This isn't a pretty picture day (you can see those here). This is an ugly picture day. But when you finish looking at the ugly pictures you will know how to make your own shelving out of vintage metal crown molding. Technically you will know one method for making shelving with any crown molding. But a non-metal crown will be easier to build.
Here is what you need:
Strip of metal crown molding - my piece was 4 feet long (a full section)
The equivalent amount of 1x8 lumber - the width of the board will depend on the size of your molding
The equivalent amount of 3/4 inch trim molding.
The equivalent amount plus several feet of 1x2 lumber
Section of 1/8 inch plywood - could be thicker which might be much easier but I had the 1/8 inch and it was free. I like free.
Chop Saw - I had my boards cut at the store but ended up needing to take some off of each piece.
Heavy Duty construction adhesive
Wax - clear and dark
Divide the molding into the sizes you want. Mark with sharpie.
If you haven't already, clean the metal - remove loose paint and rust.
Cut along marked line with tin snips.
I painted them prior to building. I just wanted to get a feel for what they would look like.
Do a dry fit with your shelf, the side pieces,and the molding to determine the length of the side braces. Mark the cut line on the side braces.
Cut the side braces to fit and attach them to the top shelf with wood glue and screws. I just screwed through the top of the shelf into the side brace. This wouldn't work if you needed maximum stability.
Use Lineman's pliers or another heavy duty pliers to flatten the top edge of the molding. Then make a 1/4 fold along the edge of the molding.
Lay the molding over the frame and hammer along top front edge to make an impression into the wood. You want to try to get the front of the shelf as flat as possible.
Attach crown molding to the wooden frame with appropriate nails. Your shelf will look like this:
Measure, cut and attach the wooden molding to the front of the shelves.
Now the hard part.
The crown molding is old and bent up so each side is shaped differently. Each side needs to be traced onto the plywood to try to assure the best fit along the side of the shelf.
Label each shelf with a number and label the right side and left side.
Trace each side and label it with the corresponding side/shelf.
Use a jigsaw to cut each side piece out. My jigsaw sucks and it really roughed the edges. It was OK because the shelves were supposed to be rugged, but if they had needed to be smooth I would have been in trouble.
Fit the cut out sides to the side frame and nail down the back edge. A little wood glue would be good here as well.
Now the even harder part. How closely the metal matches up to the wood depends on two things: how good you were at marking and cutting, and most importantly whether you actually cut the molding perfectly initially (it is easy to mess this up)
Clamp the edges, clamping the metal to the edge of the plywood. It will not match up everywhere, but you get it as close as possible. It will take several clamps.
Run a THICK bead of construction adhesive along the INSIDE corners where the metal meets the wood. Let it dry for a LONG time. The metal should not pull away from the wood when you remove the clamps.
One of my edges just didn't match up because it was actually too narrow at the top so I had to build it up with adhesive.
Caulk along the edges to fill any gaps and smooth the transition between the metal and wood.
Let dry some more.
Sorry I don't have pictures of this but my hands were either too wet, gluey, or caulky to use the camera during this phase.
This shelf (above) was the one where I had to do some remodeling of the edge. It doesn't look as good as the others, but it's acceptable in my imperfect home.
Paint the top and sides of the shelf and touch up any spots on the molding. Painting over raw wood will take two coats. I used CeCe Caldwell's Simply White.
Wax with clear wax. If you want to use dark/antiquing wax do it now. I used CCC medium antiquing wax and Annie Sloan's dark wax.
The shelves are pretty light so I just mounted some cheap shelf brackets (6" deep and 8" long) and fit the shelves over the brackets. They are very stable but if I notice that they don't stay stable I will use some stick-on Velcro between the bracket and the shelf.
I like them. I really like them.
Make something wonderful today!
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