Claire here! And today I’m bringing you a DIY project that’s so simple, I’m wondering why I didn’t attempt it sooner. I don’t know if you have ever seen this beautiful piece by Lightly, but my friend showed it to me and I fell in love — the clean lines, unfinished materials, and simple design make it a gorgeous addition to any space. So I was determined to make my own simplified version of the piece, and threw in a touch of gold to make it my own. Follow the simple steps below to see how it’s done!

  • (1) cowhide strip 1.5″ x 50″ (I bought a pre-cut strap made from sturdier leather, vegetable tan, what they use for belts)
  • (1) whitewood board cut to desired length (I did 28″ long)
  • (2) #3 x 1.5″ brass flathead phillips head wood screw
  • (2) #4 6 x 7/8″ ribbed plastic anchors 
  • Krylon metallic gold spray paint
  • X-acto knife
  • ruler
  • tape measure
  • blue painters tape
  • pencil
  • phillips screw driver
  • drill

  1. Using blue painters tape, tape off your board on the top and bottom, leaving the edges revealed. Spray the edges gold using about 2-3 coats.
  2. With the exacto, pencil and ruler, mark the middle of your 50″ strap and cut it in half. Now you have your two shelf straps.
  3. Fold each strap in half, and drill a hole 1/2″ down from the end of the strap
  4. Hand screw the brass screws through these holes, creating two loops.

*to install: Mark where your two straps will hang on the wall, keeping in mind their distance in from the edges of the board. Follow the drywall anchor instructions but use the brass screws holding the leather loops instead of the screws provided. Drill in the screws and set the wood board through the loops.

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Comments (94)
  1. 1
    Phoebe June 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I love this DIY! I will definitely be using it when I move into my new apartment.

    Do you know the approximate weight limit on this? I just want to make sure I don’t rip out the anchors!

    • clairezinnecker June 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks! It was so fun and so easy.

      You can choose how much weight your shelf holds by which drywall anchor you buy (they give you lbs amounts on the package!)

      • Phoebe June 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm

        Oh, well you learn something every day. I didn’t know that! Thanks, Claire.

      • Helen January 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        Hi! I found your idea on Pinterest and just got it done. Now I know why I’ve been keeping leather straps, belts, bridles. I just finished two for my bedroom. I showed my husband. “See Hon, I don’t hoard for no reason at all!” Whew, thank goodness I stumbled on this. I didn’t have to go out and buy shelves or brackets. Thanks!

  2. 2
    Ivana @ Macarons and Pearls June 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Now this is one fabulous transformation! I love the use of cowhide strips: it’s the most unexpected touch I’ve ever seen in a shelf 🙂 Thumbs up!

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

    • clairezinnecker June 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks! I want to make another one perhaps with some painting details on the strap…herringbone? dots? arrows? options are endless!

  3. 3
    thetangelofiles June 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    wow; beautiful!
    thanks for sharing
    where did you get your cowhide strip from?

  4. 4
    Kate June 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I love this project, Claire! I can’t wait to see it in person.

    • clairezinnecker June 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Yay! Thanks.

  5. 5
    [email protected] June 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this! So simple and perfect, I’ll definitely be trying it!

    • clairezinnecker June 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Oh I’m so glad you love it! Hope to see photos of your completed shelf 🙂

  6. 6
    Sharen June 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Claire….this is fabulous! Love Love! I want one!

    • clairezinnecker June 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Now we know what to get you for your birthday! 😉

  7. 7
    R June 14, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I adore it! I guess my next shelf is going to be something like this 😉

    • clairezinnecker June 14, 2013 at 10:31 am


  8. 8
    Kelsey June 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Love it . . . Love it . . . Love it Thanks sooooooooooo much/KS Hnl

    • clairezinnecker June 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Thanks Kelsey! So glad you love it!! 🙂

  9. 9
    Jenny June 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Seriously impressive – its always the way with the simplest of designs!
    For any UK readers JT Batchelors in London will have the leather you’re looking for!

    • clairezinnecker June 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Jenny!

  10. 10
    Rachel | 52 Weeks Project June 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    SO pretty! I love the simplicity too.

    • clairezinnecker June 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Thank you Rachel! I decided to keep it simple and add the fun with the items I styled on the shelf 🙂

  11. 11
    Svenja June 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

    This looks amazing but doesn’t it flip when you load it in an uneven way? Because the board is not attached to the leather strips but just lain down within them?

    • clairezinnecker June 25, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Hmm no I didn’t encounter that problem..I think because I spaced the leather far enough to each end and the leather straps hold the board fairly tight making the shelf sits secure.

  12. 12
    The Office Stylist July 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I love this!! I love that its pretty and simple and could be in a home or office space! LOVE the post!!

    • clairezinnecker July 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks so much!! I’m so glad you like it! I agree, it could work well in both settings.

  13. 13
    Who is Michael Torres? July 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I recognize this project from the sketch in Tribeza. Turned out great! 🙂

    • clairezinnecker July 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Wow!! I’m so impressed (and excited!) that you caught on to that! Thanks Michael!

  14. 14
    Katie November 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Any recommendations for where to get leather? How much did you spend on the leather?


  15. 15
    Kristel November 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Love it! I tried to get the measurements in cm but it seems so much and wrong!Hmm… Could you possibly post the measurements in cm? I would very much appreciate it!

  16. 16
    Peter January 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    It’s so awesome!

    My girlfriend and I made a shelf like this, but we used knobs instead of screws, which works very well 🙂

  17. 17
    Liz Pollock Carr February 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Well, I’m certainly going to make one. It’s funky and different

  18. 18
    Michelle October 26, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Such a fresh, minimalistic approach to the standard IKEA shelves you see everywhere! I’ve featured this project on my blog – have a look!


  19. 19
    sivgin dal September 7, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Dear Claire, I want to try this as a bookshelf for my workspace. Do you have a idea about the weight it could support? I don’t want the wall to fall of because of to many books on top of this beauty!

  20. 20
    mitersawbuzz January 2, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Happy new year, Claire. This is exactly what I was looking for. Inexpensive & so stylish!

  21. 21
    Alex February 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Just made this shelf, such a lovely idea it looks fantastic. Leather provides so much strength. Thanks for this idea1

  22. 22
    Luciano Truzzi April 26, 2016 at 7:28 am

    You had it for a while now… is the leather still strong (especially in the hole used to screw it to the wall)?

  23. 23
    wayne jewett June 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    For the non DIY crowd!

  24. 24
    Christen Ales August 21, 2016 at 11:48 am

    How wide was the board you used?