How to Build the Best Wooden Shelf Brackets

“How to Build the best Wooden Shelf Brackets?” I asked myself. Keeping in mind my budget is always where I start my research. I’m glad I found these!

They’re a breeze to put together and can save you so much money, especially on a large project. The time investment it’ll take to put them together is definitely worth the quality, look, & budget saving you get as a return!

Handmade shelf brackets in my master bedroom closet.
The process of building my Master Bedroom Closet organization system. I built the same shelf brackets in this room.

When I was planning out my kitchen and dining room I knew I wanted the open shelving look. I always ask myself the same question, “How can I get what I want without spending a lot of money?”

I like the added challenge to see just how much I can squeeze out of each penny. The challenge was clear, how inexpensively could I build some wooden shelf brackets?

My main inspiration was an old country general store. The look of those beautiful vintage counters, the simple straight lines, and the construction is appealing for three big reasons cost, simplicity & charm.

When you look at historic photos of old general stores it immediately takes you back to simpler times. I feel happy looking at them even though they’re before my time.

I want to feel like that when I walk into my kitchen.

How to build the best shelf brackets, an old general stores shelves as my inspiration for when I build my open shelving in my kitchen. Rustic and simple.
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Simplistic design, natural wood tones, & budget-friendly were the challenges before me. And I think I came up with a way I could achieve all three.

Apothecary shelving is my inspiration for open shelving. Old bottles fill the shelves and grinding bowls sit in the open.


I love the look of these wooden shelf brackets, but I still needed to find THE MOST economic way of building them. 1×2’s come with a rounded edge in our hardware stores and I don’t care for that as much as the straight edges of 1×4’s. So, I bought a 1x4x14 and had my dad rip it on his table saw to create two 1x2x14’s. You can’t get much more economical than that! I was able to get roughly 12 brackets out of a single piece of wood. That’s pretty impressive.

First, I needed to know how many brackets I needed. There are recommendations for how many feet you need between each bracket for the thickness of the board. Then I calculated how much wood I would need & added a little extra just in case I made a bad cut. It’s better to have a little too much than have to make another trip to the store and waste gas & lose momentum in a project.

Now that I decided on what product to use I purchased the wood. All I needed was a saw to cut the wood, wood glue, Kreg Jig, Pocket Screws & Ryobi Brad Nailer. Plus, stain & topcoat of choice. (You could opt to paint).

The shelves in my master bedroom closet were built using the same method of the easiest and best shelf brackets with 1x4x8 ripped into 1x2x8s.
My master bedroom closet organization system was created using the same exact shelf bracket method.


I started somewhat of an assembly line to get into my groove. I had my cut list in hand and started with all the straight cuts first. The top and bottom will be straight cuts. With a shelf depth of 11 1/2″ I really only needed brackets that were 9″ deep & 9″ total length (taking into account the thickness of the top piece, 3/4″, the second cut need only be 8 1/4″ long). These are the top and bottom of your bracket.

For the angled piece heed my advice and cut the 45-degree cut for each piece. Do not cut them and then do the angled cuts. 8 7/8″ is not a very big piece to hold onto safely up close to a 12″ miter saw blade while cutting an angle. So, make the angled cut, then measure 8 7/8″ from that point, mark it, turn your board completely over and cut in the opposite direction from your first cut.

You just go back and forth like this and the angles should angle out from each other like wings. These pieces will nestle in the middle of the top and bottom.

natural pine 1x2 boards sanded and prepped to stain and assemble the best wooden shelf brackets by capturing wonderland
Raw pine 1×2 boards ready to stain and assemble.


First, I began my Kreg Jig holes. You want the holes to go UP into the top for maximum strength. So, make sure to put all your holes on the 8 1/4″ pieces.

Second, I sanded each individual piece until it was nice and smooth.

Third, I made piles of one of each piece to form an assembly line. I used wood glue to secure the top piece to the bottom piece and used two brad nails going straight down.

Fourth, I drilled 2 holes into the 8 1/4″ pieces, these are where your screws will go to secure them to the wall. I found it easier to make the top hole at a slight angle because once you get the angle of the bracket connected you cannot easily access that to screw it into the wall. I learned this the hard way.

Fifth, add wood glue to the top and bottom of the angle piece and hold it in place. I used 2 brad nails on the top and bottom at a slight angle to secure it.

BONUS TIP: You may need to re-sand a few spots as your wood glue dries since the stain will not be accepted on top of any dried glue.

Pine 1x2 boards stained and partially assembled ready drying on cardboard. the best wooden shelf brackets by capturing wonderland


This is where I really started to believe I’d made the right choice. I used Early American stain by Rustoleum and it is my absolute favorite stain. It really gives a vintage vibe to these simple farmhouse wooden shelf brackets, like they could have come out of Thomas Jefferson’s workshop. That’s what I was looking for, the illusion of history.

I used wipe-on poly because it is the easiest top coat to use by far. You simply put on some gloves, use a lint-free rag, and wipe on! Let it set in the sun and it’s dry within an hour. One coat was sufficient for me!


If you were to go to IKEA to purchase similar shelf brackets you would spend a minimum of $5 per bracket, here are some very similar options. Multiply that by 12 and you get a lot of money. By making them myself, I was able to do it for a fraction of the cost even with today’s lumber costs.

Granted, I understand not everyone has access to a table saw or someone else with access to a table saw. So, in that situation, you could definitely use a 1x2x8 and still save yourself some money!

My goal is always to try to do things as economically as possible, even if that means extra effort. You can save money without sacrificing quality, but it will cost you time. Luckily that is something most of us can find.

These will be prominently displayed in my kitchen. Look for that upcoming project soon!

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    1. Thank you! There was a time when I was not so handy. I’m of the belief that anyone can do it if I can! I had zero power tool experience when I started, just a desire to learn!

  1. I believe I have a couple of similar brackets from Ikea, but you’re right – if you want a lot of them it would be much cheaper to make them yourself. Plus, you get the option to stain or paint them exactly how you want them. Thanks for inspiring us to do it ourselves!

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