Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rustic Industrial Shelf

rustic, industrial, bookshelf, crate, old photo, loft style, beyond the picket fence,
This post should probably come with a disclaimer: how NOT to build a rustic, industrial bookshelf. I made so many mistakes, which of course are the best teachers, but this is not my first rodeo or bookshelf build.  

And in my frustrated state, I didn't take quite as many photos as I should have, but hopefully this tutorial will help.  

I started with six almost 40" x 3 1/2" pallet boards for the sides.  First mistake: I probably should have  trimmed the ends off to even them up.  I marked up 13 1/3" to place a shelf bracket.  My shelves are made from two 5 1/2" boards so I cut the brackets 11" long.  
pallet wood, bookshelf rustic, reclaimed wood, beyond the picket fence,
I added the brackets to create two shelf sides.
bookshelf, pallets, rustic furniture, industrial, beyond the picket fence,
Next I added the middle shelves, using the professional balance it between the patio and workmate method (excuse the dog fertilized yard in the background).  The shelves are 34" long. 
pallet wood, bookshelf, rustic, industrial, beyond the picket fence,
Mistake #2--I cut the pieces for the top and bottom 34" as well, but they needed to be 35 1/2" long to accommodate the width of the sides.   I didn't have any other pallet boards the correct size.  I instead used a piece of barnwood for the base and two not quite so perfect pieces for the top--it worked.
rustic decor, pallet shelf, booskhelf, industrial, how to build, beyond the picket fence,
I sanded the piece well and then used Fusion Mineral Paints all natural Beeswax on it.  This wax is yummy, so soft and buttery.
Fusion Mineral Paint, beeswax, bookshelf, pallet wood, beyond the picket fence,
I added casters for a more industrial feel, putting locking locking casters on the front.  
casters, industrial style, bookshelf, tutorial, beyond the picket fence,
Next mistake, I decided I could use the boards I had cut for the top and bottom for the back so I cut more boards this size.  I was going to place the boards horizontally across the back and use a thin board attached to the side perpendicular to the back boards--um ya, fail!

Plan B was a better plan, a thin luan board cut to the back side with a picture of my town circa late 1940 Modge Podged on the back.   I found the photo on the Library of Congress page--they have many non restricted photos you can use.  I made an engineer print at Staples. Spray the enlargement with a few light coats of clear spray to keep the ink from running. 
modge podge, decoupage, Staples, bookshelf, rustic,
When the modge podge was dry,  I screwed the back on, using the pipe clamp to help square it up. The back did get fairly wrinkled with the glue, but I like it--think it makes it look older and of course when things are on the bookshelf, all of the background won't be seen.
rustic, industrial, shelf, crate, pallet wood, reclaimed, loft style, beyond the picket fence,
I love these old anagrams in a wire fry basket.  
rustic industrial, pallet wood, wire basket, anagrams, beyond the picket fence,
I am smitten with the waxed wood, the black and white photo, the wheels.
rustic, industrial, decor, pallet shelf, bookshelf, fusion mineral paint, beyond the picket fence,
I am pretty sure rustic industrial is my new favorite style.  i see more projects like this in my future. 


  1. I also am a fan of this look! You,ve created a great shelf!

  2. This looks awesome, Becky...and I love your disclaimer lol!

  3. Redo's and all, I love it! Do you recommend that wax when creating end tables using reclaimed barn wood? Or what would you suggest?

  4. Your last "mistake" was a happy one! I love the picture back!

  5. This is my style! Your shelves turned out amazing, love it!

  6. Very cool! I just love the rustic goodness!!

  7. Perfect timing for this one Becky. I am currently working on a shelf with some lumber my son & I found after a used bookstore closed its doors. The wood was from a heavy book bin. It's reddish in color, not sure what kind of wood but good solid pieces anyway. Your tutorial helped a lot. Thanks for sharing. Awesome build by the way!

  8. becky this is awesome and i can follow your tutorial easily i will be making something similar soon thanks for sharing xx

  9. I love this look, color of wood, B&W photo, wheels, great combo and it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one who screws up along the way! Thanks!

  10. I love your rustic industrial shelf Becky! It turned out really nice. I'm going to have to go to the library of congress and look through the photos sometime, I really like that one. Thanks for sharing that! I haven't ever used Beeswax I will have to try it sometime.

  11. Great blog post on the Rustic Industrial Shelf. My husband and I really enjoyed it a lot. Your precise measurements were very interesting and have inspired my husband and I to undertake some wood-working endeavors of our own. On that note have you been to You will find some helpful hints on woodworking there…..

    Tracy Mcdaniel @ Carolina Material Handling Inc


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate your kind words!