DIY Glass Window Shelves

I love african violets! They can be fickle, but once they have the right amount of light, and slightly damp soil, they will happily put on a show for you. My violets used to perch on the kitchen window sill, but occasionally they would take a suicidal nose dive into the sink. To save them from inevitable death one day, I installed two glass shelves over the sink.

Would you like to install your own glass shelves between two kitchen cabinets? It is a relatively easy project, but does require two sets of hands for one step. The directions below will take you through the step-by-step process for installing 2 glass shelves.


3/16 inch tempered glass
quarter round moulding
paint (to match your kitchen cabinets)
medium size paint brush
painters tape
drill w/ bits
finish nails 1.25″ long
nail set
wood putty or caulk
flat toothpick or wood shim


1. First measure your window width and subtracted 0.25″ from the measurement.) Then measure the depth of your kitchen cabinets to the window frame (or tile, whatever sticks out the furthest).

Take those measurements to a glass manufacturer and have them cut two pieces of 3/16″ tempered glass. Make sure that the edges will be smooth. And, definitely ask for the tempered glass. (My shelves never broke, but I banged them occasionally while being overzealous about washing dishes.)

2. Using the measurement you took for the depth of your cabinets, cut 8 lengths of quarter round (four for each glass shelf you are hanging.)

3. Prime and then paint the quarter round to match your cabinets.

4. Determine the height where you want your glass shelves to be. (I put each shelf at the same height as my window grill pieces.) Use a level and draw lines on your cabinet on one side of the window.

5. Pre-drill three holes (the size of your finish nails) into your quarter round.

6. Using a piece of painters tape, attach once piece of the quarter round to your cabinet. This is your shelf support piece, so make sure that the flat edge is facing up. Gently nail the finish nails through the predrilled holes and into the cabinet. Repeat this step for your other shelf support (on the same side.)

7. Rest one glass shelf on one piece of the installed quarter round. You will need an assistant to help hold the glass shelf up as you level it.

8. Make a mark on the under side of your glass.

9. Double check that the mark is level (from front to back), and line your next piece of quarter round below the line. Repeat steps 5 & 6 above until you have the four shelf supports installed.

10. Gently rest your glass shelves on the supports.

11. Pre-drill holes in your four remaining quarter round strips.

12. Set wood shims (or toothpicks) on top of the glass shelves and up against the cabinets on both ends. Rest your quarter round strips on top of the shims. This should give you a slight space between the glass and the quarter round. Now, tape the quarter round pieces in place and REMOVE BOTH glass shelves and the shims.

13. Nail your quarter round pieces in place. Use a nail set to countersink (set the nail below the wood surface) all your nails. Fill the nail holes with wood putty or caulk and touch it up with your paint.

14. When the paint has dried, slide in your shelves. The shelves should slide in easily and should not be tight.

15. Put some plants or other accessories on your new shelves! And enjoy.


  1. I love this idea. How easy you make it look too!

  2. Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures says:

    How do you make all those great diagrams? They really help make your tutorials easy to understand. I appreciate that. Great shelf!

  3. wow you got me thinking! your tutorial makes me up for the challenge!

  4. Those look great. I wish I had a kitchen window. Really, I do. I often miss it.

  5. Amanda@The Hand Me Down House says:

    What an absolutely fantastic idea! I love that it lets so much light in AND you have a great place to put stuff above the sink. Ingenious, Brittany! :)

  6. Something Nice and Pretty says:

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Amanda@The Hand Me Down House says:

    Okay, Brittany — these are too awesome NOT to share! I linked this up on my FB page — just loving them!!

  8. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says:

    Those look great! I love the diagrams. I wish I had a window above my sink now :)

  9. Just this... Alice says:

    I am sure your African Violets appreciate their new home on that fantastic shelving you made just for them….and others. This is an ingenious idea for wasted spaces.

  10. Momma Rhyne says:

    Genious… any ideas of how to support the middle of a 8' window span? So great though. Love your ideas~

  11. These are great! I emailed my husband the picture so we can save it for future reference. Thanks for the detailed instructions!

  12. Katie @ Not Just Decorating says:

    What a great idea! I would love to do this over my sink!

  13. Sixty-Fifth Avenue says:

    Great tutorial! I love that idea too!

  14. Beautiful idea, and so well executed! Hopefully those violets will thrive.

  15. Becky@OrganizingMadeFun says:

    Your diagrams are awesome! What a great idea…something I could totally do! Of course, my kitchen sink area is the hottest part of the house and they would probably die, but I could do something like that! Super!!

  16. I LOVE THIS!
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. says:

    Wow, those are gorgeous! Thanks so much for the thorough how-to, I'll be linking.

  18. I so want these too. . these and the pear. . .so I think you may have me attempt to make these myself instead of waiting for hubby to have some time to do it for me. . . you almost got me there. . .

  19. Lori@Paisley Passions says:

    What a great idea!!! Hopping over from BCD. I host a linky party too. Would love you to link up if you have time :)

    ~Lori @ Paisley Passions
    Paisley Passions Linky Party Thrilling Thursdays

  20. Michelle L. says:

    What a fantastic tute! You are way cool, I love this idea and how easy you make it.

  21. gnee @ Singing With Birds says:

    Congratulations Brittney! You did it again! You made this week's Top 5 Hits. Thanks for all of your terrific ideas…I try not to feature you every week…love your new pix!

  22. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Nice project. Love the shelves above the windows. :) Please add my party button or a link back to me so that I can keep your link up on my list. Thanks.

  23. Great project! Your new shelves will be fun to accessorize with each changing season.

  24. Michaela Noelle says:

    This is such a fun project. It adds so much to the room! Great tutorial. Stopping by from Amanda's link up (:


  25. great idea, great tute!

  26. Twill Jill says:

    You ARE a pretty handy girl! Found you on One Pretty Thing. I happen to have some old glass slats from a door and I've been dying to find a way to use them. Thanks for the inspriation and clear directions!

  27. Lori@Paisley Passions says:

    Still lovin' this idea! Thanks SO much for joining in on Thrilling Thursdays @ Paisley Passions. I love to see the creative talent of other fellow bloggers. Hope you to see you again soon :)
    ~Lori S.
    Thrilling Thursdays @Paisley Passions

  28. Alyssa @ Clever Penguin says:

    I saw your post for these glass shelves featured on One Pretty Thing and came straight over. This is something I've always loved, and being a clever (ok, lazy) girl, I'm always happy to use someone else's directions. Thanks so much for posting exactly what you did and with such great diagrams!

  29. Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says:

    Oh my, I love this idea! Nice job!

  30. glass paint says:

    i want to make a beautiful glass window in my kitchen.thanks for your blog.

  31. Fantastic idea! I rent, so I was looking for a way that would not disturb the woodwork too much and this is it. Thank you, Cleverly.

  32. Oh thank you for sharing this!! I have been staring at my kitchen window thinking how lovely it would be to have shelves in front, this is exactly what I needed!!

  33. This is a GREAT idea. And it will work in my large center bay window, as I can nail the quarter-round to the insides of the window molding itself, and then lay the glass shelves on them. Thank you, simple is always best!!

    Inspired in New York City

  34. If you occasionally bump the shelf, I’d like to know the distance between your counter top and the underside of the bottom shelf, so I don’t set my own any lower then that.

  35. These are perfect for what I want. I’ll be showing this to my husband so he can finally get it done! Thank you.
    Debbie :)

  36. Show this on Pinterest and love this idea. Looking to do this over my sink. Thanks for the instructions!

  37. Dianne says:

    Great looking project and instructions, I have been wanting to do this for quite some time!

  38. what a fabulous idea. I used to have plastic tray shelves hung by 2 hooks and heavy white braided string. The shelves would shift a lot over time because of the design, so I just got rid of them but missed the space for plants.

    We have a double window over our sink, so approximately 46″ between the wall cabinets.
    I think I can make this work by just putting a shelf bracket on the wood center piece between the 2 windows.
    I think I would also use screws counter sunk into the wood rather than finishing nails. A lot sturdier and you can unscrew the shelf anytime without using a hammer to pry off the wood pieces that could damage your cabinets in the process.

  39. I adore glass shelves in the right place. They really do look good and following these directions makes it look easy to install them


  1. […] since before we even put our old house up for sale. Something about it really stood out to me,  glass shelves. Nothing fancy. Pretty and […]

  2. […] DIY Project and Photo credit to […]

  3. […] If you’d like to add a lot of charm to an otherwise plain window, check out her plans, DIY Glass Window Shelves. They are easy to remove for a good cleaning and offer sunlight for her African Violets. […]

  4. […] If you’d like to add a lot of charm to an otherwise plain window, check out her plans, DIY Glass Window Shelves. They are easy to remove for a good cleaning and offer sunlight for her African Violets. […]

  5. […] DIY Glass Window Shelves – Glass shelving is an excellent way to add much needed storage above a kitchen sink without obscuring a window or other source of light. You can make your own sturdy shelves with this tutorial! […]

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