DIY - Leather Strap Shelves
Creating leather strap shelves has been on my wish list since I first started Clever Poppy. I was waiting for the right moment to make them, and needing shelving in the nursery gave me the perfect opportunity. Having said that, now that I realised how ridiculously easy this project is and how AMAZING they turn out, I so wish I'd done it a year ago! So here's your opportunity to go for it without delay!
WHAT YOU NEED:
Leather Straps: For this project I used vegetable tanned natural leather straps- these are made in New Zealand from high grade 3.5mm russet, in straps that are 30mm wide. I purchased mine from Lapco Leather (link here). The product from Lapco is called '13MM- 50MM NATURAL RUSSET BELT STRIPS (VARIOUS)' and is loaded under their 'leather craft' section. To buy, you just choose the 30mm width and then how many lengths you want to buy. Each length is cut between 1 - 1.5m long, so you will probably need a couple to be sure.
You can tackle this project with leather belts, or leather you cut yourself from a hide etc. But the most important thing is - use good quality leather! You want leather that is strong and will hold it's shape (the last thing you want is it stretching and the shelves drooping down at the front over time).
A Leather hole punch (or you can use a hand drill)
A way of attaching the shelves to your wall. We used screws and 'WallMates' I bought from Mitre 10, which we put in with a hand drill. The wallmates are a plastic anchor you screw into plasterboard first, which you then insert the screw directly into. It means you can fix items directly into plasterboard without needing to find beams to fix to - if you aren't hanging something particularly heavy.
A shelf. I used Ikea 'Ekby Hemnes' shelves which are a solid white wood, size 79cm x 19cm. I purchased my from AKIA nz.
Scissors - these need to be sharp enough to cut leather, unless you have pre-bought leather in the correct lengths already
Cut your two strips of leather to the desired length. For the size shelf I used, mine were each 90 cm long. You can make yours shorter or longer if you wish.
Make holes in both ends of each leather strap, big enough to fit your screws. You can use a leather hole punch or the hand drill. I did my holes so that they were in the middle about 2cm from each end.
Create a loop with the leather so that the two holes you've made align, and attach them to the wall through those holes. Make sure the nice leather side is facing out. It's a good idea to use a level when marking the screw holes to ensure your shelf is level.
For our home, we chose to use wallmates and screws so that we could put them directly into the wall (painted jib board) without having to worry about finding beams etc. On this basis, I use them for decorative purposes and will avoid putting anything too heavy on them - but they seem to bear up fine under a collection of items. The method / materials you use will depend on the material you are securing them to.
Place the shelf in the hammock created by the two leather loops and push it down to the bottom so that it is level.
And that's it! How easy is this project? I am having to restrain myself from adding leather strap shelving to every room of our home...I just love the style and way it looks, and the fact that it is such a straight forward option to install!
I hope you've loved this project every bit as much as I do. And I'd love to see pictures of shelves you create yourself!