diy project: rachel’s rustic log shelves

sometimes all we need to make a room seem completely new is a quick change: moving pillows from one room to the next, switching up wall art, or perhaps adding a small display to a bare wall. this easy log shelf project seems like the perfect addition to a room if you’re looking for a refreshing change. rachel found these great cut logs on a vacation to tahoe, and was smart enough to snatch them up and bring them home to create these display shelves. it just goes to show that even on vacation, it’s wise to keep an eye out for elements in nature that we can bring into our home. great job, rachel! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


– log (any length, about 6″ circumference)

– table saw or hand saw (if you feel uncomfortable with saws, you can also take this to a local lumberyard and ask them to cut it for you. rachel was able to get all of these pieces cut for her for $20.)

– “L” shaped brackets (these are simple white  5″ versions, and are available at most hardware stores. you can also find decorative brackets at home decor stores like restoration hardware or anthropologie)


1. Cut off the outer edges on opposite sides of the log, so that you have two flat edges and two rounded edges to the log.

2. Slice the log into 1 – 2″ thick slabs,  which will leaving two edges with the bark.

3. Choose the side you want to face out and be displayed, and leave the bark on this face. Slice off the opposite face so the back of the shelf (the edge that attaches to the wall) is clean and flat. Now you have a flat back edge and a flat top and bottom, but  sides and front edge are rough.

4. Mark a level line on your wall and install brackets. Then screw brackets into the bottom of the shelf.


  1. Katie Lou says:

    What’s the plant on that shelf?! The shelves are amazing!

  2. Katie Lou says:

    The trailing plant… that is… I want one!

  3. Anabel says:

    I love anything involving rough logs/tree parts… I second Katie Lou: What is that plant with round –if not spherical– leaves!?

  4. Love! These make the walls in your home feel like an extension of the forest!

  5. Whitney says:

    So cute… but for safety sake, a band saw may be a better, if you are going to use a power tool.

  6. pam says:

    me too on the plant! i need that plant!

  7. Sue says:

    The trailing plant on the shelf is called String of Pearls. It’s a succulent. I love mine. I also love these shelves! I have the perfect place for them to go. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing the idea!

  8. Kat says:

    Kate, I love how you’ve been including natural wood products alot! Awesome. What a cool project.

  9. jeff says:

    love this. i made invisible books shelves and this just adds to the flair, but doesn’t destroy a book.

  10. donnie says:

    The succulent plant is called ‘String of Pearls’. I have one and I love it!! :)

    Here is a link with a little info:

  11. emily rose says:

    oooh, these are great!

  12. Jayme says:

    Just called the hubs to bring home a log or two! Seriously awesome idea. I need some smaller shelves, so this will be perfect.

    Love the plant too! :)

  13. Very West Elm, except way cooler because they’re homemade. Thanks for the cute idea!

  14. Laura says:

    I had my husband make me two shelves tonight out of a birch log my neighbor threw out months ago! ( I am afraid of the power saw.) thanks for the how-to!

  15. Bonnie! says:

    These shelves are great! And I call it “String of Peas.”

  16. max says:

    These shelves are fantastic and so easy to make at home. I believe that many shops sell that kind of stuff for a huge amounts of money. So simple and lovely.

  17. Lauren says:

    I think I may be addicted to natural wooden products – these shelves included! I just love how much more character they have than your average shelf :)

  18. I have been hoarding natural logs waiting for some inspiration on what to do with them, and here it is!! Thanks Rachel.

    This idea is just lovely – think I’ll ask hubby to do the sawing though as it sounds a bit health and safety to me :o) Elle x

  19. Miguel says:

    These look great, but can I put in a word for safety? Please, do NOT try to cut a log on a table saw. It’s not the right tool for the job and could remove a finger or two.

    This would best be handled by a competent sawyer or a lumber yard (as you did), or by hand (not with a saw, but with a froe). The appropriate power tool would be a bandsaw – not a tool in everyones basement or garage but certainly a much safer option than a tablesaw. Thanks!

  20. Shelley says:

    Excellent idea & I love the rustic look! Thank you for posting this tutorial.

  21. a.b. says:

    I agree with Miguel-you just can’t cut a wobbly log on a table saw! Way dangerous. Stick to a band saw or get your favorite lumber yard to cut it for you! Sorry to get all “saftey first” :)

  22. Allison says:

    I have been trying to figure out what the name of that plant was for years! I bought A String of Pearls 10yrs ago it eventually died and I have been wanting another one since! Thanks for this post I love these shelves!

  23. Feistberger says:

    Great look – I need to make these for my house. I bet they would look great with a bit of moss milkshake to green them up and bring more nature inside…

  24. Betty says:

    I like it!!

  25. Annie says:

    I love this but did you need to finish it with something so the wood didn’t rot?

  26. Cherrey says:

    really simple but adds a lot of character to the wall especially if the room would go for a nature theme.. great idea for nature resorts

  27. Vishnu says:

    i’d just like to repeat Annie’s question, sorry if it’s a noob question but what can i say, i’m a noob.
    do you need to treat the wood so it doesn’t rot?
    I’d love to have a go at these.

  28. John Stephen says:

    Loving it, interesting post. These make the walls in your home feel like the forest! When you are thinking of wall decoration there are many options available like nature paintings, photo frames, glass wall shelves and rustic wall shelves etc. but I think the choice of rustic wall shelves is awesome because it gives an eye-catching look as well as fresh feeling to you.


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