Introduction: Wall Mounted Wine Shelf

In this wine shelf I wanted to utilize metal conduit straps, thinking it would give a unique and interesting look. I wound up finishing the straps with a brass colored paint, and stained the wood... resulting in a different look that my wife and I both agree looks quite beautiful.

The directions will result in a six bottle wine rack. You'll need to make a few adjustments to the quantities and lengths if you'd like to expand the number of bottles.


  • (6) 3 inch Rigid 2-Hole Conduit Strap (Rigid is just the brand name of the ones I used)
  • (6) 1 1/2 inch Rigid 2-Hole Conduit Straps (Rigid is just the brand name of the ones I used)
  • 1x8 poplar (or other wood of your choice), will need to be at least 26 1/2" long
  • 1x1 1/2" scrap wood. I used pieces of pine from another project. You'll need to trim the width, but a 1x1 won't be sufficient. You'll need approximately 27" total, but won't need that as one continuous board.
  • (12) #12 x 1/2" pan head screws (may need to adjust diameter size, based on size of 3" clamp screw hole size)
  • (12) #12 x 3/4" pan head screws (may need to adjust diameter size, based on size of 1 1/2" clamp screw hole size)
  • Gorilla wood glue, or other appropriate wood glue
  • Minwax hickory gel stain, or appropriate stain suitable for the wood you chose, and what ever shade you desire
  • Minwax fast-drying satin polyurethane, or the recommended sealer for the stain you chose.
  • Brass colored spray paint, of what ever color you desire
  • Matte clear coat spray
  • Primer spray
  • Scrap cardboard
  • (2) Dry wall toggle bolts


  • Drill
  • 1/8" drill bit
  • 5/16" drill bit
  • Drill bit depth stop, or some type of tape
  • Router, I used a Dremel rotary tool with a plunge router attachment
  • Keyhole router bit
  • Screw driver
  • Clamps
  • Radial arm saw or other saw for making straight cuts
  • 220 grit sand paper
  • Butter nut squash, or something else to use as a weight. Or just reuse a clamp :)
  • Caliper (optional) - used to double check some screw widths
  • Ruler
  • Speed square (optional)
  • Level

Note: I considered using 1-hole conduit straps as I thought it would provide a cleaner look, but I was concerned that they may twist out of alignment during use.

Step 1: Cut the 1x8 to Length

Mark a cut line on the 1x8 to yield as length of 26 1/2". I used a radial arm saw with a shorter cut depth (shorter than the width of the board). Just flip the board over after the first (partial cut), and carefully line it up to finish the cut.

If you have as sliding radial arm saw... I'm a bit jealous. I think I tried to this first on my table saw, but didn't get a straight enough cut (probably user error).

Step 2: Cut the Risers, by Trimming the Scrap Wood

I opted for a ladder like design for the risers. For the 1 1/2" hole straps I purchased, I decided to cut six ladder steps to 4 3/8" long x 7/8" wide from a 1" thick scrap wood (I had scraps of pine that was already 6/8" wide... a little off, but close enough?). This method raises the smaller/shorter conduit straps up with out blocking the bottles (which the other method would have, see note below). I utilized the radial arm saw for this step.

Note: I originally planned to glue a single strip of wood (a 1x3 trimmed down to 1 3/4" width) along the side to act as a riser. But during mock-up it blocked the necks of the bottles from fully sitting in the 1 1/2" conduit straps. Also note, a 1x1 board is not wide enough to cut to 7/8", as the 1x1 is actually only 3/4" wide.

Step 3: Make the Key Hole Slots for Hanging

I planned on mounting mine to the wall using a key hole slot, so I'll need to route it with a key hole router bit and a plunge router (I used a Dremel with the plunge router accessory). Note: Considering I pre-drilled an entry hole, I could have used the less expensive Dremel Cut Out accessory instead of the plunge router.

You could use other methods to mount the shelf, but I chose to give this a try (my first attempt at keyholes by the way).

Practice using the keyhole bit on some scrap wood.

  • Clamp the wood down.
  • Pre-dill a 5/16" pilot hole for the keyhole bit to drop into (evidently the Dremel version of the keyhole bit doesn't have self-tapping capability). Once I decided on my desired depth, I used tape to mark off a depth guide on the drill bit. You can see below, I settled on a 3/8" depth. Note: You may need to adjust this depending on the thickness of the wood you had selected. The 1x8 will actually be 3/4" thick. If yours isn't, adjust as needed..
  • Set speed to recommended 35,000RPM for both hard and soft woods.
  • Practice to determine the correct depth setting. I tightened the plunge router to the desired depth, to prevent it from accidentally making another 5/16" hole along the vertical slot. I settled on a 3/8" depth.
  • My plunge router came with metal rods that are supposed to be a straight guide, but I've seen comments online that suggest they don't help too much. Instead, I found it helpful to clamp scrap wood on either side of the router to keep the keyhole slot as straight as possible. I should've also clamped a third piece to prevent me from making the slot too long, as I went pass my pencil mark on one of the final keyholes.
    • "Keep a light touch, letting the speed of the tool do the work. This helps your accessory bits last longer. Then by using a guide to create your straight and pre-determined length mortise (slot) allow the Dremel to feed itself through the material. The slot you'll end up with will roughly be around 3/16" - 1/4". This is important to know since the screws you'll be using to hang your project on can't have heads larger than 5/16" nor shafts larger than 1/4"." (from an online review of the bit)

When you're comfortable and ready, making two slots on the previously cut 1x8 will be sufficient. Mark the center width of the 1x8 board, 3 5/8" from the edges. Mark a point towards the top, and an additional point toward the bottom . And than create a line 1" higher from each of those points. The bottom mark will be your 5/16" hole where the screw enters, and the 1" line will be your slot that keeps the shelf on the wall. Repeat the steps from your practice, to create the pre-drilled holes (to the previously determined depth), and the resulting slot. You'll need to record and reproduce the distance between the 5/16" holes in order to later install the mounting hardware on the wall.

Step 4: Lay Out the Pieces to Mark Their Locations

Layout the the pieces in a staggered formation as show in the pictures.

I found it helpful to attach the 3" conduit straps before laying out the remaining pieces. Use a straight edge to ensure they are all lined up consistently. You want them at a slight angle. Mark the holes for the 3" conduit straps' screws. Pre-drill with the 1/8" bit, but not all the way through. Use a drill bit depth stop if you have one, or improvise by using tape to mark off a depth less than the wood thickness (about a 1/2"). Slowly drill into the wood, being sure the taped off portion of the drill bit does not enter the wood. Note: Pre-drill pilot holes before attaching any of the screws.

Attach the 3" conduit straps with the 1/2" long screws. Note: you don't need to attach the 1 1/2" conduit straps during this step, just lay them out for spacing.

Align the small wooden risers. This part will take some trial and error. You want the angles and positions of each pair of 3" and 1 1/2" straps to result in them being centered to one another. In my layout, the 3" and 1 1/2" conduit straps are 4 2/8" apart. The risers don't extend further than 1 6/8" from the right edge. I made a line at 1 6/8" from the right edge for reference during positioning. Make a cross mark along that previous line 2 1/4" from the bottom edge. That will be the corner of the bottom most riser. Make additional cross marks every 4" for the corner of the remaining five risers (3 3/4" is the actual diameter of the 3" conduit straps, and it works out to 4" between the center of each installed strap). Mark the center of the 3" conduit straps. Use a straight edge to verify the cross marks align with the center of all the 3" conduit straps, and make a small line from the cross marks toward the strap and back toward the edge of the 1x8 (this will help you align the riser). Next, mark a center line on both sides (not the tops) of all the risers. Assuming you cut the risers to a length of 4 3/8" long, the center would be at 2 3/16". Align the risers so that the top right corners are along the right edge of the 1x8, and the center marks on both sides of the risers align with the marks made from the edge of the 1x8 toward the 3" conduit straps, and also keep the bottom left corner from crossing the reference line drawn 1 6/8" from the edge. Stagger them as you go..

Step 5: Attach the Risers

With the risers locations properly marked it is time to attach them.

Weigh down the wood board with a butter nut squash to keep the weight of the clamps from tipping it off of the table, or find an extra clamp to attach the 1x8 board to the table :)

I found it easier to only attach two risers at a time (and I had a limited number of clamps). Glue one side of the risers and clamp them in place until they dry; which is 20 minutes for Gorilla Wood Glue. After each set of risers are clamped, wipe up any excess glue before it dries. (I evidently didn't do as good a job as I thought... and it slightly affected the finish in a later step)

Step 6: Attach Remaining Hardware

Realign the 1 1/2" conduit strap on the top of the risers. Mark center holes for each of the straps. You'll want to adjust your drill bit depth guide to approx 3/4" (you'll want to drill through the risers, and partially into the 1x8). Pre-drill 1/8" pilot holes. Attach the 1 1/2" straps with the 3/4" long screws (my hope is a little more length will add security if for some reason the riser works loose).

Note: I did this before the finish (staining and painting), to make sure everything was lined up correctly; and didn't need any adjustments. Wife wasn't overly impressed at this step, as it looked kind of plain. It was nice to see the progress with bottles fitting and being held properly.

Step 7: Apply the Finish to the Wood

Remove all the installed hardware: screws, 3" conduit straps, and 1 1/2" conduit straps.

Stain the wood (or paint if desired)

I went with a hickory gel stain. Gel is recommended for the wood I chose, poplar. I chose hickory cause it looked nice, and is similar to our dining room buffet.

Follow the directions applicable to the stain. I did not use a pre-stain conditioner on the poplar, but probably should have on the scraps of pine that made the risers.

Sand lightly, wipe clean, and evidently remove any dried glue you may have missed while attaching the risers (the glue will affect the stain penetration) and apply gel based stain (following the grain). Wait 3 minutes, and wipe the stain off. I applied two coats (as recommended) to the front surface, the edges, and all sides of the ladder steps. Let dry 3-4 hours in between coats with a light sanding (220 grit) after the first coat. Let it dry for 24 hours after the final coat of stain.

Once dry (per the directions on the can), apply a clear finish. Minwax fast-drying polyurethane was recommended for the gel stain I used. I chose satin (rather than semi-gloss or glossy). Per the directions, apply a light coat to all the previously stained surfaces. After 3 or 4 hours apply, lightly sand. Apply a second coat of the clear finish. Let it dry for another 24 hours.

Note: I had thought of using another users rice paper method to apply a wine related pencil sketching first, or possibly even wood burning a pattern. I opted not to as the wine bottles would've wound up blocking it.
It might be a nice touch along the other edges, if you go with a longer and wider board.

Step 8: Paint the Metal

I almost opted for some left over black lacquer spray paint, for a nice smooth finish. Instead I went with an antique brass finish, which looks excellent when paired with the hickory stain.

Paint the metal conduit straps

Remove any labels from the conduit straps. I was able to scrape them off with my fingernail. Spray a primer on the metal conduit straps. Make sure to get all of the outside, and the part of the inside that could be visible. I skipped the primer, and regretted doing so, as I needed to reapply the paint in some spots. I also wish I found a more clever way to apply the paint, like in the screw head step below. Once the primer is dry, lightly sand it per the directions on the can. Spray a coat of your chosen color over the primer. Once dry, lightly sand if necessary. Apply additional coats as needed. Again following the directions on the can. Once fully dry, spray a coat or two of clear coat over the painted surfaces. I opted for a clear matte, rather than glossy.

Paint the screw heads

The screw heads will be visible, and could detract from the color of the metal conduit straps. You DO NOT want to paint the screw threads. I popped the screws through some scrap cardboard, so only the heads were visible. Apply one or two coats of the same color spray paint that you used for the conduit straps (I noticed no drawbacks to skipping the primer on the screws). Once fully dry, spray a coat or two of clear coat over the painted screw heads.

Step 9: Re-install the Hardware

Line the conduits back up, and reattach with the correct length screws. If you have a coated screw driver tip, you should use that to prevent damaging the painted screw heads. As the selected screws likely aren't perfectly fitted to the diameter of the conduit screw holes, you'll want to be careful attaching them to prevent them from shifting/slipping as you tighten them. This will help prevent damage to the painted surface surrounding the screws. I found it helpful to put all the screws in part way until the alignment was correct on all the conduit straps. When doing the final tightening some of the paint cracked around one of the screws. I may touch it up with a small brush at a later date. (Maybe I should have used painted washers as well?). In the case of the 3" conduit straps the screws will be blocked by the wine bottles anyhow.

  • 1/2" screws for the 3" conduit straps
  • 3/4" screws for the 1 1/2" conduit straps.

Step 10: Hang the Wine Shelf

Find an appropriate location on the wall to hang the shelf. You'll want to make sure you have enough clearance to remove the bottles from the shelf. If possible install the screws directly into a stud. If a stud isn't close to the desired area you'll need drywall anchors. I'm not a big fan of plastic drywall mollies. I opted for drywall toggle bolts. If you did keyhole slots (like I did), make sure to get ones with the appropriately sized screw head diameter and a compatible thread diameter. The ones I bought have a 5/16" head, and a 1/8" thread diameter. You'll need to measure the distance between the top and left holes on the wine shelf's keyhole (that's at the bottom of the keyhole slot). When you drill the spots on the wall they will need to be that same distance apart (straight up and down). If the distance is wrong you won't be able to get both keyhole slots onto both screws. Check the anchors instructions for the correct sized drill bit.

Note: If your wall surface isn't drywall, you'll need to find the proper instructions for the wall surface you have.

I wasn't expecting a stud at the location we picked out. But sure enough there was one very close to my target area. I don't trust the stud finder I own, so I double check by swiping a magnet back and forth over the alleged stud until it sticks to a nail head. Looks I'll be skipping the toggle bolts and drilling a proper sized screw directly into the stud. Either way, I'll drill a smaller diameter pilot hole first, than I'll know for sure if it's a stud or a hollow wall. After the pilot hole is drilled, I stick a paper clip in to make sure I hit the stud.

After inserting the first screw, make a second hole to match the distance between the bottom of the two keyholes. Mine was 19 1/2". A level is very useful to make sure the your mounting holes match vertically.

Wife loves the final result.

After I finished staining the shelf, I thought of a another worthwhile step: I should have routed a decorative edge along the border. Next time... cause from how well this turned out I'll probably be making another.

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