How To Build A Large Wall Shelf with Varathane Premium

Everyone loves when a DIY project can add functionality and beauty to a home! Dena Breitmeyer from Fletcher Creek Cottage shows how a simple dyeing project can be completed in one afternoon with just a few materials from The Home Depot.

I love it when a DIY project can add functionality and beauty to my home! I love it even more when the project is super simple, uses very few materials and you can do it in just one afternoon!

This DIY is fun and easy to do

Today I am looking forward to sharing the steps of how I built the large wall shelves that I have in our house! I will also tell you how to finish them so that they have an individual look that will help them really stand out from your wall. If you have a garage with a few things on hand, you probably won’t have to buy much for this project! I just had to buy the following three materials to build this shelf.

Materials needed to build this large wall shelf

Tools needed for this project

This project is super easy so you only need a few tools. You have to cut your boards to length if you don’t buy them in the length you want. My boards are 8ft and I will use the entire length. I’m just going to cut the rough end off with my compound miter saw. You can also use a circular saw for this step if you don’t have a miter saw.

You’ll also need a cordless drill to attach the 2 × 6 boards to the consoles, either a sanding block or an orbital sander (I used a sanding block) and a spirit level (to hang the shelf on).

Here’s a helpful tip to consider before you start

Lumber like 2x6s has a rounded edge. If you don’t want your shelf to look like this, you can take a ⅛ or ¼ inch off both sides of your 2×6 by running it through a table saw. This step is completely unnecessary, but will give your shelf a more polished look if you only slightly remove the corners. I have nothing against the rounded edge, so I’ll skip this step … just know it’s an option!


Once you have your boards, consoles, and stains, you’re good to go. The first step is to put a 2 × 6 on the floor and then put both brackets on your back (the side that faces the wall) and then decide how far you want your brackets to be from the edge of the shelf . Since my shelf is 8 feet long, I decided to put my consoles 8 inches from each end.

Helpful tip

The longer your shelf is, the further away from the ends (towards the middle) you should place your consoles. This helps with the support and also looks better overall. If you’re making a shelf that’s a bit shorter (e.g., 3 to 4 feet long), keep the brackets closer to the ends. I would probably place them on a 4 foot shelf 4 to 6 inches from the ends.

Use your cordless drill to screw two 3 ½ inch construction screws into the top of the shelf and the bottom of the wooden console.

Repeat this step at the other end of the shelf. Make sure your consoles stay flush with the board while you attach them. After you have attached the first card, place your second card in front of the first and repeat the steps again.

Prepare the shelf for stains

You now have a shelf and it’s time to prepare for stains! Ventilation is important, which is why I like to work outdoors or in my garage with open doors when sanding and pickling! Since these consoles are pre-ground, this step is child’s play! Simply perform a sanding block with a grit of 180 or more on rough edges and remove dust with a lint-free cloth. Now you’re ready for the fun part … finish it off with a nice stain! If you are working indoors / in the garage, be sure to use a drop cloth or plastic before pickling to protect your floors.

How to finish your custom shelf with Varathane Premium Stain

The choice of the stain to use is simple … I used it Varathane Premium Stain on countless projects for years and it always does a nice job! I love using Varathane Premium Stain for my projects as it only takes one shift, dries in 1 hour and no wood conditioner is required when using this stain! It is easy to use and a little goes a long way! I think it’s great that I can be sure that my projects are well protected.

Helpful tip: If you are not sure which color to use, test more than one color on a piece of wood before you decide or apply directly to your shelf.

Varathane Premium wood stainhas many trend colors to choose from. I used the color for this project Golden pecan. Some of my other favorite colors that Varathane offers are Kona and Dark walnut! Weathered gray is also one that I’ve used a lot and I love it. Bleached sun is also awesome to get more of a whitewashed look (as I have with all of our interior and moldings). I think it would be nice against a darker color on a wall. Because my walls are white, I think they are Pecan looks great on this shelf and helps it highlight just enough without being overwhelming!

Varathane Premium wood stain Application steps

Always stir the wood stain before applying it to your shelf. I like to use a rag or cloth to dye something this size. You can use a brush if you want (this is an oil-based stain. If you use a brush, you can easily clean it with mineral spirits). I also recommend wearing gloves when using a rag to apply the stain. When using a rag, you want it to be wet but not soaking wet (not dripping). Make sure the wood is thoroughly saturated when applying the stain. Then remove any additional stains with a clean, lint-free cloth. Pay attention to areas where they may have run or dripped (e.g. in the inner corners). If the wood drips, wipe it off immediately before it can soak. Repeat this across the entire shelf.

Once your shelf is completely dirty, let it dry for the recommended time of one hour and then you can hang it up! Projects like this are so much fun and can really give your home so much interest! I have made many of these shelves over the years and I love how Varathane Premium Wood Stain can completely transform normal old, inexpensive 2x6s into a beautiful shelf! Nobody would ever guess that this was just pine under this beautiful color!

Hang your new wall shelf

This Consoles are my point of contact when building shelves, as they are already provided with a recessed bracket on the back! When buying consoles, be sure to buy solid wood! When I tried this project for the first time, I used artificial wooden consoles. They broke after standing on the wall for a few weeks and the entire shelf fell to the floor !!! Fortunatly nobody was hurt! Lesson learned and this is not a mistake I will make again!

You need to make sure you hit a bolt in your wall when hanging your new shelf. Or make sure you use a wall anchor that is designed to support the weight of your shelf. My shelf hangs on my 1 × 4 pine boards (DIY shiplap). I knew it would carry the weight of the shelf and everything I put on the shelf!

I love a fun project that only takes an afternoon to build and looks fantastic when it’s done! Now that I’ve shown how easy this project is … would I like to know who else will build their own shelf?

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