DIY Industrial Style Bookshelf

2 Materials
I picked up a beat up old metal shelf at a garage sale for $5 and with a little elbow grease and some paint, this is what happened to it...
Here it is before...
So sad, right? If you look passed all the rust and grime and cobwebs, you’ll see some great bones. Once it was all cleaned up, scrubbed down and rinsed off, here’s what you have…
Not sure you can tell but it’s actually upside down here. The reason we did this is so that we can set the boards to make the shelves right inside the current shelves. From here we gave it a couple of coats of flat black spray paint. I didn’t paint inside where the shelves are going to go because you won’t see it anyway…
For the shelves we used the same rough saw pine that we used for the metal cart end table. We are fortunate to have a saw mill just a few miles away. We got a 12 x 12 board and cut it down and it only cost us $8.00. If you don’t have a mill near you, you can get pine boards from a local home improvement store but keep in mind that they would probably sit down just a bit from the lip of the shelf as the cut boards we get are a true 1″. You could always add a 1/4 inch plywood on first to bring the boards up to the height of the metal shelf.
Here it is all put together...
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Suggested materials:
  • Metal Shelf
  • Wood Planks
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 8 questions
  • Jcw Jcw on Nov 25, 2016
    What did you use to remove the rust?
  • Andrea Storz Andrea Storz on Dec 11, 2016
    Are those shelves screwed to the posts? If not , since you turned the whole thing upside down won't the shelves slide out of the slots they are inserted in?
  • Amy Amy on Jun 06, 2023

    I would put small strips down the sides to hide the metal pieces

Join the conversation
2 of 52 comments
  • April April on Dec 30, 2021

    Wonderful idea. I think ill try it

  • K K on Apr 08, 2023

    This is amazing, and to think I just threw a similar one in recycling! I wish I had salvaged it. I'll never look at those shelves the same way after seeing your beautiful upcycle!