Make 9 Rustic Shelves Using 1 Fence Post

6 Materials
3 Hours

I am so fortunate to have a contractor hubby! At our house, I never know what kind of wood scraps will show up in our leftovers pile. For this project, I asked him to cut up 9 pieces of an old fence post. I wanted to make shelves to showcase my little antique books, African and American baskets from my travels, and favorite local pottery.


Cut your post into the size of your choice using a power saw. At first I planned to use the long horizontal shelves shown here, but I ended up cutting them again into squares to reduce the weight. Sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Use a foam brush to brush on a couple of coats of shellac, following the manufacturer's instructions. This step is important to seal the wood and prevent sap from leaking out onto the wall. Let dry. Use a paintbrush to paint one or two coats of any kind of water-based flat white paint. Let dry.


Here you can see that I created a practice wood piece to plan my process for installing the keyhole hanger. Measure exactly where you want to place the keyhole hanger on the back of the block. Use a chisel to scoop out a section of wood about 3/8″ deep underneath where the hanger will be. Place the keyhole hanger over the hole you created, small part of the center notch facing up, and screw it into place.


On the wall, measure and mark where the block will hang. (For my project of 9 shelves, I measured where all of the shelves would go at the same time.) Drill a hole slightly smaller than the plastic piece of a wall anchor. Tap the plastic piece into the hole with a hammer. Use a screwdriver to add the screw. To hang the wood block, line up the keyhole hanger on the back of the wood shelf with the screw on the wall, and slide the block onto the screw. NOTE: Using a wall anchor and the keyhole hanger ensure that the weight of the wood, and the items on top, will be secure.



Here is my final project. I originally created the design years ago and posted it on Hometalk (see, without the coat of white paint. This is an update that suits our white venetian plaster walls nicely, and I change the display often. You could also decorate the shelves beautifully for the seasons and the holidays.

You can find this home décor project and more on my website and blog at

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Debbie Dion Hayes Creative
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Nancy Nancy on Oct 12, 2021

    Fence posts are treated to prevent rot. Do you feel this is safe to use inside?

  • Teresa Teresa on Oct 13, 2021

    I love this! I have a large wall space in my backyard that this idea would be fun to try. I’m thinking I could stain then dark walnut to match my new gazebo. Do you (or maybe your contractor hubby) know how I would screw the screws into a concrete wall on a 1980’s house?

    Thank you!

    (obviously I’m not going to put books outdoors but I’m thinking small plants, antique garden tools, candles, etc.)


Join the conversation

4 of 21 comments
  • Kathy Kathy on Oct 13, 2021

    This is clever and prett I wonder if we could use command hooks.

    • Hi Kathy, if you do the blocks with not sit flush with the wall. Also, I am not sure if they can hold the weight.

  • Hope Hope on Oct 13, 2021

    Hi Debbie...

    LOVE - LOVE!!!! I really like your (white) shelves and the way they are perfect displaying your collection...then...I looked at your first post where they were "wood" and the collection of beauties they pretty!!! I love both styles!