How to build plant shelves for windowsills

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to build plant shelves for windowsills
Build a window sill shelf to increase the space for plants in sunny windows. (Kim Carson/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

You can take advantage of the sunlight that comes through your windows every day for growing plants indoors. Plants that require direct sunlight will benefit from being placed in a window. A windowsill is often too narrow to place a planter or pot on, but you can build a windowsill shelf to extend the space inside the window opening with a hardwood board and decorative shelf brackets. The shelf can be finished to match the existing woodwork around the window for a seamless project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • 1-inch by 10-inch hardwood board, 96 inches long
  • Pencil
  • Mitre saw
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrush
  • Shelf brackets
  • Box, wood screws
  • Screw gun
  • Eye protection

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  1. 1

    Measure the width of the windowsill between the side window casings.

  2. 2

    Mark the measurement from Step 1 onto the 1-inch by 10-inch by 96-inch hardwood board, using a pencil.

  3. 3

    Cut the hardwood board to the marked measurement, using a mitre saw.

  4. 4

    Sand the cut end of the board with fine-grit sandpaper in the same direction as the wood grain until the surface of the wood is smooth.

  5. 5

    Apply a wood finish to the board, using a paintbrush. Allow the finish to dry for 48 hours before handling it.

  6. 6

    Center the board in the window opening with one 1-inch by window-length edge against the outside edge of the windowsill.

  7. 7

    Position one shelf bracket under the board 3 inches in from each end. Mark the mounting hole positions on the wall and the bottom of the board, using a pencil. Remove the board windowsill and the brackets from the window trim below the windowsill.

  8. 8

    Hold the mounting brackets in place against the windowsill so the mounting holes line up with the marks on the window trim below the windowsill. Drive wood screws through the mounting holes into the window trim, using a screw gun.

  9. 9

    Center the board on top of the brackets, and align the pencil marks with the mounting holes. Drive wood screws through the mounting holes in the brackets into the bottom of the board to fasten it in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Build a plant shelf in your kitchen window for herbs.
  • Wear eye protection when using a mitre saw.

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