Making shelves sounds like a difficult job but with the right equipment and the right helpers you can make some magazine worthy shelves too!
We started by buying some used scaffolding boards from a great shop in Leicester called Just Wood Leicestershire, which is a non-profit social enterprise who support “volunteers to gain training in the industry or related industries, or to support education projects focussing on recycling and reusing”. They help unemployed people get trained in skills which they can take with them into the workplace. And what’s more it’s all run by 3 lovely ladies!
We bought our scaffold boards as they were with the original features intact (Just Wood will do all the sanding for you for a little extra £ if you like) and took them home to be hand sanded down. Paint with clear matt gloss (try something like this – I doubt there is a non-toxic varnish out there but let me know if you have seen/used one!) and, when dry, rub with beeswax or candelilla wax (vegan alternative) to seal and bring out the natural colour of the wood.
We then simply put some cheap shelf brackets up (which we spray painted black) and secured the boards on top.
The great thing about scaffolding boards are they are designed to hold a lot of weight so they are really hardy. They will withstand anything you can throw at them and will look fab in the living room, garden shed or office!
The whole project cost us less than £40 for all the materials (including the varnish and beeswax which we used for many more projects!). You may not think this is cheap when compared to £5 bargain shelves but these have been up in our living room for nearly 2 years now and still look great, whereas chipboard, tacky painted cheap-as-chips shelves won’t have saved some wood from landfill, helped get someone into employment and given you that satisfaction of building something yourself!
We are a bit obsessed with upcycled wood projects so I’m sure there will be plenty more up on the blog soon. Let me know if you have any great DIY projects, I’d love to see what you have done with scaffold boards too!