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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Upcycled shelves...but make it arty!

Updated: Jun 10

Looking for upcycled shelf inspiration? Here's how to build upcycled shelves & create upcycled shelf art too.

Addicted to upcycling

Upcycling is addictive, there's no two ways about it. Once you get into repurposing & revamping, opportunities start popping up all over the place and the great thing is you are usually saving money & helping the environment too. Preloved furniture and upcycled accessories can add character to your home interiors... who doesn't love a mix of old and new combined in their room schemes.

If you are just starting out, or don't fancy tackling a big upcycling project, you can get your upcycling fix with one of the following, simple ideas.

Upcycled shelf art

I'm currently undergoing a kitchen revamp, more details can be found in this blog post... a key part of the redesign was to remove the upper kitchen cabinets on one wall, which I did excitedly back at the start of the year. I then got distracted by a million other projects and haven't made a lot of progress since (whoops!). I did however, have a great idea about what to do with the shelves that were in the cupboards that I removed, and that was to turn them into geometric art work to put in my wall of built in shelves (IKEA hack) which recently underwent a style overhaul which you can read about here BILLY hack shelf restyle.

This was a super quick and simple upcycle project which went down really well with my Instagram followers and I'm really pleased with the results.

The pictures below show the process, which involved using masking tape to outline the shapes I wanted and then painting and allowing to dry before giving a second coat and voila! As it was such a simple one to do I'm not going to write a step by step tutorial, but feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or ask me directly via the chat box.

DIY Note: The paint I used was a multi-surface paint so I didn't prime the shelves first even though they had a laminate finish. If I had used standard emulsion then I would have used the same principle I apply to painting IKEA furniture (more details about that can be found here) and would have used a primer first (I like the Zinsser range).

Of course you don’t need shelves for this upcycle and could use any leftover or spare wood you had, in fact you could also upcycle old painted canvases or large tiles by following the same steps.

How to style upcycled shelf art

The pictures below show how I styled the finished squares in my built in shelves along with some charity show finds and other upcycled ornaments...

You could paint other shapes or patterns if these simple geometric designs don’t fit with your decor and incorporate a wider colour palette using any leftover paint you might have lying around. If you do happen to have leftover paint then you need to read this post where I share some top tips on storing.

How to upcycle a piece of skirting board into a shelf

This simple DIY project was part of the bedroom revamp I did last year. I'm a big fan of doing my DIY home decor on a budget and strongly believe that you don't need to spend a lot of money to create stylish and unique interiors which make your heart sing. One good example is my £24 hand-painted a mountain-themed, ombre mural on three walls of my bedroom using tester pots of paint

On the fourth wall I had a full length, ornate mirror which I have had for years, (it's moved house with us three times) and I wanted to make better use of the space above the mirror. I couldn't put shelves on any of the other walls without detracting from the mural, so I knew this was the spot!

I had some skirting board left over from a previous project which I thought would make a perfect shelf because it was a great depth (not too big as to look silly but not too narrow that you can't actually put anything on it) and I liked the Ogee detailing on it, which would be visible underneath as the shelf was going to be quite high up. As the rest of the room was filled with romantic dusky pinks and soft greys I wanted to add some more texture and thought the combination of the wood and the industrial style pipe brackets that I had found would be a good contrast.

To make the upcycled skirting board shelf here's what I used...


Spirit level





Skirting board

Pipe shelf brackets


Hardwearing matt emulsion

Screws and drywall anchors

You can see some pictures of the process below.


  • I primed the skirting board and allowed to dry before painting it with my chosen colour of hardwearing matt emulsion.

  • I measured and marked exactly where on the wall I wanted the shelf

  • I positioned the pipe brackets and marked where the crew holes would need to go

  • I drilled holes according to the marks I had made and inserted drywall anchors (the correct wall fixings will depend on your wall type)

  • I attached the pipe brackets to the wall with screws which went into the drywall anchors. I checked the brackets were level with the spirit level before tightening up the screws.

  • I placed the shelf onto the brackets and marked the underside where the bracket screw holes would need to go into the shelf.

  • I drilled shallow holes into the shelf in the positions I had marked.

  • I placed the shelf back on the brackets and inserted the small screws (not longer than the thickness of the shelf or they will go all the way through) through the pipe bracket and into the shallow holes, I then screwed them further into the shelf using my drill with screwdriver bit on the end until the screws were tight into the wood and the shelf was being held securely in place.

  • I checked again that the shelf was level.

  • I painted the brackets in the same colour as the self and wall.

What do you think? Do you think you'll have a go at either of the above upcycled shelves?

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe by scrolling down to the box at the bottom of the page.

Don't forget to check out some of my other blog posts which are linked below

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1 Comment

shivani singh
shivani singh
Jun 29

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