end boards ended up getting damaged by my kreg (first time using it). I still like the way it turned out and it's held on with just two packs of large poster command strips (the velcro style ones. Feels incredibly solid and has had plenty on it for about two weeks now.


5 years ago on Introduction

Sir, love the shelf. After fallowing your directions, i found an error. You state that 6- 9 1/2 pieces are needed, yet in the photos provided you used 7. We tried using just 6 and the shelf comes out a little wonky. After closer reading, and picture studying, we found our error. My son now has an awesome shelf for his room. Also was able to work on his Cub Scout Badge in the process. Thank You!!!


6 years ago on Step 3

I love the shelf. It's Amazing what you can do with one simple board!

I do have a couple of questions though.

What is the advantage of using a biscuit joiner, biscuits and glue to join the shelves over screws or nails and glue?

Also did you do anything to the wood to protect it from the bathroom moisture and the water splashes it will have to endure being right next to the sink, or did you just choose wood that could deal with it.

2 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

I'm an amateur, so please don't take my answer as fact, but I believe that by using the biscuits and glue it should create a bond that should be comparable to a solid piece of wood. Using a mechanical fastener like screws or nails should give it just as much strength, but the major advantage I see is that you can not see the biscuits. Especially if you want to stain the shelf.

Although I don't think they will get to much direct water. They biggest problem will be the humidity, I think paint will give them enough protection. My sister in law used a semi gloss paint, (some kind of green), hopefully it will protect the shelf.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Hmm, you're an amateur who's able to achieve professional results :)

Thanks for letting me know, as I really did not know the why as to one way over the other.

I've seen the hand held biscuit joiner every time I go visit my local Harbor Freight and wondered what it did (they don't explain the purpose of most tools, they just sell them). LOL Despite that I wondered if i should get it, as it is one of the cheaper tools they sell.


6 years ago on Introduction

Thank you all for your comments, I got the ideal from doing a Google search for corner shelves. I hope you enjoy

I'm with Amy on this one. I think this shelf will work great on light items, and feel sturdy, but I don't think it can hold that much weight

I don't think this design would be strong enough for a load of books. Books are much heavier than the sort of toiletries, make-up stuff, etc., that'll be on this set of shelves!


6 years ago on Introduction

I don't have the equipment to make the biscuit cuts... could I pre-drill holes and drill in screws instead?

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Screws and glue should work great too. I only used a biscuit jointer because I have access to one at techshop, otherwise I would have used glue with finish nails. Just maybe try to counter sink them and conceal the screw holes with a wood dowel that can be sanded flush that way they will blend in nicely.


6 years ago on Introduction

Very nice! Lucky sister-in-law, I'd say...

Might want to use some sort of clear sealant-type finish since it's in a place likely to get damp...

ROFL most of my bar clamps have that same Harbor Freight orange and white tag on them too :-)

Great instructable! Off to measure our counter area now.


6 years ago on Introduction

Love it, love it love it!!! Thank you for the great details!
And I have JUST the space for it, too!

Gotta love instructables...