Teacup Shelf

Build an easy teacup shelf to show off your vintage cup and saucer collection. 


Age: Adult

Difficulty: Medium

Time scale: 3 out of 5


  • 2- 1 x 4's- 8 feet long
  • 1x4 - 1 foot long
  • 1 inch wide cove moulding,  8 feet long 
  • Sander 
  • Sandpaper medium and fine grit 
  • Circular saw or router
  • Wood glue 
  • Clamps
  • Brad nailer or hammer and small nails 
  • Paint brushes 
  • Small cup hooks 
  • Measuring tape
  • Damp rag 
  • Double sided tape

Don't have all these tools? Some hardware stores will do wood cuts, for a nominal fee.


  • Varathane water based stain tinted dark blue 
  • Turquoise craft paint 
  • Burnt umber 
  • Clear varathane

This easy shelf is very similar to the one made, to store craft supplies. The difference is a small groove in the top, to hold the saucers. 

How to Make A Teacup Shelf

First, make sure both eight foot 1x4's are the same length. Sometimes, they are slightly different. If necessary, cut so they are exactly the same.


Use a circular saw or Router to make a groove in the top, the full length of one board.  The groove should be 1/4 inch deep, 2 1/4 inches in from the edge, and tilted back 15 degrees.

Sand the boards, first with medium grit and then fine grit sandpaper.

Glue the top edge of one board to the underside, back of the grooved board.

Clamp in place. 

Nail edge together, using a brad nailer or use a hammer and nails. 

Let dry. 


Cut two small rectangle pieces of wood 3 1/4 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide.

Glue and nail, on each end.

Attach 1 inch wide, cove molding trim, to top outer edge of grooved board.

Glue and nail in place.

Let Dry.

Time to paint the teacup shelf! This was a trial and error procedure... Oops, am I suppose to say that? I'm suppose to know what I am doing! Experiment if you like. Yeah, that's what I was doing, Experimenting. It sounds better to say "Experimenting", rather than "Trial and Error", doesn't it? 

What I really wanted, was a distressed look, but that is difficult to achieve. My favorite example of vintage paint was on a staircase, at a hotel in Cuba.

Apply dark blue varathane stain. This almost looked like the wrong approach... at first. 

Let dry. 

Sand down to bare wood, in some spots.

Dry brush on turquoise craft paint.

Water down some burnt umber craft paint.

Apply to the teacup shelf. 

Leave on for about a minute.

Wipe with a damp rag.

Let dry.

Coat with two layers of clear Varathane.

Now, the teacup shelf is going to need some hooks.

Use a pencil to mark where to put them. Space 3 inches in from each inside end and 8 inches apart.

Screw hooks into the underside of the board. 


Hang the teacup shelf on the wall, by screwing directly through the back board and into the wall. I was not worried about the screws showing, because the tea cups will be hanging in front of them.

The saucers, sit nicely in the groove in the top of the board and will lean against the wall.

I still have visions of a saucer, somehow rolling away and smashing on the floor. Maybe, I have this fear of things falling, after the incident with the garage door opener, yanking out of the ceiling and smashing, on my new car. Now, I have this habit of making sure, things are super secure!

You never know when someone might slam the door, or the big bad wolf might huff and puff and blow the house down. So... to ease my worry, I used a small piece of double sided tape on the back of each saucer, to stick them to the wall. Now the door can get slammed.. NO, that NEVER happens here. The big bad Wolf, can even come for a visit.

The teacup shelf has Grandmas cups and saucers, out of the cupboard on display and still, safe and secure!

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