How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding
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How to Build a Decorative Shelf With Crown Molding

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Jacque, my wife, and the other half of The DIY Village has been kindly reminding me that I promised to make her a decorative shelf for our downstairs half bathroom.  She only had a few requests. She asked that I incorporate crown molding into the shelf, along with some hardware to hang hand towels.  As luck would have it, she found some scrap wood and crown molding that I had left over from a recent project!  Since I already had the materials, I couldn’t find a good excuse to put the project off any longer!  So I set out to make a decorative shelf with crown molding!


  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg Crown Pro
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig
  • Kreg 1-1/4″ Coarse Thread Screws
  • Compressor
  • Finish Nailer
  • 1-1/4″ Finish Nails
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Caulk Gun
  • Latex Caulk
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • 2- 1x6x4 Pine Boards
  • 1- 5′ Piece of Crown Molding
  • 3- Wheel Handles
  • 1″ Wood Screws
  • Primer and Paint

The easy part of this project was constructing the actual shelving unit. I took two scrap pieces of  1×6 and used one as the top and the other as a back.  I simply attached them together using pocket hole screws.  (If you’re not familiar with pocket hole screws, Brittany has a great photo tutorial on How to Use a Kreg Jig.)

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Once the shelf was constructed, I set it aside and began working on the more challenging part of the project…the crown molding.

If you’re anything like I used to be, the idea of using crown molding for a project was an intimidating undertaking!  But, I recently had a change of heart when I added the Kreg Crown Pro to my arsenal of workshop tools!

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

There’s a diagram on it’s front face that shows the proper set up for cutting inside and outside crown molding.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

For the purposes of building this shelf, you’ll need three separate pieces of crown molding, a piece long enough to span the length of the shelving boards, and two pieces that are called return stops. (A return stop is basically a transition that ends a run of crown molding)

Only two different types of corner cuts are needed, an outside left and an outside right.  To cut an outside left corner, position the Kreg Crown Pro to the right side of the saw blade and place the crown molding upside down onto the angled surface.  Then rotate the saw blade 45 degrees away from the Crown Pro. (To cut an outside right corner, just mirror the set up.)

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

One of the return stops can be seen on the left and has an outside left corner cut.  The piece on the right is the molding that spans the length of the shelf and has an outside right corner cut.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Attach the return stops to the front piece of crown molding with a quick drying construction adhesive.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

The adhesive dries pretty quickly, but as an added safety, apply some tape to help keep the crown pieces from shifting.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Once the adhesive had dried on the crown molding, it’s time to fit them onto the shelving boards. To hold the crown molding at the correct angle, clamp a straight edge onto the shelving board that acts as a stop for the molding pieces.  Then secure the crown to the rest of the shelf with a few finish nails.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

The only thing left to do before priming and painting is to caulk all of the joints on the shelf.  Tape up to the joint lines and then apply a bead of caulk. When the tape is removed, you’re left with a nice crisp and clean joint line.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

I was then instructed asked by my better half to paint the shelf white…Which I did, no questions asked.  (I always try to remember, happy wife, happy life)

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

I had recently acquired some wheel handles that are normally used on hose spigots. But I thought they’d make some awfully cool hardware for this fancy new shelf.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

With the addition of the wheel handles, the shelf was ready to make it’s way into our half bath. I barely had enough time to get the shelf hung before Jacque started bringing in the accessories.

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Judging by Jacque’s speedy desire to decorate, I’d consider this project a success.  I can finally mark it off of our honey-do-list and now I’m a little less intimidated by crown molding.  Sounds like a win-win for sure!


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31 replies
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  1. kresta
    kresta says:

    I am new to all things DIY and thank goodness I have found your blog! My hubby is getting a new assignment and will be gone lots more, so my 4 boys and I will be getting our hands dirty way more often. That saw is going on my shopping list.

  2. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    Love it!! It is absolutely fantastic!! The crown molding adds a touch of class and elegance to the shelf. The wheel handles were genius and look awesome!! Thanks so much for the tutorial!! Great job!!

  3. Ann
    Ann says:

    I love this! I think it adds so much personality to switch up the knobs like you did. Crown molding is such a perfect way to bring a project up a notch. Well done!

  4. Beth@Unskinny Boppy
    Beth@Unskinny Boppy says:

    Great job, Matt! Love the faucet knobs instead of hook. Saw some at a flea market recently that would have worked perfectly. 🙂

    Sending this idea to my mom- she is in the middle of a bath makeover.

    • Matt Knowlton
      Matt Knowlton says:

      Hey Sheila! No such thing as a dumb question! I used heavy duty velcro fasteners made by Scotch. It’s as simple as peeling off paper backing and attaching the sticky side of one of the strips to the back of the shelf and one to the wall. Each heavy duty fastener will hold 2lbs, so I used a total of 4 fasteners, which will hold a combined 8lbs. Great question!


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