Baby Wall Shelves

Continuing on the theme of baby room organization, I decided to make some shelves for the room. I wanted to experiment with wood finishing techniques that weren’t just painting or straight paste-wax.

For this build, I decided to try to use a nice dark stain and finish it with polyurethane. In keeping with the theme of the baby room (woodland creatures), I wanted to highlight the unique features of the boards. At the hardware store, I intentionally went out of my way to find nice low-grade boards that had a lot of character.

Here’s how it turned out.

Some take aways:

  • Be picky about the wood. I spent a couple hours at the hardware store sifting through a mound of boards to select the ones that had character. Plain boards wouldn’t have even come close.
  • Be patient about the drying time. It took a week to finish the shelves because I could only put polyurethane on five out of the six sides of a board at a time. The applications process didn’t take more than 30 minutes each, but 3 coats @ 2 applications per coat = 6 application sessions. Leaving each coat dry for 24 hours = easily a week long project.
  • Sand between coats. I used 300-grit paper between poly coats and it made a glass-smooth finish.
  • Use wood conditioner. It’s worth every penny, especially on pine. I did some tests on some scrap and it made a big difference.

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