Turning Leftover “Scrap” Materials into Custom Built Accents

Unless you are the most exact estimator in the world, at the end of every construction project, you will have some left over materials. In my case, many of those materials are shorter cut offs of various trim pieces. They always seem to be too short for me to take them back to the supplier, so for years; they would just gather up in the corner of my garage. Until one day my wife started to tell me it’s time to throw things away. I’m sure this is an issue with many of you do-it-yourselfers out there. If you are like me, you hate to throw away a perfectly good piece of material. In my mind, I am sure that I will find a use for it someday on some future project.

One day, I was finishing up a project for a client, and she was working on putting the finishing touches in the room. She had a wall space that she wanted to hang a shelf on, but could not find a shelf that fit the space correctly. That was the day that I finally started using those “scraps” as my wife would call them. She gave me the dimensions of what she wanted and I was able to build her a simple shelf to fit the space. She also wanted some custom valances made to go along with the design. These two projects were simple and used minimal material, but really made the finish she was looking for in the room.

For the shelf, I started with left over pieces of 1x material that of course were just lying around. I cut that piece to the length that fit the space that the homeowner wanted it for. I used some extra pieces of picture molding to add some design to the edge of what would be the actual shelf. From there, I took extra crown moulding and attached it to the bottom of the board to give it some height. Then, I finished the bottom with another piece of 1x material to fill in the gap between the crown and the wall. This is a simple design for a wall shelf, but the great thing about it is that you can customize the length and width of the shelf any way you want. The same design can be 3” deep or 7” deep if you wanted to hold something bigger.


The valances I made were equally as simple. Again, I started with left over 1x material. I made a three sided box with a top. To dress it up, I used some chair rail material along the top and some picture moulding along the bottom (which tied it to the shelf I made). To attach the shelf and valances to the wall, I also used more of that scrap material. I took 1x2 and attached it to the wall so that it was level. When doing this, it would be helpful to find the studs and screw into them. Almost all of the shelves I build are hollow in the back, so they easily slide over the board. With the board in place, I had a level platform that I could slide the shelf and valances over and screw to hold it in place. By doing this, it provides a very strong connection and adds to the amount of weight that the shelf could hold.


The pictures show a few of the shelves I have done, as well as the method of attachment that I use. It’s a simple way to add accents to any project you build, and the best part of it is that since you most likely already have the materials left over, all it will cost you is your time.


Filed under: accents, craft, custom, décor, diy, ideas, projets, scarp
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