A Quick Shelf for My Kitchen Window

Jim Cox
by Jim Cox
8 Materials
30 Minutes
A quick shelf for my kitchen window that didn't damage my cabinets in the process
Here's the kitchen window where I wanted to put a shelf. The cabinets are already full of holes from previous owners attaching anything and everything. I have a ton of work to do here, and didn't want to make any more for myself. The goal is to attach the shelf without further damage. I hope to grow my tomato seeds here.
Here's the left side cabinet (and my antique Kitchenaid mixer below it). You can see holes from previous who-knows-what.
Looking under the right-side cabinet: This is a scrap "standoff" of 1x2 about 4" long. I attached to the bottom of the cabinet (Particle board) with 1-1/4" x No. 6 drywall screws. I did this for both sides. I pre-drilled the holes in every wood piece to avoid splitting.
Next I made a "Ledge" about 1/2" deep past the cabinet. This was some leftover pine about 1/2" thick and 6" wide. Literally scrap, from a sign I made. I used the same 1-1/4" drywall screws to go into the standoffs installed earlier. Always pre-drill to avoid splitting the wood. Left side shown.
Next I made a "riser" about 4" tall from a 1x6. Again I pre drilled both the ledge and the riser with a 3/32" drill bit so the screws wouldn't split it, going into the end of this pine it's critical. Attach with 2 more drywall screws. Left side shown.

I made this tall enough that I can easily reach underneath the shelf to get to the window lock mechanism, but low enough I can see over it into the back yard.
I took off my ledge/riser assemblies (I left the standoffs in place) and out to the garage for a quick stain. Take them off one at a time and mark them L and R. This might save you a headache later, and make the holes you've already used easier to line up
Re-install the ledge and riser. I know the stain doesn't match, but I was simply going for unobtrusive. Hopefully these cabinets will get painted this fall.
Time to measure for the width of my shelf.
Out to the garage to cut a section of fence from my stash of reclaimed wood
I set the shelf in place and made sure all fit. We're good to go.

Left side shown.
Here's a completed view of the left side. You can barely see my index finger is touching the standoff. Below it the ledge, then the riser against the cabinet, and finally the shelf resting on top. I did not screw the shelf to the riser, I wanted to be able to move it when I need to clean the window, so I used adhesive-backed Velcro
Here's a daytime view of the assembled shelf, with a locally made mug and some cactus for a test fit. Left side shown.
And here it is at night. (You can see the lights on my deck rail outside. Look for it in my other projects). The window lock is easily accesible below the shelf. Hopefully tomatoes will be growing here in a few weeks.

Comment if you have any ideas to improve this : )
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  3 questions
  • Marcia Marcia on Mar 08, 2019

    I did have a shelf made similar to this but took it down because I didn't like the way it looks, but some how, yours looks fine. I wonder why mine didn't?

    Also, is it difficult to open the windows, with the shelf in front?


  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 11, 2019

    First of all thank you for posting. I have wanted a shelf over my kitchen window and this idea will work without damage to my cabinets. I have the same window/cabinet set up. Your instructions are clear and will be easy to follow.

    However, in the finished view of the left side of your shelf/bracket, why didn't you paint the underside of the wood?

  • Sylvia Sylvia on Mar 15, 2019

    I only have one question but not about the Shelf I also want to tell you that I love every single project that you post I try all of them so keep it coming also the question I had do you have any ideas on how to make birdhouses for my backyard I would appreciate it if you could let me know something thank you and keep projects coming.

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  • Maureen Maureen on Mar 18, 2019

    Thanks for sharing.. you did a great job!!

  • Marilyn Mead Marilyn Mead on Apr 06, 2019

    My husband just did this for over our sink except we bought 2 pretty shelf brackets and attached them to the wall on each side of the window and I love it. Just another idea.