How to Make Easy Rustic Wood Shelves

Making easy reclaimed rustic wood shelves is easier than you think!  Read on to see how I added farmhouse rustic charm to my bathroom for mere pennies!

Making reclaimed rustic wood shelves can be super easy! Take the lead from the wood and build something awesome for your home.

This post originally appeared on  I am now excited to share it with my readers as well.

Last year when I remodeled my master bathroom, I had no idea how it would end up.  I mean, I had a plan, and knew exactly what I wanted but it is hard to predict that it will all go as planned.  One thing I knew is that I wanted to add some rustic wood shelves to the space.  

With everything else that was going on, the shelves were the easiest part!  We re-tiled the whole room including the shower, shiplapped the walls,  built a new vanity and new built in storage.  The space is light and bright and so functional!  

One weekend, after many late nights working on the bathroom, I decided it was time to get working on the rustic wood shelves.  You see, we lucked out a few years ago and came across some old wooden beams that were originally used at a hotel as part of the stairs.  They were painted dark brown, and I swear there had to be at least 10 coats of thick brown paint on them.  

We spent hours and hours sanding the paint off of them in order to use them at my sisters outdoor wedding that we put together near our home.  We first used them as benches, nestled in the woods for the wedding.  

Next, I was able to turn some of this wood into shelves in my laundry room and my dining room.  

Last we turned some into butcher block counter top in our laundry room as well.  

These beams are well used and well loved!  It is a stark change from their former home, rotting in a trash pile. 

We ended up using some more of the beams in our master bathroom remodel by installing one real, very real and very heavy beam in the ceiling and wall.  we also used some of it to build our new vanity.  Yes, we multi-purposed all of it!  It is so satisfying.

The rustic wood shelves was the last project from one of our old beams and I knew I could use the little scraps we had left to create something lovely.

Now, all we had left were a few blocks of wood, but I knew I could make them work with a little bit of imagination.

I wanted something that had a rustic look, but still refined enough to look clean in my master bathroom.  I wanted simple brackets that had a little bit of heft to them.

So lets talk about how I made my reclaimed wood shelves…

Supplies you need to make rustic wood shelves:

Now, I want to preface this and state that there are so many different ways to make rustic wood shelves and you may have different sizes and shapes.  Creating something original is such a fun way to personalize your home.

How to build my rustic wood shelves:


There are many options to creating these brackets, but being creative and using what I had, I found an old post that was about 6 ft long and was approximately 4 inches by 4 inches.  I used this wood to cut my corbels out of.

My miter saw was set to the sharpest angle which was about 51 degrees.  We cut the pieces of the post down to 4 2/3 inch lengths for the toilet room shelves.  Once they were cut, I then measured down 3/4  inch and marked it.  Next, I cut the wood piece on that line with the miter saw set at 51 degrees.

The plan was to make some for my toilet room and one for above my bathtub.  I decided to make the one above my tub slightly larger, thus I made a larger corbel.  I cut them  at 7 1/2 inches long and cut the angle 3 inches down the post.  It was still done exactly the same way, I just made it taller.

Once I had all the brackets cut, I gave them all a good sanding.  Then I used a hammer to beat them up a bit. 

How to make handmade corbels for shelving in your home

 I then stained/washed the wood with my favorite weathered wood stain.  This is a stain I have made up myself and I use of so very often in my home.  I have used it on my DIY X bench, my open shelves in the kitchen, and on my vanity in my master bathroom.

*Now, if you feel like cutting these corbels/brackets seems to daunting, you can find some pretty great options at your local hardware store.  You can still create awesome rustic farmhouse shelving with less work.  I just love to use product I already have around the house.*

After I had the corbels all ready to go, I drilled to holes all the way through them.  This is how I secured them to the wall.  The reason I decided to use this method, is that it gives them a more raw, rustic/industrial vibe.  I even left the screws visible and did not putty the holes. 

Handmade corbels use with reclaimed wood shelves in the bathroom

If you are looking for a more refined look, you can putty the holes with stainable caulk and you will not see the screw holes.  I was not so concerned with that.

Reclaimed rustic wood shelves can be so easy to make!

I did use some new 1 by 6 inch pine boards.  They are incredibly reasonably priced, especially if you get the white common board.

Assembling your rustic wood shelves:

Once you have everything ready to hang on the wall, it is important to find the studs in the wall, or use drywall anchors.   I used my stud finder to find the studs and marked them.  There may be a little adjusting here or there to make sure they are centered.

If you cannot find studs in the place you are hanging them, use drywall anchors.  You can mark the spot on the wall by pushing a smaller drill bit through the holes that you pre-drilled and making a mark on the wall.  

Tips on installing reclaimed rustic wood shelves with handmade corbels.

Using a level to make sure they are straight before securing them in to the wall will provide a nice level surface.

Make your own corbels for rustic reclaimed wood shelves

Now that the corbels are secured into the walls, its time to add the shelf.  I laid the 1 by 8 pieces atop the corbels, centered them and then screwed them in through the top of the shelf.

Tips of how to install rustic wood shelves

How to make your own rustic wood shelves in a few hours!

I love the rustic look these reclaimed shelves have.  We were so thrilled with how they were turning out.  It was time  to finish up with some touch ups in the bathroom and style my new rustic wood shelves.


Love these rustic wood shelves in the water closet!


I use these shelves to store extra toilet paper as well as lady paraphernalia.  There’s no crime in styling toilet shelves either.  It makes everything better.

Use rustic wood shelves to store toilet paper in the bathroom. Great organization and stylish looks!

For the shelf I installed near out bathtub, I wanted to keep it pretty.

What a gorgeous view of a bathroom with rustic wood shelves, shiplap, and subway tile!

Love the way this bathroom looks with these rustic reclaimed wood shelves!

I love these rustic wood shelves and I am so very excited about how they look in my bathroom.  

Rustic wood shelves, tobacco basket, shiplap and subway tile in the master bathroom. So very farmhouse style!

Making easy rustic wood shelves is easier than you think!  Read on to see how I added farmhouse rustic charm to my bathroom for mere pennies!

Just the right amount of rustic against the shiplap walls and subway tile in our shower makes this one of my absolutely favorite views. Its a good thing its what I get to look at while I am taking a bath.

Is there a space in your home that you would like to install some unique rustic style reclaimed wood shelves?  These were super easy to create and I was able to do it all myself.

One huge piece of advice I would give is take the lead from the actual wood itself.  I did not try to fit a square peg in a round hole.  I knew there were only certain ways I could use the pieces of wood I had, and I used those to my advantage to create some pretty spectacular reclaimed wood shelves.

So, if you have some reclaimed wood that may have different plans, use your imagination and create something truly unique.  And if you are a self proclaimed “no imagination” kind of person, shoot me a message and I will gladly help you come up with an awesome idea!

Now get at it!

Make sure to save this for later and share it with your friends! 

Making rustic wood shelves can be so much easier than you would think! Come see how I added unique rustic wood shelves to my farmhouse bathroom with reclaimed wood! #TwelveOnMain #shelves

If you like this DIY tutorial, check out these other great projects:

DIY Upholstered X Bench


Do It Yourself Kitchen Island X Design


DIY Faux Fireplace and Mantel


DIY Peg Coat and Hat Rack



  1. These shelves are exactly what I need to make for my bathroom Sara. Thanks for the great tutorial, I’m gonna give it a try! 🙂

  2. Those are awesome! I’ve been wanting to do something like that in my bathroom for a while, I totally using your tutorial to actually get it done… finally:)

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