We shared recently some pictures of our two new brick book shelves that we built in one afternoon for less than $40.00. We told you we would be sharing a tutorial on how to build a brick book shelf for your own home so here it is.
Yes, most people could probably look at the shelf and see how to make your own, but we do tutorials here as you know, so we wanted to put together this quick tutorial to show you how we built these beautiful brick book shelves.
Now, there are of course a million ways you can do this project. You can use many different types of bricks, material for shelves, stain colors or paint, different sizes to fit your needs, etc.
We chose this particular style and size to fit the needs of the room we put them in so be sure to do the same. Take this information and be creative.
What You Will Need
- Bricks – Choose Your Own Color, Size and Style – For ours we used simple red bricks from Lowes $0.49 each. We used about 40 of them but this will vary depending on the size book shelf that you are building
- Shelving Board – We chose 3/4 x 6 shelving board from Lowes
- Skil Saw or Hand Saw – Unless you buy your shelving board already pre-cut in the size you need
- Wood Stain – Choose your color – We mixed Minwax Dark Walnut and Golden Oak together to get the shade we were looking for
- Sandpaper – 150 grit
- Foam Paint Brush or Clean Cloth
- Furniture Wax or Polyurethane
- Clean Cloths
Cut the shelving board into 2 foot sections (remember this is what we did on this book shelf. If you need a bigger book shelf adjust according to your needs)
Use sandpaper to smooth and round the corners and edges of the board. This step may be optional, but we do this whenever we cut shelving board. The smooth, rounded edges give it a very nice, professional looking finish.
On this step we used an electric sander, and if you have one it is highly recommended. It will save you a ton of time and effort. However, if you don’t have one it is not mandatory. You can sand it by hand.
Use foam brush or a clean cloth to apply the wood stain to the newly cut and sanded shelving board. Apply liberally and wipe off the excess to quicken the drying time
When the stain has completely dried, seal the shelves with furniture wax or polyurethane. We used Minwax Furniture Paste. Wipe on with a clean, cloth. Let dry 10-15 minutes then buff with a new, clean cloth
Assemble your bricks and begin stacking them to put the shelves onto. For ours 2 bricks on each side of the base was sufficient as we were making small book shelves. On a longer book shelf you may need to add more to the sides or middle for stability.
***Stability is everything on these and it pays to go slowly. We’re not using mortar or any kind of sealant so the bricks are merely stacked. You do not want this bookcase coming down on a curious toddler
As you can see on ours we used 6 bricks on each side of each shelf. Doing it this way you could not go any higher than 2 shelves and maintain stability.
If you want to go higher than 2 shelves then put the appropriate amount of bricks needed to allow room for your books on the bottom shelf then subtract at least 1 and maybe 2 bricks per side for each shelf as you go up.
So for example on our bookcase we have 6 on each side for each shelf. If we were going higher we might do 12 total bricks on the bottom shelf, 10 on the next shelf up, then 8 on the next.
This will all depend on what size bricks you are using, how long and how tall the shelf will be. Just play with it and do what works for you. If it’s unstable then it’s unstable. Keep trying until you get it pretty stable. You don’t want to take a chance of it toppling over.
That’s it really. It’s very easy and very cheap to make. I personally don’t know where you could get a bookcase with more character and rich, rustic style for so little money and effort.
Just wanted to share a few shots of this old ladder we distressed and antiqued for a friend recently. Our friend cut off half of the ladder and got us to put this really nice distressed finish on it. We used white and beige with some dry brushed hints of dark gray for contrast, then antiqued the finish.
He gave it to his wife for their anniversary this year to use to hang towels or quilts. A beautiful distressed ladder. The possibilities of using this to accent your home are nearly endless.
You might also like this website on DIY and more!
If you saw our last post you saw that we have been busy at work making some really cool distressed wooden signs for Christmas.
We have really had a blast creating these little signs. They are easy to make and they can say anything you want them to say. The only limits are your imagination!
So, now we come to the fun part, where we show you exactly how we make these signs so that you can do it yourself. There are a lot of different ways you can do it and we certainly encourage you to experiment and find new and better ways to do it for yourself. This tutorial just shows the method that we use and have found to work the best for us.
So, let’s get to it.
Here’s what you will need
- Paint – 2 or more colors (we recommend using Chalk Paint – the official kind or the do it yourself kind that you can make cheap using our free recipe HERE
- Paintbrushes – 1 large standard brush and 1 small lettering brush
- Wood Slab: We used a simple pine 1×6 board from Lowes cut into 2 ft sections but you can use anything that will fit what you want your sign to look like
- Writing Pen
- Word Processing software, printer and paper: We used Microsoft Word but any word processing program will work.
- Sandpaper, Steel Wool, or Sanding Block: You don’t need all 3. Any of these will work
- Furniture Wax And Cloths – We used Minwax clear furniture paste or you can use our dark wax recipe or other similar furniture wax
1) Prep And Paint The Wood
I like to do a little sanding to the edges of the board to make them rounded and smooth and not so shard and jagged. I think this really makes the sign look better but it’s up to you.
Next paint the board. On this one we are doing a red bottom color that we’re going to distress down to so we start by painting the board red
After the bottom coat has dried take some vaseline and smear it on the places that you want to show under top coat color (that we will paint on a little later). The vaseline makes the top coat of color come off super easy later on so be careful where you put it. (If you want more info this method is detailed in full in our tutorial “Chalk Paint and Vaseline Method”
Add it wherever you want the sign to show wear but we recommend focusing on the edges and sides. Then add some in other places, but don’t add really big smear marks on the front and sides as it can sometimes come out looking unnatural.
*NOTE: You can skip this part or you can use candle wax instead of vaseline. Both of these substances make distressing much easier but you can choose not to use them and just freehand distress with the sandpaper later on if you wish.
3) Top Coat Of Paint
Now add your top coat of paint and let it dry.
Ah! Here is the tricky part you may be saying, and while it is the most tricky part of the process it is MUCH EASIER than you think!
Now, how you choose to do this is up to you. We are not professional artists so this method is likely going to be for those of us who have a shakier hand than those with more skill.
If you have artistic ability and can paint the letters by hand please do so. You can also choose to use stencils for your lettering. That is fine and a little less time consuming than the method we are going to show you, but with this method you have access to nearly limitless font type and size possibilities so we really like doing it this way.
What you will need is a word processing program like Word or similar. Just make your page orientation set to “landscape”, type your letters and then adjust the font size so that it takes up about 2/3 of the page (if you are using a 6 inch board like us). Of course you can adjust this to fit your sign or you taste. Remember the page will typically be 11 inches long so remember that when you are adjusting your letters.
After you get them the way you like you can go ahead and print the letters. You may not get it exact the first time, but we have only had to reprint one time.
Next, line up the pages so your letters are where you want them to be on the sign. Then tape the pages to the board. We used standard painters masking tape, but anything will work okay.
Make sure the paper is flat and tight against the board with no bulges
Now take your ballpoint pen and trace the letters (with considerable pressure but it doesn’t take much)
When you are done, remove the paper and you should be able to see the indention of the letters in the wood. Sometimes it depends on the paint color, wood and lighting to see it good but if you put enough pressure when writing you shouldn’t have much trouble.
Here is a picture of our letters after the tracing
Now you are ready to paint the letters with your small lettering brush. It doesn’t have to be a specific type of brush just something small enough to go around the letters.
Now, again unless you are an artist this may look a little shaky at first and you may have trouble staying in the lines, but don’t worry. When you distress the letters that shaky, imperfect lettering is really going to look authentic so hang in there and do your best.
Remember old signs were hand painted and not always by great artists so that’s the look we want anyways.
Now. take your sandpaper, steel wool or whatever you have and begin scuffing the sign. If you used vaseline or candle wax it will come off pretty easily. Just start sanding and work at it until the piece is how you want it.
When you are finished distressing you can apply a finish. We used Minwax furniture wax on this one, but on some of our other pieces we used our secret dark furniture wax recipe. You can get the recipe FREE HERE
See, that wasn’t so bad. Just add any type of hanging hardware to the back and you will be enjoying your new sign in no time.
Thanks for coming by to see our latest tutorial. We hope you enjoyed it. Please come back often.
Angie & Chris
Learn how to antique furniture with antique glaze or wood stain with our free tutorial
Angie and I (well mostly Angie on this one) has been working away revamping our entire bedroom into a distressed furniture masterpiece.
We have previously shared the vanity, oval mirror and one nightstand. Well here is how the other distressed nightstand turned out.
We’re keeping with the “confederate” gray and dry brushing with some darker gray tones and distressing down to a darker undercoat.
We’ve been very happy with the results so let us know what YOU think and as always please share on your social sites.
Thanks as always for coming by.
Angie and Chris
Well friends here is our latest furniture distressing project. This was a little different from some of our previous work as we had to do some re-purposing for this one.
We had an old chest of drawers that was sitting around in storage and was starting to feel the strain of the years.
This was actually the dresser Chris had as a child in his bedroom, and we had used it for a few years after getting married but we ran out of room and use for it so it got stored away.
After doing some brainstorming we decided to repurpose the old chest into something a little more amazing.
It was Angie’s idea and we LOVE how it turned out. It is going to make some little girl very happy.
We took the Skil Saw to it and after MANY tedious but extremely fun hours of work we turned it into a toybox/bench
This is perfect for a little girl’s room for sitting and storing.
Please let us know what you think! Leave a comment, Pin it and Share it. Thanks for stopping by
Angie and Chris
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Alright, you Kenny Chesney fans will understand the wink in the title. Everyone else will have to look it up 🙂
We found this old chair abandoned in an old barn and in need of some distressed furniture love.
We wanted to try the “dry brush” technique on this and share with you how to do it. We also just made our own dark wax and used it on this chair. It worked amazingly (in our humble opinion) and in the future we are going to be sharing exactly how we did it so you can make your own on the cheap!
Make sure you subscribe to the blog (via the link on the right) AND sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the post so you won’t miss out when we share the secret recipe!
Here on the gallery page we will just show you the before and after pictures, but we are going to be doing a whole tutorial on how to dry brush a piece.
Leave a comment and let us know what you think!
Angie and Chris
Here Are The Before Waxing And After Waxing Shots
Here Are The Before Anything And After Everything Shots
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