DIY Hanging Belt Shelf with Reclaimed Wood
I am so so so excited to share this project; I haven't been this proud of one of my DIYs in a very long time! This wall shelf, made from recycled wood and excellent thrifted leather belts, came out even better than I had expected. Not only does it fit perfectly in narrow wall space I placed it, but it also fits perfectly with the look I'm trying to create in my apartment: a perfect balance of DIY, modern industrial, rustic, and slightly feminine. Can you tell I'm having trouble identifying my interior design "style"? :)
Other than it just looking fabulous, I love that all the materials (except the nails and screws) are repurposed. I found a wonderful recycle/reuse station 30 minutes away, and I've started going every month or so to browse what goodies I might be able to find a use for!
Anyway, making the shelf itself is fairly easy. In all honesty, the majority of my time and effort was spent hanging the shelf onto my wall. Without my dad's help, it was up to me to make sure I hung it in a secure, level, and precise manner! But don't let that deter you; I have confidence in your skills, or the skills of a trusty friend!
Cost of materials: $20 (could be more, depending on where you get your supplies!)
Time: 1 hour
Things you will need:
For the shelf itself:
- Wooden board(s) - mine was 10" x 22"
- 4-8 leather belts
- Nails (I used roofing nails)
- Ruler or tape measure
- (Optional) Drill
- (Optional) Wood stain and varnish/finish if your board is unfinished
To hang the shelf:
- Screws (and screw anchors if you are not screwing into a wood)
This project cost me less than $20 for all of the supplies, since I bought mostly used items. I sourced my belts from Goodwill and Salvation Army, and the wood from the local recycle/reuse station I mentioned. You can also try Craigslist or just buy everything new!
1. (Optional) Stain and finish your wood, if desired or needed, following the manufacturer's instructions on your stain/varnish.
2. Strap your belts together to create two loops of equal length. My loop, for my one 10" board, was about 55" in circumference. I recommend a longer length if a) your board is wider, or b) you want to two boards, not one.
You may need to add a new hole in your belts to get the perfect length. To do so, either drill a hole or hammer a nail into the leather to create a hole. (If using a hammer and nail, make sure you have a secure surface under your belt that you don't mind having a nail mark in.)
It's tricky to measure the circumference and get the lengths exactly equal. I recommend using a string to get the circumference and then measuring the string with a ruler/tape measure.
3. Mark 2" from the edges on the top and bottom edges of the board. Draw a line along the 2" mark on the underside of your wood, to easily align your belts later.
4. Position the board inside the two belt loops, adjusting the belts so that the buckles are where you'd like them to be.
You also want to make sure the belt buckles aren't positioned where you will need to nail or screw anything, which means a) not on the edge of the shelf and b) not at the point where you would screw the shelf into the wall.
5. . When you're happy with the board's positioning, hold the belts and flip your board so the underside is showing.
6. For one belt, hammer 3 nails into the belt and into the underside of the board, making sure the belt stays aligned with the 2" line you marked before. Repeat for the other belt.
7. Hammer a nail into each belt on the front edge and back edge of the board. (4 nails total)
8. Cut off any excess belt, especially if it's close to the edge that will lay against the wall (like mine)
9. (Optional) If you want to add a second board (I did not):
Lay first board on its back edge, and position the second board 10" above the first board. Holding the belt tightly, hammer a nail into the belt on the front edge of the second board, making sure the boards are 10" apart. Repeat for the other side, making sure the boards are still 10" apart.
Flip the boards so that they are now laying on their front edge (the edge you've already nailed). As you did with the front edge, hammer a nail into each belt on the back edge of the board, making sure the boards are 10" apart each time.
10. Double check that your loops are still the same length, and adjust if anything is slightly off, adding a hole with a drill if needed.
11. Now the hard part - hang your shelf!You will hang the shelf onto the wall by screwing into the top backside of the loops. This is tricky, but you can do it! Some tips that helped me:
a) Using a pencil, lightly mark on your wall the height and center of where the shelf will be
b) Hold your shelf by the belts, adjusting your hands' positioning on the belt loops until the shelf hangs fairly level against the wall at the height that you marked before. If possible, or with a friend's assistance, mark on the belts where you are holding them (so you know where to put the screw in your belts later), and mark your hands' height on the wall (so you know where to screw into the wall).
c) Once you have the general height of where the screws will be, measure the distance between your belts on your board and cut a piece of masking tape the same length. Place this tape on the wall, at the height of where the screw should be, and aligned with the center mark you penciled before. Double check that you placed the tape level, using your level tool or app.
d) Now screw time! On each side of the masking tape, drill a hole in the wall and hammer in your screw anchors if you are using them. Then you're almost done! First put the screw through the belt where you marked it, and then screw into the wall. Repeat for the other side, and then you're done!
The jewelry dishes, which I will be sharing as a new DIY very soon, look GREAT against the rich warmth of the wood, right? I was quite pleased how all of my DIYs are looking together!
While I used it as a wall shelf, I immediately realized it would make the PERFECT nightstand alternative or side table to your living room couch or chair. Don't you agree?