Day 5: Teacup Shelves

October 11, 2022


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I'm Tessie -Welcome home!

I remember the day when my Grandma Ethel’s dishes arrived. I was 10 years old and I’d never seen anything so beautiful! It was like Christmas morning slowly unwrapping each beautiful sparkling piece.

Teacup shelves

Although I had never met my grandma Ethel since she died before I was born, I’ve always felt a connection with her through these beautiful teacups. Each one is completely unique.

Yellow floral teacup

My mom told me stories of Grandma Ethel drinking coffee out of these very teacups with the neighborhood ladies as they laughed and played cards together.

dainty floral teacup with gold trim

After that, I began having tea parties of my own. Not big ruckus affairs, but civilized tea parties with 1 friend, our American girl dolls, and lots of fancy cookies.

green teacup with gold trim

I’m so thankful for my mom in trusting me with the “fancy dishes” all those years ago, and even more grateful that she passed them onto me.

Before the Teacup Shelves

As I was renovating our backyard cottage to turn it into my studio, I knew I wanted Grandma Ethel’s teacups to have a place of honor.

After a google search for “teacup shelves”, I quickly realized that there wasn’t much out there and I’d have to create them myself. Here’s what the studio looked like before adding the shelves.

Before photo of a studio wall with a pink wetter

I used painter’s tape to visualize the size and spacing of each shelf then got to work prepping the boards.

Using painter's tape to mark shelves

I knew I wanted to display the teacups with the saucer standing up, but I couldn’t risk the saucers rolling off. After much thought, I decided to carve out small channels of wood to hold each saucer in its rightful place.

I honestly have VERY little experience with woodworking and I’m sure there’s a much better way to do this, but I ended up using a Dremel tool to cut 2 lines then used a carving tool to scoop out the wood in between.

Here’s what each channel looked like once I was finished. Not very pretty, but it totally did the job!

Once I had all my channels cut, I painted each board with a thin coat of white paint.

Painting shelves for teacups

After the teacup shelves

And here’s what the shelves looked like once they were all finished!

Tessie Fay's studio with pink wet bar and teacup shelves
diy teacup shelves for displaying teacups

You can see in the image below how the cut out channels of wood hold the saucers in place quite well.

teacup shelves

The brackets were bought at Home Depot and with a quick coat of gold spray paint they aded some nice warmth to the space.

Tessie Fay and her grandma Ethel's teacups

Cup of tea anyone???

Tessie Fay and her Grandma Ethel's teacups

Changes Made

  • Custom-built shelves to display a much loved collection of teacups

Lessons Learned

  • Including sentimental objects in our spaces creates a feeling of connection
  • I can feel the legacy of great women that paved the way before me each time I walk into this space
  • Use your fancy dishes!


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Recap and What’s Next?

If you’re just catching up, here are the previous posts in the “before and after parade!”

Tomorrow I’ll be taking you inside our dining room so be sure to stay tuned.

See you tomorrow!

xo, Tessie

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I'm Tessie -Welcome home!

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