DIY Double-Tiered Hanging Word Shelf

Back when I posted this Gold Textured Makeup Bag, I promised you a lot of DIY’s, courtesy of our yearly crafting frenzy just before Christmas. So now, with the start of the semester and, more importantly, Valentine’s Day off the calendar, I am back to giving you the how-to on some of those super cute and fun projects! Also, this is definitely one of my favorite DIY's to date!

This DIY was made for my coffee-loving baby sister (who is actually in high school) so she can store her many coffee mugs, which were previously taking up a significant portion of our kitchen cabinets! I wanted hooks to hang some of her favorites on, and a shelf on top where she could store additional mugs or even candles—another obsession of hers! I also made the top shelf wider so that breakable things could be stored on it safely, and so that more mugs could be hung in front of the letters! Using the wider shelf only at the top also prevents it from jutting out from the wall at a level where I am more likely to run into it. See, there is a method to my madness!

This DIY does use a few power tools, so let’s give a big hand to my daddy and his guidance putting it together! That said, while a buddy would be helpful, it’s not too incredibly complicated and is a pretty inexpensive project considering what you get, especially if you have scrap wood available that will do the job!

You Will Need:

Papier mâché letters
Wood pieces: 2x4 cut 32” long, 2x8 cut 32” long, and plywood backing cut 32”x14.5”
Spray paint (I used black and this rose gold)
Deck screws: 4 screws 2 1/2" long, and 4 screws 3 1/2” long
Large cup hooks
Industrial strength glue (I used E6000)
Hanging hardware

Power saw
Powered drill with drill and screwdriver bits
Small nail

Step 1
Cut your pieces to the dimensions above, sand down the edges, and wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust and prep for painting. These dimensions are specifically for the letters I used, but to get them I simply laid the paper mâché letters side by side, measured the total length and added 4”. The height was eyeballed and again measured. Additionally, you may be able to get your wood planks cut at the hardware store where you purchase them, meaning fewer power tools! My 2x8 was cut this way, while the other pieces were cut from scraps already in our garage.

Step 2
Spray paint your wood pieces black and the letters a contrasting shade. When deciding how much paint to buy, don’t forget that unprimed wood uses a LOT of paint! Be attentive to recoat times while painting and let dry fully.

Step 3
Line up your 2x4 with one edge of the plywood, placing the plywood on top with painted side down. You can use an extra piece of wood to level everything, as shown above. Clamp the plywood to the painted 2x4, as also shown.

Step 4
Using a drill bit slightly narrower than your screws, drill 4 evenly spaced, shallow pilot holes in the back of the plywood along the edge. You will be attaching the shelf planks with screws through the back plywood board and into the 2x4 shelf. Use the shorter 2 1/2" screws and a drill with Phillip’s head attachment to accomplish this.

Step 5
Repeat the above step with the 2x8 piece and the 3 1/2” screws. The 2x8 will function as the top of the cabinet.

Step 6
Flip the cabinet over and attach the letters to the plywood backing as you desire with industrial strength glue. I spaced the letters, then began attaching at the outside and working inward. I also had them lined up against the 2x4 so that when mugs were hung from the upper shelf, the letters were still easy to read.

Step 7
Rotate the cabinet so that it stands up with the 2x8 board acting as a base, so that the shelf is flipped upside down. On the underside of the top (2x8) shelf, measure one inch inward from the front edge so that the hooks will line up when the shelf is viewed from the side. Mark the locations of the cup hooks using the measurements show above. The hooks are essentially evenly spaced with the outer hooks closer to the ends of the shelf. (I just makes things more complicated than necessary!)

Step 8
At each marking you just made, hammer a small nail 1/4" into the plywood and then remove it. This will act as a pilot hole and make the cup hooks easier to screw in. And then go ahead and screw in those cup hooks, ending with the open ends of the hook facing toward the plywood backing. As the hook gets tighter, you may need to use the pliers to screw it in.

Step 9
Use the pliers to bend the cup hooks open a little more. You simply clamp them near the edge of the hook as shown and rotate outwards. This will allow mugs to hang more safely from the underside of each shelf.

Step 10
Leave the cabinet oriented as it is, and repeat steps 7-9 on the underside of the 2x4.

Step 11
Hang the cabinet up! Make sure you purchase hangers that will support the weight of your masterpiece, but beyond that, I can’t offer any more help than the package instructions!

Because the hangers push the cabinet away from the wall a little, you can always add spacers at the bottom of the cabinet so that it lies flat against the wall. This can be anything from foam dots to small pieces of wood, depending on what you have on hand.

Step 12
Hang all the pretty mugs, and stack nonsense on top! 

My main goals for this cabinet were to keep the shelf sturdy and durable, as well as adorable! Hopefully this means that my Diana can use it for a long time! For that reason, I also made this project in a sophisticated and versatile color scheme!

Now it’s just up to you to take this DIY and mix it up for yourself. Different colors, various words, and different purposes are totally possible here! For example, downsizing the apparatus or making the shelving double decker, with three different widths of boards would totally spice things up! I already have so many ideas of ways to adapt this project in the future and I’d love to hear yours too!

Have you done any big projects with power tools lately? Scary but rewarding stuff, am I right?

Stay lovely,


  1. This is such a cute DIY and such an awesome idea for making a space a bit more unique. Love it. Thanks for sharing!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    1. I'm so glad you like it! It certainly makes a statement!

  2. I absolutely love this idea! My mug cabinet is getting a little full and I think its time to display some of the cuter mugs!

    1. I definitely know about having too my many mugs, and I still don't even compare to my sister! They'll be super fun to display that way though :)