Kitchen Mug Shelf

I'm so happy to FINALLY be showing you guys the first of 3 projects my dad and I built last month.

This particular project has been 9 months in the making. Well, ok, I knew I wanted to make it for 9 months, but conditions were never right. I actually mentioned it once in a post a long time ago. I KNEW what I wanted, and nothing else would do. But we had some trouble acquiring the material.

Anyway, all that to say that my kitchen mug shelf is completed!

Here is this Mug Shelf's life story.

When I moved into our apartment last September, I knew I wanted a sort of shelf to go over the sink. With my low counters and high cupboards (as you can see here in the first apartment tour), there was a lot of dead space there.

I don't know how, but I also got the idea to hang mugs from this shelf. I also wanted cast iron shelf brackets to support it. All in all, I had a very clear image of what I wanted here.

For months my dad and I looked for small cast iron brackets, but to no avail. We found some nice ones, but they were always too big, or for hanging flowers. The shelf had to be less than 6 inches or else it would be too cumbersome over the sink.

The second weekend I went over to work on the laundry shelving unit we were building (that is coming soon, too!), my dad surprised me with some cast iron brackets that he made himself. I told you I get my creativeness from my dad!

He didn't make them from scratch. He got some small plant hangers and added a strip of metal for the shelf to rest on. He made some holes to be able to attach the shelf and to secure to the wall, and then just welded the piece on top of the bracket.

That kickstarted for real this project!

Then we just took some scrap pieces of plywood leftover from the laundry shelving unit. And I had my cup shelf!! Ok, I had all the material to build it, so we did! It was really quite quick.

We cut 2 pieces of plywood (from pine) both for added strength, since plywood isn't so strong, and for esthetic. As you can see, the top shelf is 1/2 inch wider all around, and it gives a sort of mantel-like look to the shelf, I find. Both the table saw and radial saw were used to cut length-wise and width-wise, respectively.

(please don't mind the table saw as background...)

I wish we would've went a little wider because my bamboo canisters overhang just a little. It's not bad, but if I would've known and measured them I could've accommodated.

The edges were rounded with a router and an oval bit for a more polished looked- I just really don't like square edges... Both the top and bottom edges of the top shelf were rounded but only the bottom edge of the bottom shelf was, since the other one is against the top shelf.

Then we (1) predrilled the bottom piece, (2) applied glue and glued them together, and (3) screwed them together.

The holes were filled with wood filler (1, top) (prestained but we also stained over it), sanded (2, top), and finally the shelf was stained with MinWax English Chestnut(bottom) (applied with a rag). I chose that stain because I wanted a dark stain and this one was a little redder than the Walnut stain. But it was a little darker than I had anticipated...

We finished assembling it at my apartment. My dad and grandma held the shelf in place while I decided how far in from the shelf the brackets needed to be, and how high the shelf had to be.

Last step was screwing in the cup hooks. I wanted something a little nicer than the rubber coated cup hooks, but we couldn't find any for a decent price, or that were big enough. So I just used the cheap dollar store ones.

I was a little sad when I figured we wouldn't be able to put more than 5 mugs under the shelf, I wanted to hang all my mugs! (which would be 11, so far) I suppose there still is space on the outside, but I haven't added any, yet. Not completely sold that it would look good... Might try it one of these days (in which case I will update you!)

Cost breakdown (all prices are CAN):
~ shelf brackets, Lowes, 3$ each, so 6$
~ plywood, Home Depot, leftover (1 sheet was 23$, the cheapest there was) let's say 2$ worth
~ stain, Home Depot, leftover (can was 13$) let's say I used 1$ worth
~ cup hooks, Dollarama, 6 for 1$
TOTAL: about 10$

Tools we used:
~ table saw
~ radial saw
~ router
~ Wood filler
~ Drill and 6 screws
~ Rag (for staining)

And THIS, this is why I love being a DIYer!! Custom built Mug Shelf, built to my own specifications, with the color I wanted, the bracket type I wanted. And I got to spend some good father-daughter time :) One day, though, I hope to be able to build stuff like this myself from A to Z. But that will take practice.

The setup I have right now on my shelf is pretty much the things I had lying on the counter before. I was also able to display some bottles we use for cooking, like cooking wine, apple cider vinegar, etc.

In the bamboo canisters, I have white and brown sugar. The smaller clear container (from Dollarama) holds granola.

This little iPod dock helps me relax while I do the dishes by playing some music :) I think it's super cute, even if it's not compatible with my iPod and doesn't charge it.

I love looking at the shelf and the mugs and choosing which one to use!! It's the simple things in life, people!

Like I said, I could possible hang a couple more mugs at the ends of the shelf outside the brackets, what do you think?!

Doesn't the shelf fill in the dead space nicely? I love it, it turned out just like I wanted!

I can see those lovely shelf brackets every time I enter the kitchen, and I'm so grateful for my dad who made them for me!

Thanks for reading, until next time!

Psst: If you enjoyed this project, be sure to visit my Projects page for more! Or check out the popular posts (in the right sidebar----->).

I party at these parties.

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  1. Love the shelf. You are just like your dad! To answer your question, you could easily put two more mugs - one on each end.

  2. I love it Gen! I don't think I would add mugs at each end.. I think it would hide the beautiful brackets!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  3. Love the shelf! What if you would turn the cup hooks around half a turn? Could you get a couple more mugs in there facing outward rather than sideways? Just a thought.

  4. Hi

    Thanks for linking up at Get Your Craft On!! I love this little shelf and how it has dual purposes...which is great for small spaces!

  5. Great job! I am so impressed that he made his own brackets:)

  6. Hi Gen,
    Ooooooo, will your Dad make me some brackets, too? :-)
    Knew you were from Canada when you mentioned Dollarama (none in the States). I'm in London.
    Love your apartment. Great size kitchen! and the w/d! I had to laugh when I saw your stool. My cupboards are high as well. I'm built-close-to-the-ground (5'3" stretched) and need the stool for the second & third shelves. My w/d are stacked and I can't reach into the dryer to get my clothes out. Need the stool to see the temperature on the thermostat. I truly believe that if women built apartments and homes things would be so much better for us. heh!
    Love the foyer! My is big but narrow so can't put a table in there.
    I'm sure in no time you'll have your apartment looking like the home you want it to be.
    You're lucky you have your Dad. My Dad always helped me with building but he's not able to anymore and I don't have the tools.
    Take care; you're doing great,

  7. Gen, this is awesome! Great job! I'm featuring this tonight at the link party. Thanks for linking up!


  8. great idea, I think I'd like to display my mugs like this instead of hiding them away in the cabinets!

  9. Cute blog title and nice project idea! Great job ~

    Stopped in from Southern Lovely's Show and Tell.

  10. I love it! Totally my style too :)

    Thanks for sharing this at the Weekend Wonders party. Hope to see you back on Thursday. Have a great day!


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