Reclaimed Flat Bar Shelves

A tutorial by


Bent Flat Bar Shelf Bracket 1.5" (no lip)


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Tape Measure
Circular Saw
Orbital Sander
  • 4 x 9"x48" shelf boards 
  • 8 x  7"x7" Bent Shelf Bracket 1.5" (no lip)
  • 16 x #8 1" wood screws(for brackets to shelves)
  • 16 x #8 1 1/4" Multi-Purpose Construction Screws (for attaching brackets to wall)
  • 1 can Heirloom White Satin paint + primer spray paint (make sure it is rated for metal 
  • Drill/Driver
  • Circular Saw
  • Orbital sander (220 grit sandpaper)
  • Tape Measure/Square tool
  • Scotch-Brite pad
  • Acetone (a small bottle of 100% acetone nail polish remover will work)
  • Shop towels 
  • Pencil
  • Goggles
  • face mask

Ella Groff

Ella is the Social Media & Community Lead here at Semi Exact. Much of her time is spent talking about builds, looking at builds, and coordinating more ways to build-- talk about a wealth of inspiration! Although she's no stranger to DIY (she's also an avid knitter and sewer), she still considers herself a novice maker, but loves the chance to take on a new project and hone her skills. 

"I love to use reclaimed materials that have a bit of engrained history for my projects. One of my favorite projects so far used reclaimed bleacher boards to make a set of 4 bookshelves. The boards are rough and worn, with scuff marks and words carved into them- every time I look at them I feel this wonderful nostalgia for school and that beginning-of-the-year excitement"

Shelves are an easy DIY that make a huge impact in any space. This build is made even simpler by utilizing reclaimed materials and our Bent Flat Bar Shelf Brackets.

Step 1:
Prep and paint your shelf brackets

If you are using raw steel brackets and are planning to paint them (like I did), use the Scotch-Brite pad and some acetone to remove the rust inhibitor oil from your raw shelf brackets. Spray the undersides of the bracket (the part that will be visible when the shelves are up) evenly, and let dry for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Step 2:
Measure and cut shelves to size

Measure each board to your desired shelf length- mine are each 4 feet long. Line up your circular saw blade with the mark you created along the edge of the board and scootch your square up beside it. Use 2 clamps to hold your square in place and use your circular saw to make the cut.

Step 3:
Prep your shelf surface

This step may vary based on what material you use for your shelves. I wanted to maintain the look that my boards already had, so I simply used my orbial sander and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth down the edges and any splintering spots.

Step 4:
Attach brackets to shelves

Measure and mark 12” from each end of each shelf board. Line the center of each bracket up along these marks and use a square to make sure that they are flush with the back edge of your shelf. Use your drill and 1” screws to fasten the brackets to your shelves.

Step 5:
Attach shelves to wall

Use a stud finder to locate your studs. If possible, you’ll want to secure both brackets in studs for extra stability and support. When this isn’t possible, use strong wall anchors.

To hang each shelf, start by holding your first shelf at it’s desired height and drive a screw through the top fastner hole. While still holding your shelf up, use a level to ensure the shelf is straight and drive screws through the remaining holes. Repeat this process for your remaining shelves.

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