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With all the hype on reclaimed materials in shelving and art, we decided we needed to make a shelf set of our own. You can never have enough surfaces for plants and books right?  What’s ever better is that this tutorial is not only simple enough for your little brother, but also allows for repurposing of old belts and wood. The beauty is that it is almost completely fuss free, and cheap. If you have a couple of belts hanging around that you don’t use, perfect. Otherwise you can find a few at the thrift store for a few dollars. A combination of belts even looks great, and the more worn in the wood the better. An array of options can also be substituted, and the shelves can be customized with stain or paint. The result is an eye-catching dual sill for displaying baubles, holding creative apparatus, or even storing cups and dishes.

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Materials:

  • 2 wooden boards, each 5″x20″
  • 2-4 old leather belts in good condition (color of the belts can be the same, or you can mix colors)
  • Carpet tacks
  • Long nails (3″ or 4″ work best)
  • Hammer
  • Meauring tape or a ruler
  • Pencil for marking measurements
  • Drill or awl
  • Level

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Step 1:

Begin this DIY shelving project, by taking your two wooden boards, tape measure, and pencil, then measuring where 2″ is located on each board, starting at the end of the board. Mark this point on the top and bottom of each board, at both ends, using the pencil.  If you choose to, and I definitely recommend you do this, use your ruler to draw a pencil line across the bottom of each board, where you marked off 2″.  You can only draw this line across the bottom of the boards, since it would be visible if drawn across the top.  Lay the boards to the side for now.

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Step 2:

Next, take two of the leather belts, looping them together, by sliding the strap into the buckle, securing it.  The size of the belt circumference should be 60″.  If your belts do not have enough holes to make a circumference equal to 60″, never fear!  Simply take your drill or awl, creating your own additional holes in the belts!  As I mentioned earlier in the materials section, your belts can both be the same shade, or two contrasting shades, to draw guest’s attention to your shelf.  This is your choice!  Leather belts with a thicker width work best for this project, (a good example would be men’s leather belts).

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Step 3:

After creating two loops of 60″ each, you are ready to move on to inserting your recycled wooden boards for your shelf!  Line up the belt loops, at the 2″ marks you made on one board, by sliding the board through the two loops.  Before securing the first wooden board to the leather loops, be sure to check that you have positioned the buckles of your belts where you want them.  Do not position the leather belt buckles, at the bottom of your loop, since you will be securing the wooden shelves here.  The middle of each loop, is a good place to secure the belt buckles, since the two wooden shelves will not be secured here, and they will catch the sunlight nicely from this vantage point!  When attaching belts to the wooden board, start by turning the board over, so the underside faces up.  Securely hold one of the belt loops, so it is immobile.  Hammer three carpet tacks into the belt, adhering it to the wooden board.  Make certain to keep the belt loop aligned, when hammering the nails at the 2″ mark, on the wooden board. Repeat this procedure, with the second belt, wooden board, and three carpet tacks, on the opposite end of this same board.  Again, be sure to keep the belt stabile, aligning it to the 2″ marks you created earlier.

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Step 4:

When step 3 has been completed, flip your wooden board over, so it is facing right side up again.  Hammer one carpet tack through the belt in the front, at each end of the board, securing the belts to the wooden board’s front.

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Step 5:

Now that the first part of your shelf is secure, it’s time to affix the second wooden board to your shelf!  Use a tape measure, or ruler, to measure 10″ up from the bottom wooden shelf.  This is where you will insert your second wooden plank, through the belt loops, creating your top shelf.  When measuring from the bottom shelf up, be sure to lay the attached shelves on their side, aligning the second shelf with the first one.  In order to ensure that your shelves stay 10″ apart in length, keep the belt loops taut.

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Step 6:

Affix the second shelf by hammering one nail into the front of the boards, through the belts at the 2″ mark you made.  Add another nail into the center of the belt, at the back, connecting the belt and wooden board where they meet at the backside of each board end.  The two wooden boards are now securely fastened to the belts!

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Step 8:

Pull the two separate belt loops tight, ensuring they are securely fastened.  Use your ruler, or tape measure, to measure the length of the two belt loops, one final time, before mounting your shelf, checking that they are equal in length.  Should you find that one belt loop is not equal with the other, don’t fret!  You can always add another hole to a belt, if needed, using your drill, or awl, to make the belt loops perfect!  If the loops for your shelf are even, you are ready to hang your shelf!

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Step 9:

Okay!  Your belt loops are even, you are ready to install this unique looking shelf for display!  When hanging your shelf, start by using a level, to mark off where to hammer the nail for your shelf, ensuring it is hung straight.  Use the 3″ or 4″ longer nails to attach your shelf to the wall.  Hammer the nails through the top, back, belt loops, on either side of  the shelf.  This ensures that the nail heads will be hidden from view, allowing your beautiful new shelf to be the center of attention!  Now you are done with your recycled, wooden, and leather belt shelf!  The fun part is decorating your DIY creation, however you like! Enjoy!

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Photos via Design Sponge.