DIY Rustic Fence Board Bookshelf

Zest it Up
by Zest it Up
2 Hours
The birds are chirping, the butterflies are fluttering and Spring cleaning is in full swing! There is just something about the days growing longer and the weather warming up that just makes me want to clean and organize my home. It is time for a freshen up and change in just about every room in the house. Am I crazy or are you in the same boat with me??? Haha, this is the season that my husband comes home to surprises. Walls change color, furniture moves, closets become more orderly, and in this case, new furniture upcycled!

In an effort to create more organizing potential in my little home, I decided to tackle building a new bookshelf. There is only one thing that gets me more excited about working on my home than organizing, and that is discovering how to tackle my projects without spending a dime. Repurposing, recycling, and a little bit of problem solving usually can get me a long way in reworking my space.

Photo Cred: Jessica Helton
Sam and I discovered some old fence boards a while back.  It has come in handy for a ton of projects!  Fortunately, I still had enough of the precious recycled resource to play around with building a new bookcase.
As with a lot of recycling or repurposing projects, I had to let the material dictate the measurements and shape of my bookshelf.  The awesome patina of the wood would add instant charm to my project, but I first had to measure how tall my shelf could possibly be after removing the uneven, rotted off edges.
Obviously, if you tackle a bookshelf, you can choose however tall you want your final project to be.
Next step was to measure the width of the bookshelf with 5 boards across, so that I could create some support for the future shelves.  I decided to cut my 2″X4″ support piece 1 3/4″ shy of the full width on both sides so that I could eventually attach another 2″X4″ piece at an L shaped angle for the side.  If that is confusing, just check out the pix as we go! 
For the sides of my bookcase, I measured the same height, but I wanted them to be the width of 1 1/2 boards. 
So I ditched the chopsaw for a tablesaw.  Measuring out the mid section of the board, I sliced it in half.
1 1/2 pieces gave me the perfect width for the sides of the bookshelf.
Since my main material had so much charm, I decided to spray my support 2″X4″ pieces with copper spray paint.  I figured that since the two materials were so different, I might as well highlight them as opposed to try and mask the difference by trying to “age” the new 2″X4″ pieces.
I figured that since the two materials were so different, I might as well highlight them as opposed to try and mask the difference by trying to “age” the new 2″X4″ pieces.
For the side supports, I measured the 2″X4″”s at exactly the same width.
Double checking my measurements, I kept the boards 1 3/4″ from the edge on the backboard, and used wood screws to secure it to each board.
Yay!  The L piece was going to fit perfectly!  With that concern satisfied, I went ahead and secured the rest of the board.  Make sure the check your alignment…you do not want a crooked board because that will in turn give you a crooked shelf.  I measured from the bottom along the way, just the make sure it was all level.
I am holding the back board upside down here, but you can see that the supports are secure, level and that the backboard is now a solid piece.  Progress!!
Working from the back, I secured the L boards with wood screws.
Now I simply attached the side boards to my L supports.  This project was actually coming together pretty quick! With both sides attached, you can see how the supports for shelves now wrapped around the entire bookshelf.  The last step was to simply measure out board for the shelves.  Measuring across the inside gave me a quick measurement, but I needed to slice a board in half lengthwise because each shelf needed to be 1 1/2 boards deep thanks to my 1 1/2 board wide sides.
The very last step was to simply screw the board down into those copper support 2″X4″‘s.  Super quick and easy!  The only change up I made at the last minute was to add one more top shelf.  Originally I figured that I would have just placed a board along the top and drilled it straight down into the backboards and sideboards….but then I realized that I would have missed out on seeing all those cute fence board tops.  So, instead, I just cut some more 2″X4″‘s and created one more sunken shelf about 2″ from the top.
I love how much instant character this piece has from the recycled fence boards.  I think it is a toss up between the knot holes and the lichen as to what is my favorite detail.  However, I am totally digging the copper supports as well!
It was a lot of fun watching how fast this came together and then getting the instant gratification of styling it!  Yay for Spring!!!!

Cheers to rustic home decor and organizing!!

Zest it Up
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • M-L M-L on Aug 01, 2017
    Since the wood had been outside for a long time, weren't you afraid of bringing termites into your home?

  • Rosy Rosy on Aug 02, 2017
    Really like this idea using up some of my old fench boards. Noticed you were wearing safety glasses which is a must. Curious though did you actually work with these boards without gloves to protect your hands from splinters? Concerned about you using power tools with your hair down, jewelry on and sandles on your feet or were these pictures taken just so you looked nice?

  • Tbs55889387 Tbs55889387 on Dec 14, 2021

    I love it! I too have a thing for copper paint, which I probably got from this website!

Join the conversation
3 of 68 comments
  • PetPainter PetPainter on Aug 22, 2017
    Looks great. Best dressed DIYer award. ( But I am guessing you dressed for the Photos.) I would do the same thing. You go girl. 😁

  • Vicky Corey Vicky Corey on Sep 20, 2017
    You did a great job!! I love It! It really amazes me the rude comments you ladies get! Lol Thank you for sharing. I love rustic!