Y’all, I really wish you could have seen the looks on my boys’ faces when I told them that I was going to make shelves out of the leather straps that I ordered from Amazon. They just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. But when this “DIY leather strap shelves” project was over, neither of them could believe how easy and quick it was!
Also, both would die of embarrassment if they knew I used the words “no big deasy” in a blog post title.
Anyway, I told you guys in my master bedroom makeover that I had originally wanted to do a gallery wall in the master, then an art ledge. But then, Michael found some really nice reclaimed boards in an old smokehouse on our property, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut them down. There’s no telling how long they’ve been there- the house is 122 years old! And reclaimed lumber is all the rage these days, right? Gotta do what the cool kids are doing.
So the art ledge morphed into shelves. But I wanted an interesting way to hang them.
Enter Pinterest. And I found all kinds of cool tutorials for leather strap shelving. It seemed to fit the overall collected feel of the room.
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Getting started- get your supplies
Here’s how I did ours. It really was super easy.
First, I researched leather. I wanted to be sure that whatever I ordered would be nice and strong, but not stiff. On Amazon, I found this which had awesome reviews and was a great vintage tan color and weight. Strong, but still flexible enough to work with:
One strap was enough for one shelf, so I ended up having to order two.
I just used regular 1 inch screws to hang the leather:
And a drill:
And of course, whatever board you are going to use for shelving.
Okay, next you’ll need to figure out where you want the shelves to be. Here’s the wall that I was dealing with:
A wall over the TV, which I was trying to camouflage a little bit, with some pretty high ceilings:
You’ll need to consider a few things with placement. Think about:
- What size will your artwork or other items on the shelves be? For me, I knew that I would be using a large scale piece over the TV, so that impacted the placement of both shelves.
- Think about the placement of your shelves in relation to the height of your ceilings. Don’t forget to consider the size of your artwork with this.
- Now, what impact do you want these shelves to have? Will they be a statement piece, like mine are, or purely functional? If you want to make a statement with these, definitely play around with placement. Use your ceiling height- whatever it is- to your advantage! Even low ceilings can give a very dramatic effect with shelving that is placed the correct way if you consider your art with your placement.
- Finally, are there things you will need to work around? We often have our bedroom door open, so I chose to hang our upper shelf above the swing of the door and the lower shelf past the reach of the door swing. Be sure you measure to account for things like this.
Step 3- Hanging the leather straps
I was lucky- with our walls being thick shiplap, they are essentially all studs. However, if you don’t have shiplap, or aren’t drilling directly into the studs, you’ll need to use wall anchors to ensure that the leather is secured, er, securely into the walls.
But before you do that, mark on your leather where you want to secure the strap to the wall. I used our drill with a teeny drill bit to pre-drill a hole in the spot:
However…ugh. Using the drill to do this was pretty awful. It took forever and was easily the longest, most tedious part of the job. If I had to do this over again, I’d invest in a leather hole punch. I’ve never used this one so I can’t speak to how well it works, but here’s one on Amazon that is well rated and reasonably priced.
Once you pre-drill your hole in your leather, do the same to the spot on the wall that you want to attach the bottom part of your strap (that’s right- I thought it was easier to start from the bottom). You’re going to start with “pretty” part of the leather facing the wall so that when the leather loops forward, the nice part of the leather faces outward. I promise, this will make more sense in a minute.
Drill the screw through the pre-drilled hole in your leather and into the wall.
Okay, I didn’t get a pic of this next step because I just couldn’t handle the camera and the shelf at the same time, but stay with me 🙂
I kind of winged this next part, but it totally worked! I had a helper for this part.
Hold the leather strap out from the wall, then set your shelf on it and pull the leather up and around the front of the shelf- you are basically dry fitting it in place. Once the shelf is level (I eye-balled this, since you can easily make adjustments to your shelf later), mark the spot on the leather where the strap meets the wall. You can see in the pic below that I wanted about a half an inch between where the screw secured the leather to the wall and where the leather ended. Mark where you need to cut the leather for the top of the strap. Then cut your leather to size, pre-drill a hole through the leather and screw the strap into the wall.
Here’s what it looked like:
Now, lots of Pinterest tutorials show it done with both straps attached at the top. That would be an easier way to do it. However, I knew I would have some heavier pieces on there and much longer shelves than what those tutorials show, and I was a little worried about stressing the leather with the weight of the entire shelf at one point like that. That may be an entirely baseless worry, but there you go.
Simply repeat for the other side to hang the other strap. Use your first strap as a template to determine how long your strap should be, and also mark where your holes in the leather will need to be drilled. See how I did this below:
Slide your shelf through once your other strap is screwed in.
Here’s what the top shelf looked like once it was installed. It’s got some patina for sure!
And here’s what they look like all styled up!
I had planned originally to cover the screws with one of the marble hex tiles. However, once I hung the shelf, it didn’t look right. I realized that I liked the rustic vibe of just the screws. Again, goes with the collected vibe of the room. But I do think that you could have a lot of fun using different elements with these shelves to give your space a different look. Imagine white shelves with light tan leather, black shelves with that same vintage tan- but add in the marble hex tile over the screw head. That would look divine.
So what do you guys think? Would you try this project?
Don’t forget to Pin 🙂