Millie’s Remodel is almost done. Today I want to teach you how to build and install the strongest floating shelves. Then make them even better with hidden LED under lighting. Let’s learn how to build these Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Lighting!

How to Build Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Under Lighting

Millie’s Remodel: Super Strong Floating Shelves with Under Lighting

You know when you embark on a project and you’re not quite sure if your vision will work? This was one of those projects. In the end, I can honestly say, the results were much better than in my imagination! These floating shelves put off just the right amount of light in the Millie’s Remodel kitchen. The modern black floating shelves are a true show stopper against the modern hex tiles.

Today I’ll show you how to build floating shelves with LED Tape light underneath. But, before we begin, I have to give a huge shout out to Kichler for being a sponsor of the Millie’s Remodel project and for donating the LED tape lights and materials for this project.

Kichler logo

Quality Will Save You Money! I  love knowing all the Kichler lighting I used in the Millie’s Remodel house is top quality and will long after I leave this project. I learned my lesson in the past when I bought a few cheap light fixtures for the Saving Etta house and ended up with missing and defective parts. In the end, I paid more to purchase parts to make those cheap lights work. Plus, I had to pay my electrician for the extra time spent installing the lights. I’ve learned my lesson and only purchase quality lighting like Kichler lighting.

About the LED Tape Lights:

I’ve always wanted to use LED tape lights on a project. I like the idea of using an energy-efficient and low-profile lighting for under sleek modern shelving. LED tape lights aren’t hot to the touch, so they are safer than old halogen lights. Tape lights are so thin, they tuck up under a channel for a stealth lighting solution. Connecting them is as simple as trimming the tape lights on the cut lines, then sliding the strip under the metal clip, and closing the cover. It couldn’t be simpler.

I had my electrician run the wiring for these low voltage LED lights while he was replacing all the non-grounded electrical in the house. We followed the directions provided with the LED tape lights and found it straight-forward. If you aren’t working on a remodel where the walls are open, you can run the wiring from an alternate power source or outlet. Just be sure to follow the instructions and definitely check with your local building codes first and pull permits where necessary.

Learn more about all the creative places and applications for LED Tape lights here.

Kichler Products Installed:

I can’t wait to show you how to build these Super Strong Floating Shelves with Under Lighting. So let’s go ahead and jump right into this tutorial!


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


My friend, Chris from a Glimpse Inside, created a fantastic tutorial for building floating shelves, so I recommend watching his video first to learn how to build the components of the shelves. I’ll go over the build briefly, but he gives more details on how to build them.

Video Tutorial:

After you watch Chris’s video, watch my video for the process from building the shelves to adding the LED lighting.


I highly recommend taking measurements for your space and then spend some time figuring out how to get the maximum use out of your sheet goods. My shelves were 36″ wide and 38″ wide. The longer your shelves, the more supports you will need. I recommend spacing supports no more than 6-8″ apart.

Tracksaw vs. Table Saw:

You may notice I’m using my DeWalt TrackSaw to cut the plywood. After getting this track saw from DeWalt a few years ago, I’ve found myself using it more than my table saw. It’s much easier to lift the track than a whole sheet of plywood. Plus, this track saw is battery-powered, so I don’t trip my breaker when running the shop vac at the same time. The track saw is safer to use because the blade is almost completely covered. My cuts are much more precise because the blade cuts perfectly along the edge of the track. This saw is super portable, and because it’s battery-powered I can take it with me and cut down my sheet goods in the parking lot if needed! Just be sure to purchase a piece of rigid foam insulation to use as a cutting surface.

using DeWalt battery-powered track saw to cut plywood

Getting Exact Repetitive Cuts:

You’ll notice in the video, you can clamp a stop block on your saw to ensure all the support arms will be the exact same length. When using a stop block, don’t clamp the opposite end of your workpiece because you can create a dangerous situation pinching the saw blade.

stop block clamped to miter saw fence

How to Get Even Spacing:

To figure out the dimension of your spacing between the support arms, gang the supports together and take the measurement of the area left.

how to get even space measurement

Then divide it by the number of spaces between the arms to figure out the length of the spacers.

cut spacer pieces

Assembling the Wall-Mounted Support Arms:

Cut all your pieces to build the floating shelves. It’s important to dry fit all your pieces before assembly. Now that your wall-mounted support pieces have been cut it’s time to assemble it.

To assemble the supports, add wood glue to any surface that will touch another part. Then tack the pieces together with brad nails to hold them while the glue cures. For added strength, screw thin trim screws into the support arms where possible.

Tip to Sink Screws Easier:

When driving wood screws into several layers of wood (i.e. plywood) or into a hardwood, you can help the screw by lubricating it on a bar of soap.

rub screws on soap to make them go easier into hard wood or multiple layers of wood

Just rub the screws on the soap and watch how easy they will drive into the wood now!

Building the Shelf Top and Bottom:

To cut the top and bottom of the shelves, simply trace around the support and cut the plywood to size.

The shelves will be connected by pieces of plywood that get sandwiched between the top and bottom of the shelves. These pieces will slide in between the arms on the wall-mounted support arms.

The connector pieces are the length of the wall-mounted arms, minus one thickness of plywood. In the video, you can see how I added another scrap of plywood against my stop block to get the exact length.

Once the connector pieces are spaced evenly, attach them to the top and bottom of the shelf with wood glue and nails.

assembled top bottom shelf pieces

To create a channel for the LED Tape Lights, use a router and the 3/8″ straight bit to create a channel 1 inch in from the edge of the shelves at about ½”  deep. Then sand the channel smooth.

The last step is to drill a hole into the bottom of the channel wide enough to feed the tape light through. Make sure you coordinate the location of this hole with the wiring location in your wall. This way all the connections will be hidden inside the floating shelf and won’t have to cross through a support arm.

hole in bottom channel of shelf

How to Secure Floating Shelves to the Wall:

It’s important to hang floating shelves on studs or blocking. Whenever I build a house or take it down to the studs, I add blocking where shelving will be hung. This greatly simplifies finding solid wood to hang the shelves on. I also take photos or video at this stage to remind me where the blocking is. To simplify the process one more step, I write the measurements of the blocking height and width on the studs that I can reference in my photos or video.

Using a laser level, mark the shelf location (you can use painter’s tape if you can’t write on the tile.) Drill through the wall (or tile) into the blocking and studs.  Depending on where your power is for the LED lighting, plan how it will get inside the floating shelves. You may need to drill a hole through the back of the wall-mounted support and gently feed the wiring through the support before securing it to the wall.

Use structural screws to secure the shelf support to the wall. If your floating shelf touches another surface (like a wall or cabinet) add screws through the sides into those surfaces for additional strength.

Slide the top and bottom shelving over the wall-mounted support as shown below.

slide shelving over wall-mounted supports

Installing LED Tape Lighting:

Kichler has a fantastic video detailing how to install the tape lighting. Once you have power leads installed it’s so simple to hook up to the power supply. Then the tape backing is removed and you simply press the tape where you want it. In our case, we are setting it into the 3/8″ channel on the bottom of the shelves.

Watch the Kichler LED Tape Light Install video for more details:

Find the power wires, and bring them toward the hole you drilled into the bottom channel of your shelving.

Peel back 1/4 inch from the end of your tape light and feed it up through the hole in the bottom of the shelf. Then follow the instructions provided with your tape light to connect it to your wiring. In this case, it simply slips under the connector (while lining up the + and – signs.)

Test the connection by turning on the light and make sure your LED tape light illuminates.

If the lights work, peel off the rest of the adhesive backing and secure the tape into the channel under your shelf. Trim the tape light only at the cut locations marked on the tape.

All that’s left to do is add the front and side trim to your shelves. Secure it to the arm supports with a few brad nails.

add trim pieces on

Then fill in the nail holes and touch up paint. Finish your shelving with a durable clear topcoat.

The Kitchen Reveal:

Before I show you the reveal, do you remember what the Millie’s Remodel kitchen used to look like before?

Shortly after purchasing the house:

During demolition:

After cabinet and flooring removal:

Down to the studs!

kitchen framing and subfloor repairs

Finally, the amazing after!

I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of this kitchen. I ran into so many challenges, like black mold, a floor that needed to be leveled, then laying the floor tile, installing cabinets, and finally the backsplash and these gorgeous lit floating shelves!

I took a few risks on the design, but ultimately I love every inch of this kitchen. What do you think?

To see the full Millie’s Remodel series, click here.

Disclosure: Kichler Lighting is a Millie’s Remodel gold sponsor. I was provided with complimentary fixtures for the house. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.

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How to Build Super Strong Floating Shelves with LED Under Lighting

modern boho side table

I built this side table as part of the bedroom furniture set for my daughter’s new room. It may look a little complicated, but can be built with a circular saw or a table saw.  Let’s make this DIY Modern Boho Side Table!

diy side table

DIY Modern Boho Side Table

Hello again! This is Kristen from In Her Garage and I am going to show you how I built this simple DIY side table (or nightstand). I built this as part of the bedroom furniture set for my daughter’s new room. We decided that we liked the Boho furniture trend and think it complements the bedding she picked out.

This side table is small but can be customized to your desires. It measures 24″w x 24″h x 17″d and is made from birch plywood. The side table incorporates beveled edges (which I think gives it a crisp and clean look).  It may look a little complicated, but these corners can be achieved using a circular saw or a table saw.  Let’s get making!

How to Build a Side Table


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Cut list:

  • 2- 3/4″ x 24″ x 17″ – with a 45° bevel along one short edge (sides)
  • 1- 3/4″ x 24″ x 17″ – with two 45° bevels along both short edges (top)
  • 1- 3/4″ x 22 ½” x 17″ (bottom shelf)
  • 1- 3/4″ x 22 ¼ ” x 5″ (drawer face)


Step 1: Cut the bevel into the top and side panels of the side table.

  • Using either your table saw or your circular saw, adjust the blade to cut at a 45° bevel.  To get this measurement exact I use a Wixey Digital Angle Finder which is helpful but if you don’t have this tool then feel free to use a speed square or protractor.
  • Each side panel should have one bevel cut along the top edge
  • The top panel should have a bevel cut along each side as pictured below

Step 2: Add pocket holes to the shelf panel

  • Using your Kreg Jig, set to 3/4″ depth, drill three pocket holes into each side on the bottom of the shelf panel.  This is how your shelf will attach to the sides of the side table.

Step 3: Edge banding

I won’t go over all of the steps for applying iron-on edge banding in this tutorial because the Pretty Handy Girl has already done this for me! If you are new to edge banding check out Brittany’s Edge Banding Tutorial.

  • You will need to edge band the front edge of each panel (side panels, top panel, and shelf panel). This will finish the visible sides.
  • You can also edge band all edges of the drawer face if you wish.  This piece will be inset into the side table, so the edges won’t be visible when the drawer is closed but you’ll see them when open.
  • Another option would be to use a solid piece of 1×6 for the drawer face to avoid needing to band the edges all together. (I used a scrap piece of 1×6 so it didn’t need edge banding.)

Step 4: Install drawer slides to table carcass

  • Install the drawer slides (meant to attach to the cabinet) on the inside of each side panel measuring down 4 ½” from the top of the bevel and 3/4″ in from the front edge as shown.  This is the step where the self-centering drill bit is really helpful to have!


Step 5: Assemble the sides and top panels. The table will be upside down during assembly

  • Add two pieces of painter’s tape to each of the two outside edges of the top panel, perpendicular to both beveled edges.
  • Set the top panel down on your work surface upside down, sticky side of the tape facing up, and place the two side panels with the beveled edges touching the top panel’s beveled edge, also being sure to align the front and back of the panels. Press down firmly so the tape sticks to all three panels.

  • Add an even bead of glue to both beveled surfaces and then lift one side panel as if closing a book. The two beveled edges will meet, and the tape will hold it in place (see photos below). Repeat this step for the other side panel.

The photo below is from another project, but shows how to use painter’s tape for holding the bevel joint in place.

tape back for bevel joints

  • You can add a few 1 ¼” brad nails to the joint to help hold it in place. Use wood putty to fill in the brad holes and sand smooth.

Step 6: Install shelf panel

  • Install the shelf 4″ from the bottom of each side panel using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket holes.
  • This step is easier to accomplish with wood clamps or by carefully laying the table on one side.

Step 7: Build the drawer

  • There are several different ways to build drawer boxes. The dimensions for this drawer are 3 ½” tall and 18″ deep. The width of your drawer depends on the specific drawer slides that you’ve chosen to use. I have provided a diagram for a simple method of building drawer boxes. (Or you can follow this tutorial for building drawers.)


Step 8: Paint or Stain and Finish

  • Once the side table carcass is assembled and the drawer face has been edge-banded (if that is what you chose to do) then you can paint or stain your DIY side table.  I chose to paint the carcass and apply a gloss top coat to give it a pretty shine. I left the drawer face a natural wood color because this is what looked best in my daughter’s room.

Step 9: Install the drawer face

  • Once the carcass and drawer face are finished to your liking then you can slide the drawer box into place.
  • Attach the drawer face using super glue and simply eye-balling the top and side gaps. Hold the drawer face firmly against the drawer box until they adhere together.  Then gently pull the drawer out and drive two 1 ¼” wood screws from inside the drawer into the back of the drawer face.

  • Feel free to add a pretty drawer pull or knob if you want. My daughter liked it without, so we decided to leave it as is.

Check out the entire furniture collection that I created for my youngest daughter’s bedroom.

DIY Platform Bed and DIY Quote Sign

Stay tuned for the DIY Hanging Bookshelf that I will be teaching you how to make next month!

Hi! I’m Kristen, from In Her Garage, and I am a self-taught woodworker and DIY fanatic from Minnesota where I live with my husband and our two daughters. Between being a wife, mom and, registered nurse, I try to make as much time for DIY as possible. My love for building came after our family built our current home in 2015. After we moved in, we needed furniture and instead of spending massive amounts of money to order the pieces we wanted I decided that I would build them myself. I started with a buffet table plan from the fabulous Ana-white and quickly set out to remodel my entire home office.

Since then I have started a side business building furniture for the people in my community. I love hearing my clients talk about the pieces they wish they had whether it be a rustic buffet table, a one drawer side table, or a toy box and then making it a reality for them. While starting my small business it made perfect sense that I would document my building journey so I simultaneously launched the In Her Garage blog and I love sharing my plans, tips and tricks.

Making something beautiful with your own two hands through a little preparation and determination is an amazing feeling and I hope to bring inspiration and know-how to those looking to tackle a big or small project.
I am so glad that you found me here and please feel free to connect with me on PinterestInstagram, Facebook, and Youtube to see what I am working on right now.


One of the easiest storage solutions is to create your own DIY ladder display shelves using an old ladder for the frame. Not only will you save time, but the money saved makes this project a winner in my book!

DIY Ladder Display Shelves

DIY Ladder Display Shelves

If you’ve been around for a while, you know these ladder display shelves start at $99 and go up depending on size. But, today’s tutorial shouldn’t cost you much and the result will be more personalized to your style (depending on how you finish it.)

pottery barn ladder display shelves
I know you’ve seen them, those adorable ladder display shelves, I really wanted one.  But, the price tags were enough to send me running from the store with my purse gripped tightly in my hands. I mean, really? The one above from Pottery Barn costs $229! I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like spending more than $50 on something I can build myself.

Fast forward a few weeks, and when I saw this ladder at the Habitat ReStore for $15, I knew it had the potential to fulfill my ladder display shelf dreams.

old rickety ladder
The skeptical cashier tried to persuade me not to buy the ladder, warning me not to climb on it because it was too rickety. But, who cares about rickety, I was in love with the paint splashes all over it!

old ladder resting against white porch wall

So, I hauled the old ladder home (and received funny looks along the way because it was hanging several feet out the back of my car.) Little did they know that I was about to transform that old ladder.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions for Building DIY Ladder Display Shelves:

For this project, you can leave the back of the ladder intact, or pry off the top rivets to separate the front from the back. This gave me the ability to make two things from one ladder. (Be sure to read to the end to find out what I made with the backside!)

Start by measuring the width of each step (and subtract 1/8″ to account for the slant of the ladder.)

measure width of ladder steps

Use 1″ x 12″ pine boards or any size you choose. (I had some leftover shelving material I bought from a yard sale, so it was already pre-finished.)

Cut the boards to the appropriate width on a miter saw or ask the lumber store to cut them for you. Yes, it was a total coincidence that my boards were covered in paint splotches too!

stack of 1x12 boards

Dry fit the boards to make sure they fit your ladder. My heart was thumping now because I could really see the project taking shape!

dry fit shelves on ladder

Next cut some 1″ x 2″ strips the same width as each shelf. These are for the backs of your shelves. If necessary stain your shelves or paint them to match your ladder. Or paint the entire ladder and shelves with chalk paint or a paint plus primer.

dry fit 1x2's to front of shelf boards

Attach the 1×2 strips to the back of the shelves, using wood glue.

adding wood glue to front of shelf

Hold until the glue has gripped the trim piece.

attach shelf front

Or nail the 1″x2″ pieces to the shelves.

attach front of shelf using brad nailer

Choose how far back you want your shelves to rest on the ladder steps. Using a combination square or ruler, mark a line on all the shelves. (I chose a 3″ setback.)

using carpenter square to measure depth of shelves

Pre-drill the location for the screws on each ladder step. Turn your ladder upside down and set the screws inside the holes. Line up your pencil lines on the shelf to your ladder step.

2 screws under ladder step into shelf

Clamp the shelf, or get a buddy to hold the shelf as you drive the screws into the bottom of each. Repeat the process for all the shelves.

3 screws under ladder step into shelf

Then flip the ladder back over and admire! My total cost was $15 because I had the other materials on hand. But, even if you have to buy the screws and lumber, it should cost a lot less than a Pottery Barn shelving unit at $299!

My favorite part about this shelf is the paint splashes.

This DIY Ladder Display Shelf sits on our screen porch. But, this beauty would look good anywhere in your home.

close up ladder shelves decorated with coastal decor

I’m contemplating making one for my new master bathroom.

close up rustic ladder shelves

The minnow trap hanging pendant light is also an easy DIY project.

ladder display shelf resting against wall

So what do you think? Do you like it? I bet you could build one of these ladder display shelves for yourself in an hour or two.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you are wondering what I did with the back of the ladder. You can see how I gave it a quick makeover turning it into a display easel.

ladder easel

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

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DIY Ladder Display Shelves

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

It’s time to reveal how to build custom wood shutters! I designed these easy to build wood shutters for the Millie’s Remodel project and now I can’t wait to share the tutorial with you! It’s a super simple DIY project.

How to Build Custom Wood Shutters – A Super Simple DIY

When I decided I wanted to build shutters for the Millie’s Remodel house, I thought they had to be difficult to make or everyone would be building their own shutters. I was definitely wrong! That being said, there are other shutter styles you can build that are also super simple. But today I’m going to show you how to build these modern shutters (but if you like the farmhouse look, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can alter the look by flipping these shutters over! Be sure to read to the end to see this quick change.)

Let’s back up real quick. When I bought the Millie’s Remodel house, it came with these awful vinyl hunter green shutters. They just weren’t doing anything for the curb appeal of this house. I knew they had to be replaced or we’d be stuck in the 90’s with those hunter green shutters. Sure, I could have tried painting them, but I didn’t like the curved top, nor did I like that the shutters were a little too narrow for the windows.

The new shutters are slightly wider than the vinyl ones. That’s because shutters should be at least one half the width of my window. (Not that I’ll ever close them.) They should look wide enough to cover the window when closed.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

See what I mean? These shutters look much more proportional to the window size, don’t you agree?

Design Inspiration:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I scoured Instagram for some shutter design ideas that would fit the modern style of the house. Luckily I stumbled upon these Instagrammers with some stylish shutters. I’ll link to their accounts in the description below if you want to follow them.

modern wood shutter inspiration

@HopeSaliba | @ArqDulceGomezCanle@SunScout.Studio@OnceWood

Exterior Progress:

As you saw, when I bought the house it had khaki vinyl siding and green vinyl shutters.

We removed the vinyl siding to discover the original wood siding underneath in pristine condition! Then my painter performed his magic by painting the exterior with a specific paint made for masonry. You can see more of the exterior transformation and learn about the paint we used here.

painted brick house Sage Advice by Romabio

Will you look at how naked the house looks, it’s definitely time to build those new custom wood shutters.

How to Build Custom Wood Shutters

Let’s get building and you’ll see how simple it is to create your own modern wood shutters!

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Stain Colors:


The best way to see how to build these shutters is to watch the video and then follow the steps below. Here’s that video tutorial to watch:

Safety Gear:

Before we get building, let’s break out some appropriate safety gear.

Be sure to wear a dust mask, safety glasses, and hearing protection. Now let’s get busy.

Safety When Ripping 2×4 Studs:

To make these shutter frames, I chose to rip 2x4s in half. I’ve found it’s easier to get straight 2×2’s this way, but if you prefer not to rip studs, go ahead and purchase 2x2s. If you decide to rip 2×4’s in half, make sure you know these safety tips.

  1. Never force the lumber through the saw.
  2. Never wear gloves or jewelry that can get caught on anything.
  3. Use a push block as you feed the lumber through the saw. This keeps your fingers away from the blade and gives you more control of the board.
  4. Never reach over the saw blade.
  5. Use an outfeed support to catch and support your lumber as it exits the saw.
  6. As the blade cuts through the 2×4 lumber, the wood may have a tendency to pinch the back of the blade (especially if you are ripping longer boards.) To prevent pinching and make cutting easier, stick a shim or wedge into the cut after it exits the blade. You can see this more clearly in the video.

For more table saw safety tips, read this Table Saw Guidelines post.

Cutting a Rabbet Channel on the Frame:

After ripping the 2x4s in half, you may want to square off the edges (removing the rounded edges.) Now it’s time to cut a rabbet channel into the corner of the 2×2.

To cut the rabbet, center your table saw blade on the 2×2. Raise the blade to slightly more than ¾ of an inch. Then run the 2×2 through the table saw. Rotate the 2×2 ninety degrees and run it through the table saw again. This will leave you with a rabbet channel on the corner of your 2×2.

Body of the Shutters:

Determine the width of your shutters. Ideally, the width of your shutters when finished should equal ½ of your full window width. To get the width of the tongue and groove body pieces, Subtract the width of your frame (about 3/4″ in width x 2) from 1/2 of your window width. Use this measurement to cut your tongue and groove pieces to size.

The shutter height should be the same height as your window. Layout the tongue and groove planks together fitting them together. Then determine how many you need to make your shutter. You may have to rip one or two on the table saw to get your desired height.

Building the Frame:

Cut one end of your 2×2 at a 45-degree angle (the short side will face in toward the rabbet groove.)

Line the inside edge of your frame piece up with the end of one of the tongue and groove boards. Mark on the opposite side of the frame where the tongue and groove board ends. Now cut the frame piece to length on the miter saw.

Time to check your fit! If the frame fits tight against the tongue and groove board, use the top frame piece as a template to cut an identical one for the bottom frame piece.

Time to cut the side frame pieces. Figure out the height of your shutters and cut the sides to size.

After all the frame and body pieces are cut, sand them to remove any rough spots. I like to sand once with 180 grit sandpaper, then switch to 220 grit.

Stain the Shutter Pieces:

The frame and body pieces get two coats of stain. For better coverage, coat once and allow the stain to dry. Then brush on the second coat.

wood shutter pieces after staining

Assemble Shutter:

Time to assemble these shutters. Add a dab of wood glue to the mitered ends, then use a 90 degree corner clamp to hold the pieces square.

Pre-drill into the bottom of the shutter frame and drive a wood screw through the bottom and up into the sides of the frame. Add a nail or two to the side into the top and bottom pieces for additional hold. Repeat for all four corners as shown below.

Lay the cut tongue and groove boards into the frame. Make sure everything fits perfectly and make any adjustments necessary.

Then flip your shutter over so the tongue and groove pieces are upside down. Remove the frame and add a bead of glue around the perimeter of the tongue and groove pieces where the frame touches them. Then lay the frame back on top of the tongue and groove pieces.

Finally, secure the pieces with two long trim nails through each side of the frame and into the body pieces as shown below.

Flip your shutter over and admire your new custom wood shutters. Use wood putty to fill any holes and touch up with appropriate colored stain.

One Shutter with Two Looks:

I wanted to create modern-looking shutters for this house, but the beauty of the tongue and groove planks is the opposite side has a beadboard stripe. When you turn the shutter over, you get a more farmhouse or cottage look.

My assistant and I hung the shutters on the house using exterior screws through the shutter frame and into the siding.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

It’s unreal how different this house looks from the day I bought it!

It doesn’t even look like the same house! And you should see the inside, it’s looking so good. Stay tuned for more updates.

1905's ranch with modern wood shutters

Folding Laptop or Writing Desk

With more of us working from home and needing to create a space to work, this folding laptop and writing table is just the thing you need to make any room into an office!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Folding Laptop and Writing Table Tutorial

My favorite place to write my tutorials is outside on our screen porch when the weather is pleasant. I love listening to the birds and feeling the breeze blow through the screens. Up until this weekend, I was using an old card table as a desk. But, it was large, awkward, and not the correct height for my needs. I wanted a table that was the perfect height and that could fold and store away when not in use. Enter the idea for thus folding laptop and writing table!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I enjoyed the challenge of designing plans for this simple farmhouse style folding laptop/writing table. The materials are simple 2 x 4’s and 3/4 inch plywood. The majority of the steps can be done using simple handheld tools like a drill, multi-tool, and a circular saw. (Feel free to use other tools or alter the plans to fit your size preferences.)


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Cut list:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl


  • 3/4″ finish grade plywood cut to 18″ x 36″

Apron (use 1″ x 3″ boards or you can rip excess plywood):

  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 14 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 34″


  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 28 1/4″
  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 26 3/4″
  • 1 – 2″ x 2″ cut to 14 1/2″ (if ripping a 2″ x 2″ yourself, remember actual size is 1.5″ x 1.5″)
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ cut to 14 3/8″



Additional materials:


Cut your lumber per the above cut list.

Building the Apron:

Drill two holes in the ends of the front and back pieces of the apron. Drill pocket holes into the top of all the apron pieces (spaced approximately 8″ apart.)

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand all edges and pocket holes on the apron pieces with a 60 grit sandpaper on the Dremel MultiMax.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Assemble the apron pieces. Pay attention to make sure all the pocket holes are facing the same direction to attach to the underside of the tabletop. The sides of the apron should be set inside the front and back pieces as shown below:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the apron pieces with pocket hole screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Center the apron on the bottom side of the tabletop. Measure all sides to make sure they are even. Attach the apron to the tabletop with pocket hole screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Notching the legs:

Line up all four legs next to each other. Use a carpenter square to square up the bottoms. Mark 4″ up from the bottom of the legs. Line up the 1″ x 4″ with the mark and trace the other side onto the legs.

Set the combination square to the depth of the 1×4″ board (it should be 3/4″). Mark this depth on the sides of each leg to denote the area that needs to be removed.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the depth of your circular saw (or Ultra-Saw) to 3/4″ deep.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut stripes inside the guidelines you made on the legs with the Ultra-Saw.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a hammer and chisel to knock out the strips. Use your oscillating multi-tool with a wood flush cut blade to clean up the edges of the notch.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Test fit the 1×4″ boards into the legs. Shave off more if needed with the Multi-Max (or circular saw).

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the 1″ x 4″ boards into the leg notches.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the 1″ x 4″ boards with wood glue and finish nails.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the cross piece 1″ x 4″ from the back side with one wood screw into each leg.


Connecting the Legs:

To allow the legs on the desk to fold neatly, one side has to be raised up to fold on top of the other legs. Use the 2″ x 2″ board you cut for this purpose.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Drill a pocket hole into each end of the 2×2″ board. Add wood glue where the 2×2 will rest. Tap the board into place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the board into the table apron with pocket screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the shorter legs on top of the 2×2 board. Clamp or support the legs in place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the utility hinges to the top of the legs and the 2×2 support.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the longer legs in place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the remaining two utility hinges to the top of the legs and the underside of the tabletop as shown below.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Test fold the legs to make sure they fold neatly and don’t rub on the sides of the apron. Make any adjustments to the hinges or sand the legs to eliminate rubbing now.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add the lid support hinge to the bottom folding legs (the longer legs). Follow the directions on the package of the lid support for proper installation.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

The opposite side will not accommodate a lid support. You need a barrel bolt to keep the legs from folding accidentally. Glue and nail a scrap of 2×4 to the inside of the table apron next to one of the legs (I added a barrel bolt to both sides, but you only need to add it to the one side when using the lid hinge support.)

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the barrel bolt onto the scrap wood. Mark where the bolt hits the leg. Drill a hole into the leg to accept the bolt.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the barrel bolt to the scrap wood with the provided screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand all parts of the desk starting with 80 grit sandpaper, then 120 and finish with a 220 grit sandpaper.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add edge banding to the plywood top. You can watch my video below to learn how to finish off plywood edges!

It’s not hard and edge banding is a great way to finish off plywood to make it look like a more expensive board.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Fill any holes or seams with wood putty. Sand and wipe off the desk before staining or painting.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Finishing touches:

I stained my desk with Minwax Dark Walnut. After the stain dried, I added a hand-painted vine border. First, I sketched the design in chalk.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Then I painted the design using a watered-down white chalk paint.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

The apron and legs received a mixture of chalk paints in a yellow color. The edges were sanded off to reveal the dark stain beneath.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Finally, the desktop received several coats of General Finishes High Performance water-based topcoat in the flat finish. The legs and painted areas were waxed.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add a handle to the center of the desk apron if you want to be able to transport it easily.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

This table can be used anywhere! It’s sturdy, but doesn’t take up much space.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I can fold it up and bring it inside and work in front of the TV. Or it can be used as a small sewing table, crafting table, or just an extra buffet in the dining room.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

When I’m done, it folds up and stores behind a bench or sofa.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

If you like this tutorial, be sure to pin it for future use or to share! Cheers!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I’d love to hear if you make your own folding laptop and writing table!