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Industrial Style bookshelf - Life on Kaydeross Creek

Industrial Bookshelf – Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge

You may have noticed I have been off the grid for awhile.  I think I just needed a breather, you know. Some time to gain a bit of perspective and re-charge my creativity. So the good news is I have some really cool projects to share with you starting with today’s reveal of a $5 garage sale find I turned into an Industrial  Bookshelf (and you can too!)  I’ve paired up with 19 other talented ladies to bring you a monthly Thrift Store Decor Upcycle Challenge. Each month we will create a new home decor piece from an item(s) we’ve found at a thrift store, yard sale, resale shop etc. There is no budget or specific theme so we are free to let our creativity run wild!

Meet the Hosts

Thrift Store DecorUpcycle Challenge

Amanda | The Kolb Corner      Chelc| Inside the Fox Den

Erlene | My Pinterventures     Kim | Made in a Day     Sara | Twelve on Main

Debra | Shoppe No. 5      Shirley | Intelligent Domestications

Marie | DIY Adulation     Lindsay | Crazy Organized   Michelle | Our Crafty Mom

Julie | Live From Julie’s House     Dru | Polka Dot Poplars

Maureen | Red Cottage Chronicles     Pili | Sweet Things     Channell | Hobnail House

Colleen | Life on Kaydeross Creek     Ann | Duct Tape and Denim

Paula | Virginia Sweet Pea     Sherry | Savvy Apron     Stacy | Anastasia Vintage

You can also follow our board on Pinterest for more upcycled decor inspiration!

*this post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please see my full disclosure here.

Every June my little town has a community wide garage sale. It happened to be last weekend and we had no plans. That, like never happens. I took the kids and we made a thing out of it. You know your kids have been bitten with the DIY bug when your 7 year old son says to you “Mom, come look at this board. I think I can make a table out of it.” Or when my daughter said “Mom, I think that metal basket would make a good light fixture. ” No joke. Yeah, their mine  and I could not be more proud 🙂

Anyhoo, on our adventure we found some really cool stuff. In particular this $5 metal shelf. It was dusty and rusty but was callin’ my name. I recently upcycled a metal cart into an end table and knew this would be a great match.


Garage sale Metal Shelf before - see how to turn it into a Pottery Barn Industrial Bookshelf knockoff at Life on Kaydeross Creek


So sad, right?  If you look passed all the rust and grime and cobwebs, you’ll see some great bones.  Once it was all cleaned up, scrubbed down and rinsed off, here’s what you have…


Garage Sale find metal shelf turned into Pottery Barn knockoff Industrial Bookshelf. Find out how to at Life on Kaydeross Creek


Not sure you can tell but it’s actually upside down here. The reason we did this is so that we can set the boards to make the shelves right inside the current shelves.  From here we gave it a couple of coats of flat black spray paint.  I didn’t paint inside where the shelves are going to go because you won’t see it anyway…


A Garage Sale find Metal Shelf turned Pottery Barn Industrial Bookshelf knockoff. Find out how at Life on Kaydeross Creek


For the shelves we used the same rough saw pine that we used for the metal cart end table. We are fortunate to have a saw mill just a few miles away. We got a 12 x 12 board and cut it down and it only cost us $8.00. If you don’t have a mill near you, you can get pine boards from a local home improvement store but keep in mind that they would probably sit down just a bit from the lip of the shelf as the cut boards we get are a true 1″.  You could always add a 1/4 inch plywood on first to bring the boards up to the height of the metal shelf.

I like the roughness of the wood which I think adds character but we (hubby) sanded them down just a bit with the palm sander


Industrial bookshelf Pottery Barn knockoff created using a garage sale find. See it at Life on Kaydeross Creek


We also used the same stain, as before – Rust-Oleum Watco Dark Walnut Danish Oil finish. The color is so rich and pretty.  You can find it here.


Industrial Bookshelf Pottery Barn knockoff using rough sawn pine and a garage sale find. See more at Life on Kaydeross Creek


Here it is all put together…


Pottery Barn inspired Industrial bookshelf made from a garage sale find. Life on Kaydeross Creek



Pottery Barn inspired Industrial Bookshelf made from a garage sale find. See how at Life on Kaydeross Creek


Shop My Home


How to style a Pottery Barn inspired Industrial Bookshelf made from a garage sale find. See how at Life on Kaydeross Creek


Pottery Barn inspired Industrial Bookshelf made from a garage sale find. See how at Life on Kaydeross Creek

Since we already had the stain, the whole thing cost us $17 ($5 for the shelf, $8 for the wood and $4 for the spray paint). If you’re thinking about making one but don’t have an old one laying around, you can pick up one of these shelving units for about $26 here.

But if you’d like to give it a try…PIN IT…


How to make a Pottery Barn knockoff Industrial Bookshelf from a garage sale find. Budget friendly project from Life on Kaydeross Creek


I love the way it turned out!  Of course, now it’s making me want to completely re-do our entire family room. Not happenin’ any time soon.

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Upcycle projects are my favorite.  Be sure to check out all of the other creative upcycle projects my fellow bloggers have come up with!  You can also see some of my other projects and DIY ideas here.


    • Colleen says:

      Thanks Amanda! My daughter and I saw a woman at the garage sale with 3 other shelves like it and asked where she got them. She told us where and that there was only 1 left so we ran to get it. I think people thought we were crazy. It’s the thrill of the hunt, right? 🙂

  1. Maureen says:

    Wow!! I am impressed. I love the look of industrial shelving. I have to admit I would not have given this one a second glance in it’s original state! Will be showing this to the Mr.!

  2. Pili says:

    Hi Colleen, your shelf looks amazing now!! The funny thing is that we just moved and we had on the basement a very similar shelf which I was tempted to sell as it didn’t fit in the new house, but thankfully I didn’t because I’ve fallen in love with yours! Pinning to remember!

  3. Wow! I never would have thought to give a shelf like yours an industrial makeover but it works. I know that you are as pleased as can be with the end result of this project. It looks great!

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks, Paula! I’m really happy with the way it turned out but now it’s making me want to re-do the entire room! One project at a time, though 🙂

  4. Meredith says:

    I love this, Colleen! And you’re right- I would totally have passed it by as too far gone. Have you ever done a post on spray painting tips? I’ve used it a bunch of times with varying success but I know you’re into it, and your projects always look great!

    • Colleen says:

      Hi Meredith! Thank you! I have not done a post on that but it’s a great idea. I’ll see if I can put something together. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks 🙂

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks, Michelle! It’s amazing what spray paint can do, right? It’s so fun to take the kids and see what they come up with 🙂

  5. Carrie says:

    Love the look using these metal shelves. Wanted to know what you put on the wood besides the stain…looks like there is a hint of white or something??? Would you let me know what else was used on the wood. Thanks!

    • Colleen says:

      Thank you, Carrie! We used a Danish Oil finish by a brand called Watco. The color is dark walnut and we only put on one coat. It came out light because we started with rough pine lightly sanded so tiny bits of the wood show through. I’ve used that product on a couple of projects and love it! A little goes a long way.

    • Colleen says:

      Hi Stephen! I actually didn’t get rid of it all. We scrubbed the shelves with dish detergent and a scrub brush and then gave them a really good coat of spray paint. We flipped them upside down to house the wood shelves so the rusty part is on the bottom. It’s almost gone, you can just see the texture of it a little through the paint. 🙂

  6. Kim Wallace says:


    I LOVE this idea and recently purchased a shelf to complete the same DIY project. Our metal shelf has screws that go through so the wood will not fully go down into the area when flipped over- it looks like your shelves may have been similar- how did you handle this? I am thinking we will just get wood screws and screw them into the wood after we lay the wood down into the shelf. Is this what you did? Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing an easier idea!


    • Colleen says:

      Hi Kim! Thank you! My husband cut a small area out the bottom of the piece of wood in each corner to allow room for the screw so that the shelf would sit flush to the metal. We didn’t actually screw the wood planks down, they just sit tightly in the space.

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