Make Some Mantelpiece Shelves

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Combine stock and shop-made molding to create display shelves fit for all kinds of curios

It might be the New England Yankee in me that can’t stand to see wall space that hasn’t been put to good use, whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, or bedroom. Mantelpiece shelves dispel such discomfort and provide a double dose of beauty in the bargain. You get to display cherished objects on a shelf that has its own beauty in the form of contours and shadow lines.

The mantelpiece moniker comes from the ornate molding treatments that have traditionally framed fireplaces. But you don’t need a hearth to create an attractive display shelf. Home furnishing catalogs sell factory-made versions of these shelves, but they’re not nearly as nice as woodworkers can make them – despite their high prices. The techniques shown here will take you through the design and construction process, enabling you to create your own masterpiece from premilled stock and shop-made moldings.

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