Condo Blues: Barnwood Speaker Shelves

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Barnwood Speaker Shelves

Its funny how one little DIY project like painting an accent wall turns into a tumble of DIY projects like installing a TV wall mount, updating the fireplace surround with paint, and now building barn wood shelves for the surround sound speakers. It is like eating Terra Chips around here. I can’t eat just one.

During the mounting the flat screen TV project I did as part of Husband’s birthday present, I originally wanted the surround sound speaker placement to be on the back wall around the TV for optimal sound. I realized I have more TV than TV niche wall space. Plan B: make surround sound shelves from the reclaimed wood I rescued from a broken fence.

Learn how to build these reclaimed wood display shelves. It's easy. Promise.

I feel like I should almost apologies for having a flat TV, surround sound, and TV components because in  having a TV, let alone cable and a video game system is pooh-poohed in eco circles. I’m going to address it but I’m not going to apologize for it.

I used to work in TV. I like to watch it. We don’t have Netflix. There are things we like to watch in real time and that’s why we have cable. It is bundled with the Internet we use to work from home. We collected the components over time, some are older than our house. The surround sound adds a kick to movies, we like it, and we are keeping it. The flat TV was our family Christmas gift a few years ago and I’m glad Husband suggested it. The color and picture is awesome. I’d like to say we only use it to watch Husband’s animals eating other animal shows (you may call them documentary nature shows) but that’s not entirely true. Winter is cold, gray, and often depressing here and we like to escape with a movie, silly video game, or karaoke night because I can’t make sawdust all the time to cope with the winter blahs and expect to keep my marriage intact.

We good? OK. Moving on.

How to Make a Wood Shelf

Don't let that this project requires a saw intimidate you. This project requires a few simple straight cuts that make it good beginner project. If you want to learn how to use a saw, this project is your chance!

You will need

Reclaimed wood
Tape measure
Compound miter saw, circular saw, or table saw if you’re lucky
Safety glasses
Sanding block
Craft paint (optional)
Water and bowl
Shelf brackets (I bought mine at Home Depot)
Stud finder
Dry wall anchors

1. Measure the width of the speaker shelves and add a couple of inches to the measurement to make room for the shelf bracket. The added measurement will depend upon the type of shelf bracket you are using for your shelves.

2. Mark the measurements on the barn wood with the pencil. While wearing your safety glasses, use the saw to cut the shelves taking all saw safety precautions.

3. Use the sanding block to sand down any rough edges from your woodcuts. I want a rustic wood shelf look and used a few light swipes to knock back the jags on the edges of the wood from my cuts. Your mileage may vary.

4. Optional. It may be sacrilegious to paint barn wood but I want black shelves to tie in to my vision for the rest of the room. I also want to keep and highlight the texture of the rustic wood because you can’t buy character like this in a lumberyard. I know. I’ve tried. I didn’t have wood stain on hand. I split the difference between staining and painting the shelves (and potentially hiding the rustic shelf goodness) by creating a wood stain of sorts by watering down black craft paint. I used three parts water to 1 part craft paint solution. I had to play with the amounts, painted it on and the liquid soak into the wood. I did two coats of paint stain to get the look I wanted.

When the paint soaks into wood it will dry lighter and in a matte finish

5. Hang the shelf brackets. The details will depend upon the size and type of bracket you want to use. However, a few things are universal when it comes to hanging a shelf that won’t come crashing off the wall in the middle of the night.

  • Use a stud finder to find a stud in your wall to anchor the shelf brackets into for shelf stability. My stud finder works by pressing the button on the side and slowly moving the stud finder along the wall. The two LED lights turn red when it detects a stud in the wall.
No red lights. Not saying a word...

I mounted the side speakers into a stud on the side walls of the TV niche. 

  • If you want to hang a shelf do not have a wall stud in the area, like I did with the center speaker, you will need to use a drywall anchor to hang the shelf. I like screw in drywall anchors because they are easy to install. You drill a small pilot hole in the drywall and screw the drywall anchor into the wall with a manual screwdriver (don’t use an electric screwdriver. It will strip the wall anchor. Trust me. Don’t do it.)

Make sure you buy a drywall anchor rated to hold the weight you plan to put on your shelf.

  • As much as I love my power tools, sometimes, in a case like this, a manual screwdriver is the way to go because it allows the screws to catch better in the drywall or wall stud.

Please excuse the semi blurry photo. 
It's hard to take a clear photo like this one handed!

6. Attach the barn wood shelves to shelf brackets. Again, the details depend on the type of shelf bracket you choose. My shelf bracket has a screw in the bottom of the bracket that tightens the bracket around the shelf and holds it into place.


7. Top the rustic shelves with the surround sound speaker system, make some Coconut “Carmel”popcorn, and bring on movie night!

And we're done!

Let's reveal the whole wall, fireplace, TV niche snowball of projects project.



The green wall brings the pop of color this room sorely needed. I like the clean look of the neater TV niche. My long term plan for the living room included some sort of sliding artwork/cover for the TV niche. I'm going to live with it for awhile before I decide if that idea is off the DIY list.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

No comments :

Post a Comment

I love comments and read them all! If you’re shy and don’t want your opinions made public, you can always email me at condoblues [at] gmail [dot] com.