Basic Fence Post Shelfs




About: Hi my name is Alex and I love creating stuff. I dabble in a bit of html coding, writing, and programing and I'm alwase finding new things I love. Also I'm a 17 year old Jesus freak that has a crazy life (I m...

This instructable generally guides you through turning some old fence posts into a rustic shelf. This project doesn't require any special tools so no chop off saw needed (but it definitely would be helpful). The shelf I made is about 60 cm wide, 60 cm long and about 180 cm tall but since were not using standardized materials yours may be different so feel free to mess around with the dimensions to fit your needs. I made this shelf to try my hand at being a carpenter and to declutter the house. I had some help from my dad, I say we split the work load about 50/50 but I defiantly couldn't have done it without him so thanks dad! Anyway its a fun project for a beginner like me and I hope it helps you out too.

What you will need:


1. Lots of small fence posts. They should be at least 50 cm long and around 4 cm thick though the thickness doesn't really matter. If you need to know exact numbers calculate the area of one shelf multiply it by 3 and find out how many cut fence posts it will take to fill that area.

2. Four large fence posts. These need to be as tall as you want your shelves to be and I would say around 150 cm. If your posts are square or circular you should be fine but the quarter circle posts I used worked quite nicely as they sill have that smooth look but were easy to screw boards into.

3. Screws. 9cm long screws work great but depending on the thickness of your small posts you may need longer ones

4. Nails. 7 cm long nails are awesome but again depending on the thickness of your small fence posts you may need to vary your length.

5. (Optional). If you have the tools cuting a piece of tin to be a backing on your shelf looks awesome.


1. A hand saw

2. Screw gun. Or a drill capable of driving in screws.

3. Drill.

4. A square. This isn't nessisary but is VERY helpful for making sure you have right angles.

5. A ruler

6. A level, also not necessary but very helpful.

7. A pencil

Step 1: Make the Frame

The first thing you need to do to make your frame is decide on the dimensions of your shelf. Lets say you're like me and want a square shelf thats 60 cm by 60 cm. Now you need to cut some of your small fence posts into twelve 55 cm long beams that will serve as part of the frame that holds your shelves up. You also need to mark off, with a pen or pencil, what height you want your shelves to be at on your four big posts. It's important to note that were you make these marks will be the bottom of your shelf. So say you want the top of your shelf to be at 50 cm above the ground and you have 4 cm thick posts so you need to make the mark 46 cm above the ground. You will be making 3 shelves so you will need to make a total of 12 marks using your ruler, three on each post. I made my first four marks 28 cm off the ground. My next shelf was 55 cm higher then the first shelf and my last shelf I marked off 90 cm higher then the second shelf 4 cm below the very top of my big posts. Once you have decided at what height you want each of your shelves and made your marks you need to grab 2 of your big posts and put them parallel to each other with 48 cm of space between them. Now place 3 of your small frame boards you cut earlier just below the marks you made so each frame board is spanning the gap between the two big posts. It should look like the first picture above. This is a great time to use your square if you have one. If you don't you can get pretty level results by making sure both your big posts are flush against a flat level surface (like a wall) and double checking your marks are both exactly 28 cm from the bottom of the post. Once you've done this drill a hole through the post and screw it in. Do this for all three marks and do the same process over for the remaining two posts. After all this you should have a creation that looks like the first picture. For the next bit an extra pair of hands is helpful. Now stand the unfinished frame halves up vertically so they are parallel and 48 cm of space is between them. Then place the remaining 6 boards so they span the gap between the two halves making sure they're level. You can do this using a level or by making sure the halves are exactly 48 cm apart at every shelf. The end product should look like the second picture. Wow, that's a lot of writing! Thanks for hanging with me here. Great job! You've completed the frame!

Step 2: Finish It

Ok this step is really pretty simple, all you need to do now is fill in the gaps. Cut your posts about 56 cm and cut as many as you need to completely fill the space created by the frame. Place all your boards on top of your frame and make sure the uncut end of each post is facing the side you want to be the front (this just makes it look cooler). Now drill two holes threw each individual post one in the back one in the front. Your nails will go into these holes, and the holes act as a safety precaution against your wood splitting. After you've cut and drilled all your small posts nail them in. There you go your done! If you have the tools for it you can add some tin as a backing and it looks great. Anyway there you have it your own rustic wood shelf. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you like the shelf.

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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Such an awesome idea; especially for newbies like myself, Will let you know how it goes!

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    comment if you make it and I hope you like it!