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How to Make An Arched Shelf Mantle

Home DIY Jan 28, 2022

The Mediterranean inspired mantle shelf of my dreams… Made from a basic white cube storage!

I’m always looking for furniture pieces to upcycle, and if I can turn sometime simple into a whole new piece that’s barely recognisable, even better. For this project, I used one of these cube storage, with four compartments. I mean, everyone has cube storage at home right? I really wanted to turn my little white shelf into something I hadn’t seen before and turn it from just practical into PRETTY. It turned out to be a fun and easy project, and one that I styled and used during Christmas. Read on for more.

This project is a continuation of my #notcardbored DIYs and its the biggest (and maybe even the best?) one yet! If you want to see the original, head here.

You need

  • Small shelf (I used a cube storage)
  • Mallet (if your shelf is a cube)
  • Large sheets of Cardboard (or big boxes)
  • Stanley Knife
  • Tape (I love this cloth tape)
  • Scissors
  • Multi Joint Compound
  • Spatula
  • Sand paper

How to

You can use my method to make something exactly like this or you can take this idea and create a different shape for yours – that’s what I love about this. The options are endless!


If you have a cube you need to begin by removing the middle, vertical shelf piece so you are just left with the horizontal shelf in the centre. I simply used a mallet to carefully hit the shelf out. I find lots of little taps at a time are better than one big whack! You want to make sure you don't damage the rest of the pieces. 


Now its time to create the arch shape. I added this piece of cardboard to the back of the shelf. I made sure the bottom half lined up with the sides of the shelf and cut a nice rounded top which I'll mimic on the front as well. This piece not only creates the right shape but gives the whole piece a back so its not see through.


Next I used a rectangle piece of cardboard and gently bent it into a curve before taping it onto the top. If you need to, you can hold it in place to test the size and shape and then take it off to trim or bend it a little more until everything lines up perfectly. 


Find a large piece of cardboard to act as your front and sides. Measure the shelf and arch that you have already created so you know how big to cut your arch out. Make sure your piece of cardboard is big enough to sit over the front and also bend around to each side. You can make this as big as you want depending on how large you want your shelf to be overall. I had to tape two pieces of cardboard together to make it big enough.


Before taping the carboard on, I painted it all white, just to make it a little easier later. Then use as much tape as you need to connect the front piece to the shelf. You should start to really see it coming together now!


Next up this little guy needs a top! I cut a cardboard rectangle to fit on the top and taped it on. You'll notice the more places you add tape, the whole shelf starts to feel more and more stable and structural. Then give the whole thing a coat of white paint. Painting it is important to make sure you don't see the colour of the tape through the plaster. 


Now its my favourite part! Coat your whole shelf in plaster (multi joint compound) until its completely covered. You may need to do a second coat if there are areas that you want to build up a little more or the texture isn't quite right. Give it a light sand after any coat. It's like icing a cake, its so satisfying. Then all that's left to do is style your beautiful new shelf.


Like what you see? Or just want to save it for later?

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I styled this one for Christmas to be a really lovely festive mantle, but it works just as well for other times of year too. I Christmas decor that just keeps on giving!


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