A step-by-step DIY tutorial on how to make metal farmhouse style shelf brackets with a lip from a flat steel bar.
Wide open spaces, old wood planks resting in their metal braces, and vintage accessories….no doubt, the warm but minimalist look of the industrial farmhouse is easy to love.
And the best part is that you can build a lot of the design elements yourself. It will cost less and be more unique than something pre-made.
Why not start by making your own metal shelf brackets?
This DIY tutorial will share the steps on how to make metal shelf brackets with a lip. These brackets are the perfect way to decorate your home to give you an industrial farmhouse style.
I decided to create my own metal brackets after seeing Holly and Brad from Our Faux Farmhouse create their own brackets. They used a vise and hammer but I made a metal brake to bend my metal.
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links or referral links for your convenience. It is a way for this site to earn advertising commissions by advertising or linking to specific products and/or services. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
WHAT’S THE COST?
To help you make the metal brackets, you will need tools to bend the metal. See this post on how to make a simple metal brake to bend the metal.
Each bracket will cost you less than $6 in materials plus $5 for a can of spray paint. So, for less than $6 a bracket (which holds two shelves), you can create your own custom industrial farmhouse shelf bracket.
If you wanted to make 4 brackets, like the image example, it would cost you about $38. This price includes the cost of a can of spray paint and two (100+ count) screw boxes (lots of screws!).
Now, let me share how to make your own budget-friendly shelf brackets.
HOW TO MAKE METAL FARMHOUSE SHELF BRACKETS WITH A LIP
- two: 1/8″x1″x36″ flat steel bar
- six: #8-15×2” lath sharp point screws (secure to the wall)
- eight: #8×1” lath sharp point screws (secure to the boards)
- black spray paint
- metal brake (see this post on how to make your own)
- metal file
- 11/64” or 3/16″ metal drill bit
- spray grip accessory (optional)
- safety glasses
- face mask (for dust)
- ear protection
SIDE NOTE: Again, you will need a way to bend the metal. You can use a vise (heavy-duty clamps) or make a metal brake using this tutorial.
STEP 1: BENDING FLAT METAL TO CREATE BRACKETS
For this type of bracket, you will make four bends in a flat metal bar – two bends for the shelves and two for the lip to secure the shelves.
I am going to break down each bend but to make it even easier, I have a video showing how to bend these farmhouse brackets.
TIP: Before you begin, wipe the metal clean to remove the black stuff that can get all over your hands.
THE FIRST BEND:
The very first bend will be the lip of the top shelf. Mark the end of the flat bar, 1″ from the edge. Then, place the bar inside the metal brake, making sure the top plate of the brake is at the marked line.
Using a wrench, tighten the bolts on the brake. Also, use a square to make sure the metal bar is square in the brake; this will give you a straight bend.
Now, bend the metal until it’s at a 90-degree angle. Remove the metal bar from the metal brake. Repeat this bend for each bracket (2 for two shelves or 4 for four shelves)
THE SECOND BEND:
The second bend is where the wood for your shelf will sit. The easier way to mark this bend is by using the wood for your shelf. Place the board on a flat surface, then place the lip from bend one against the side of the board.
Take a ruler and mark the metal bar where the board ends. From this mark, mark the metal bar 1/8″ toward the lip. This second mark is where you will bend your metal. You need to remove a 1/8″ from the first mark because you need to account for the 1/8″ metal after the bend.
Place the metal bar onto the brake and align the bar to the top plate of the brake using the second marked line. Tighten the bolts, check to make sure the bar is square to the bar, then fully tighten the bolts using a wrench.
TIP: The lip from the first bend will be facing down for this bend.
Next, bend the metal bar until it’s at a 90-degree angle. Remove the bar from the brake. Complete this bend for each bracket.
If you only want to have one shelf per bracket, you would decide on the length you want the end of the bracket (probably around 8-12″), then cut the metal bar at this length.
THE THIRD BEND:
The third bend is the distance between the shelves, which is 14″ without boards (or 12.5″ with a 2″ board).
SIDE NOTE: You can make the distance bigger but I would not go more then 2″. If you don’t have uneven walls, you can bend the fourth bend first and eliminate the need to cut the metal (you will have a distance around 17″).
To give you your bend mark, place the two metal bars into the brake so that the last bend is flush with the top plate. You are doing this so that you can measure both bars to the same length, and your distance between shelves will be the same.
Using a ruler, measure from the 90-degree angle in the bar (where the top shelf sits) to 14″ and mark both bars at this measurement. This is your third bend.
TIP: If you’re creating multiple brackets, it’s a great idea to number these brackets so they stay together as a pair.
Remove one of the bars from the brake, then align the other bar to the top plate using this mark. Tighten the bolts, check to make sure the bar is square, then fully tighten the bolts with a wrench.
Bend the metal bar until it reaches a 90-degree angle. Remove the bar from the brake, then bend the other metal bar the same way. Complete this step for each bracket pair.
THE FOURTH BEND:
You’re almost there! The fourth bend is the last bend. Just like the previous bend, we will be using the board for the shelf to give us our mark. But this time, the board will go on top of the metal bar.
Place the metal bar on a flat surface, with the last bend facing up. Rest the board on the bar so that it is snug against the last bend.
Mark the metal bar where the board touches the metal. This is where your last bend will be but before making this bend, you need to cut the extra off the metal bar.
Remember how your first bend was 1″ away from the edge? You want the same thing here. Create another mark on the metal bar, 1″ away from the board.
SIDE NOTE: If you want both lips to be exactly the same, make your mark at a 1-1/8″ so you allow for the bend.
This mark is where you will cut your metal. If you are a beginner at metal working and do not have fancy saws to cut metal, use the metal brake or some clamps to clamp the metal bar into place. Then, using a hacksaw, start sawing on this second mark.
TIP: This saw will take some time, about 5 minutes to cut through the metal.
After the cut is made, use a metal file to file the edges so they are not sharp. And now you can make your last bend.
Place the metal bar into the metal brake so that the last bend is facing up. Align the bar to the top place of the brake on the mark (first mark you made). Tighten the wing nut bolts, check to make sure the bar is square in the brake, then fully tighten the bolts with a wrench.
Bend the bar until it’s at a 90-degree angle, then remove from the brake. You now have a bracket!
Complete this step for all other brackets you are making.
STEP 2: DRILLING YOUR SCREW HOLES
Each of these brackets you just made needs a way to secure to the wall plus the shelf boards. To do this, you will be drilling 11/64″ holes into the metal.
You will drill two holes for where each board will sit and three holes for along the wall. There will be a total of seven drill holes per bracket.
To create these drill holes, take a scrap 2×4 board and two clamps. Place the 2×4 board on the edge of a table. Then, place the side of the bracket onto the 2×4.
TIP: You can do this for both bracket pairs at the same time; this way your drill holes will be very similar.
Clamp the bracket to the board, then mark the metal for where you want to place each drill hole.
TIP: You will want a drill hole about 2 to 2-1/2″ from each bend.
Take a 11/64″ metal drill bit and drill the metal at each marked location.
TIP: Use a shop-vac to collect the metal shavings.
After drilling, use a metal file to give you a smooth opening, not sharp edges. Then, continue this process until all seven drill holes are made on the bracket.
Complete this step for each bracket.
STEP 3: PAINTING THE BRACKETS
Now it’s time to paint the brackets and screws. You can paint your brackets whatever color you would like but I used a black stain spray paint for metal.
Place all your brackets and screws onto a paintable surface. An old sheet over grass or concrete works great! Also, use an egg carton to hold the screw in place.
Then, spray paint the pieces according to the direction on the can. Remember that lighter coats are better when applying spray paint.
TIP: To reduce the mess, try using the spray grip accessory tool!
Apply as many coats as needed until you have the coverage you want. Then, let everything dry for about 24 hours.
You officially have your very own homemade metal shelf brackets with a lip! Now, all you need to do is install the bracket onto the wall. Check out my full tutorial on how to install these industrial farmhouse style brackets, here.
Hope you enjoy your DIY farmhouse style brackets!