DIY Rustic Shelves / by Erin Mulvany

We all have those walls that just need something to take it to the next level. It may be above the couch, the space on the guest bathroom wall or kitchen storage. Adding shelving is an easy fix and it doesn’t have to be expensive if you do it yourself! So stop scanning the West Elm sales page and head to your local home improvement store to get your rustic shelves. 

Reclaimed wood is a great way to combine modern and rustic while still looking expensive. Look around you home and find a space that needs storage or decor. Before you head to the hardware store, map out where and how long you want your shelves. I use painters tap and a level to make sure everything lines up and perfectly fits the space I need. Once you have your measurements ready, you can get to shopping!

Make sure you remember your measurements! I never leave the house without a sticky note in hand to ensure I come back with the same size wood as I intended. I tend to lean towards pine when I’m staining since it’s a lighter wood. A 2” x 10” piece should be thick enough to support items placed on the shelf. You can have the home improvement store cut the pieces into whatever size you need and make sure you have them cut one extra, just in case! 

Now to add the modern touch! Galvanized pipe, it’s everywhere and I love it. Depending on the size of your shelves, you want two supports for each shelf. If you have a super long shelf that you plan on adding a lot to, three or four may be necessary. To make one shelf bracket, you’ll need ¾” galvanized pipe, ¾” floor flanges and ¾” pipe cans. Add a small can of special walnut stain, a sponge brush, textured spray paint in Aged Iron and flat black protective enamel spray. 


Assembling the shelving brackets is easier than Ikea furniture. Simply attach the pipe to the floor flange on one end and the cap on the other. Once they’re all put together, spray them with your Aged Iron textured spray paint. Then after they have all dried, cover them with a coat of flat black enamel spray paint. This combination makes the pipes look similar to wrought iron, without costing what wrought iron costs.

Make sure your shelving boards are completely sanded and ready to be stained. With a sponge brush, apply the stain and make sure to get into every nook and cranny of the wood.  If you want a glossy look, you can seal the planks with polyurethane. 

Using toggle bolts to hold the pipes in place, add the wood on top. I tripled checked with my level to make sure the pipes were straight before completely screwing in the bolts. 

Add your accessories to the shelves to add your own personal touch!

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