I am sorry it took me so long to post about our lovely new shelves. Though I am pretty sure only my mom is anxious to see them =).
I had the idea to do a crown molding knock-off shelf, and found a pretty thorough tutorial on this site. We got excited, bought some inexpensive molding, I took the ugly brackets off our old shelves, and... procrastinated trying to figure out how to cut and attach the molding. Luckily a handy friend of ours was over, took a look at what I had picked up, then took all the shelves home and put them together for us in about an hour. I am positive it would have taken me approximately 17 times that long.
So all we had left was to mount them. We wanted to use the existing plaster mounting thingies (that is the technical term) left from the old shelves, since they were already level and at the right height. The basic plan was to attach a 2x2 (that was cut on an angle on one side to fit inside the molding) directly to the wall, then to attach the floating shelf to that cleat, per the fix-it guy on the tutorial I referenced. I started by following this handy tip and putting toothpaste on each of the holes, then placing the board over the holes so we would know where to drill.
Next, we used my handy fabric ruler to mark a uniform height on each of our cleats.
We drilled holes in the wood, then screwed each beam to the wall.
I don't have any pictures of the next part, because my awesome husband did it all by himself while I was locked in our room reading Hunger Games. I am such a good wife. In short, you set the shelf on this cleat, then screw the shelf to the cleat through the top of the shelf. John drilled pilot holes in both the shelf and the cleat, drilled a countersink hole in the top of the shelf for the screw to fit into, then attached the shelves to the cleats. Now check out the before and after!
Love love love! The only thing I have to brag about this project is that I have an awesome husband who took a night off from studying even though I was slacking off because he knew how excited I was about getting these shelves fixed up.