Aug 29

Our Rustic Barnwood Shelf

For the longest time, Kelli has been on the prowl for the perfect piece to go above our bed.  She loves shabby chic/rustic style.  We were fortunate enough to come across an awesome barn door that we created for our headboard (more on that later).  So what better piece than a homemade, one-of-a-kind rustic barnwood shelf?!  It turned out to be the PERFECT piece!  Here’s how building the rustic barnwood shelf went down.

The Great Bedroom Reveal

Just a quick background on the wood I used:  I would love to say that I pulled it out of a barn built in the 1870’s by some farmer that put his blood sweat and tears into it but…… instead the story is not quite as exciting.  My neighbor’s wood fence fell down and he was throwing it out.  Being the entrepreneur (some may also call me a frugal pack rat…or worse, a hoarder) that I offered to haul it off for him. To our backyard.
You will notice that in all the pieces that I’ve built, including the desk at the end of the Lamp Re-Do post, the wood has an amazing look!  I love turning nothing into something with a little hard work and ingenuity.

I also want to add that I am very interested in custom building and selling similar shelves. If you really like what you see and are interested in possibly owning your own, there’s more details on the bottom of the post.


I began the building of the rustic barnwood shelf by cutting my two long base pieces.  I made sure to select the straightest pieces that I could find that way I don’t get a lot of warping and bowing.

As always, foreman Barkley is looking over my shoulder to make sure that I’m not messing up.  He’s a very particular boss!

After getting the bases selected and cut to the correct length, I used what was left over from the wood and made the stabilizing triangles.  I think these are what really gives the shelf the “official” look and helps with integrity of the structure.  No one likes waking up to a the Letter Y falling on your head (you’ll see what I mean in later pictures) in the middle of the night.

Originally I was thinking about just using glue and the nail gun to connect the pieces.  After much thought, I came to the conclusion that screws would be the best option to make a strong shelf.

I’m getting close to being done with putting the pieces together.  Please notice my safety glasses. SAFETY FIRST!  To tell you the truth, I just think that I look cool in them and that’s pretty much the only reason I wear them.  Kelli is sure to let me know that they are NOT COOL, but what does she know? 😉

Here’s photo of the shelf once it was all put together.  I love the look of the wood!!  Even though its from a fence that fell down, I think that it has a very unique feel.  I didn’t take a picture of this step, but once I finished putting the pieces together, I always seal the wood with a neutral base paint and keeps the look of the wood but gets rid of the splinters.

As for hanging the shelf on the wall, the steps go as follows: Find the studs, level the holes you drill for the shelf, prep the wood by pre-drilling the holes, drill the screws in, and finally, stand back and enjoy the look of your new rustic barnwood shelf!!!

Kelli did an amazing job on the accent pieces to put on the shelf!  You can read more about how she created each of those on the Bedroom reveal post.

The shelf has really completed the Country Living bedroom feel that we were in search for.  Its nice to step into our room and know that we have very unique pieces and even cooler to know that we built them!!  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about our taste and our sweet rustic barnwood shelf!!

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I’m thinking about building and selling custom made versions of the shelf.  If you are interested in possibly having your own please email us at firesidedreamers@gmail.com.  Let me now the dimensions (mostly just width) and if you have a particular design or look that you wanting.  These would make great Xmas gifts as well! 😉

Thanks so much for reading!  Until next time.  It’s all about the experience!

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  1. mom

    Another great addition to your house…it looks great!!!! You both did a super job!

  2. Roxanne

    wow you guys got talent. Very nice work!

  3. Karen

    Love the shelf and headboard! I recently got a small piece of reclaimed barnwood I plan to paint a picture on. The texture is much like that of the fencing you used for the shelf. I want to keep the rustic look of the wood and didn’t want to sand it before painting on it. When you say you coated the fence wood in a neutral based paint, what exactly do you mean? Sounds like it would have the effect I’m looking for – removing some of the splintery roughness without making a super smooth base. Your advice is much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Kelli

      Hi Karen! Thanks for stopping by. It sounds like the paint we use would provide a great finish for your project. We use neutral base with a flat enamel finish. You can find it wherever you buy paint. I hope that helps! Let us know how your project goes!

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