DIY Rustic Metal Shelf Brackets

I have been searching everywhere – online and locally – for the perfect rustic shelf brackets for my reclaimed wood shelves that I made last week. What I found were some very expensive options for a specific look that I wanted and a lot of options for looks I didn’t want.

DIY Rustic Stained Reclaimed Wood Shelves

What I envisioned for my office that I’m slowly redecorating is something metal, preferably rustic and low profile. I found a ton of flouncy, decorative brackets that felt far fancier than the look I was hoping for. When I was able to find brackets that fit my vision, they were often $10 or more for each bracket. 

You guys, I had at least 9 shelves that I wanted to hang that, between all of them, would use at least 21 brackets. Even at the average $10 a piece, that would have been $210!

I decided to take a break from figuring out what to do with my gorgeous new wanna-be shelves and started another project completely. Truth be told, my husband hates when I have more than one project going at a time, but when you gotta think, sometimes you need to step away. It’s usually when I find inspiration – and it worked!

While I was building a coffee table, I decided that it needed hardware to give it a more rustic look. I started spray painting corner brackets for the corners of the table and that’s when it hit me!

DIY Rustic Metal Shelf Brackets

How amazing are these shelf brackets with my stained reclaimed wood shelves?! The corner braces are metal and very strong – strong enough to be shelf brackets, for sure. And, for only $2.87 for a pack of two, they were also a HUGE money saver!

DIY Rustic Metal Shelf Brackets

I found these Everbilt Zinc Plated Corner Braces at our local Home Depot. I used the 4″ braces for shelves that were 6″ wide. For our painted accent board that we’re using as a desk, which is about 12″ wide, we used 10″ braces. The only problem was that they were zinc coated, so they were very silver in color and would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb on our walls. 

Zinc Coated Silver Corner Brackets from the Home Depot served as new rustic shelf brackets

Of course, I had a solution for that! I spray painted them with Rust-Oleum brand Metallic Paint & Primer spray paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze

I liked this option better than a matte black because it gave the braces more depth and looked less like they were just spray painted and more like a rubbed bronze.

Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint and Primer helped to transform ugly corner braces into rustic shelf brackets

When I spray paint small items, I put them in an old cardboard box – it keeps the paint overspray to a minimum and I waste a lot less. Plus, it’s cleaner than laying them on the grass or in the dirt. I only had to spray the inside of the braces because the outsides would face the wall and wouldn’t be seen. I applied two coats.

I also painted the tops of the screws that I was using to match the braces. Since the braces didn’t come with hardware, I used 2 ½ SPAX screws to secure them to the wall into a stud. I also used Everbilt #8 x ¾ screws to secure the shelf to the braces. Make sure to use flat head screws so that they’re flush with the braces.

Using a cardboard box to spray paint items wastes less paint

Once my corner braces and hardware was painted, this is when math became really valuable. Kids, you WILL use fractions and simple math in your life!

As far as where your brackets are placed on a wall, the placement of your studs will determine most of this, at least horizontally. Wall studs are supposed to be 16″ apart. Each of shelves are 2′ long, so that meant, luckily, I could allow for two brackets for each shelf secured to the studs 16″ apart. 

To hang your shelves, make sure that your brackets are centered on a stud and drill into the stud.

Once I figured out where my studs were, I had to make sure that my brackets lined up horizontally and were drilled in vertically centered. I used my level for both.

Once I had two rows of three shelves on the wall, I stopped to admire my work. I did – for like, a good 20 minutes! I was proud!

Now, I have a place for all my geeky stuff and my comic books, and it’s all centrally located in my new office.

Once my rustic shelves were hung, I admired my work by staring at it for a good half hour

The new DIY rustic shelf brackets were perfect!

I did add a 6′ long painted shelf below these. Remember that math I mentioned?

So, to center that shelf, I measured the length of all three wood shelves, including the spaces between them. I then subtracted that and divided by two to find the space on either side.

Yup, math. But it worked. And I love it! Here’s a cost breakdown… remember that buying the brackets online would have been $210!

  • I used 32 wood screws and 32 small screws – a cost of $3.47 for all (I figured the cost per screw because I’ll use the leftovers for other projects)
  • The spray paint was $6.48for the can, of which I only used half, so I can use that for other projects, too.
  • The 10″ braces were $6.21 each and I purchased 3 of them for a total of $18.63.
  • The 4″ braces were $2.87 for a pack of two and I purchased 9 for a total of $25.83

My total cost for 21 brackets was $54.41! My DIY rustic metal shelf brackets saved me over $155! That’s a 74% savings!

How’s that for math?

What do you think of my DIY rustic metal shelf brackets and my reclaimed wood shelves together?

Stay tuned for the final look, including our wall-mounted desk!



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