Yeah, my shelf rules and I know it! 🙂 I’m pretty excited to show off this little diddy ever since I saw this amazing piece of furniture faced with vintage yardsticks and rulers.

IF I can collect enough yardsticks and IF I can find the perfect buffet like this one from The Corner House Blog I WILL create one just like this for my home! Can we all agree that this is completely awesome? Yeah, I thought so.

I’ve been collecting yardsticks but I surely didn’t have enough to face a huge piece so I opted to change my recent estate sale find, aka, a handmade wooden box into a shelf to store my wimpy collection of sewing paraphanelia. As you might remember from a previous post I bought a Brother sewing machine for about $16. Sweet. I don’t know how to work the dang machine and honestly I’m a wreck thinking about even trying to load the bobbin. I don’t have a killer thread collection or even know how to stitch a stitch so using a small shelf is not an issue.

I also thought this shelf would be an awesome spice rack for your kitchen.

This is the box post pick but pre stain…


I cleaned it up but didn’t bother to sand it…yeah, the mosquitos were sucking the life out of me. I added a quick wipe on wipe off coat of Minwax Early American stain (I like to call it Miniwax). Because I didn’t sand the wood it took the stain deeply in some areas while others were fairly even. I didn’t really care though.

I know this may shock you but I wasn’t born with a designer’s eye so it takes me FOREVER to decide on which direction I want to go with a project. I finally decided on using my small collection of yardsticks to face the shelf. I hemmed and hawed for a day or two over whether to place them on the back wall of each shelf but in the end I just used the rulers to face the edges.

Can you see how crazy the stain looks? Don’t worry it’ll work out. I hope.

I decided to cut my rulers to fit flush horizontally on the lip of each shelf first and then I measured and cut the small sections between each horizontal ruler like this.

It’s time like these that I realize I need (want) a circular saw. It was a short cut list sure but if I’m ever going to cover a buffet I’ve got to ditch the plastic miter (toy)box and get grown up toys. If you’re in a condo like me rest assured that this miter box does the trick and it’s pretty cheap at Home Depot for $8.

All of my rulers were flush with the outer edges of the box but the rulers on the front lip were glued down (using Elmer’s Wood Glue) so that there was a lip or ledge on each shelf. I ended up really digging the lip because I can place things like bobbins on the shelf and they won’t roll off!

Once they were all in place I used Howard’s Restor-A-Finish in walnut. This stuff can take out that white cloudy thing that happens to old wood furniture and just makes it pretty again. I like to think of it as the lip gloss to your lip stick. It’s the glam factor but you know for furniture. Yeah, please don’t put this on your lips.


Once again, without a designer’s instincts, I couldn’t decide which color, pattern, or type of material to use to line the back wall of the shelf. So I opted for the classic and clean canvas.

By the way, if ya’ll aren’t checking the fabric section at your local Goodwill then you’re missing out. I bought a few yards for $2.

Anyways, I measured the inside and cut my pattern using craft card stock. Using a solid surface take your pattern and trace them onto the fabric.

Yeah, that’s Johnny Cash and yeah that’s my solid surface. What’s more solid then Ring Of Fire on good ol’ vinyl?

I wiped on a little Mod Podge with a foam brush to adhere the canvas to the wood. I smoothed the canvas out using a butter knife. P.S. Aren’t these cast iron cuties well…cute?

The 2 larger jars are from old Yankee Candles and the small glass jar on the top shelf was a votive candle! Did you see my pin cushion? I used the lid from the Yankee Candle jar and some foam and scrap material! I’ll show you that one in more detail in a following post.

So, what do you think? Does my shelf rule or what?

Question: Do you have rulers and yardsticks collecting dust? What would you make with them?

I’m linking up here, herehere, here, and here.

About The Author

44 Responses

  1. Terrie Lee

    Your shelf really does rule! I love ruler crafts. I’ve recently started collecting to make one of my own but I’ve got a long way to go. ☺

    • ccleahy

      Terrie, I’d love to know what your ideas are for your yardsticks! If you finish the project I’d love to see the photos! Thanks for hanging out here!

  2. Michelle Chao

    your shelf totally rules!! i love the way it turned out, and the white canvas backdrop keeps the shelf from seeming too dark.

  3. laurel@chippingwithcharm

    Looks great…love anything with old rulers 🙂 Laurel

  4. Distressed Donna

    This is meant as a compliment – Your shelf looks ancient! Love the patina you created. I, too, get caught up in collecting sewing notions and do not sew! Maybe I’ll have to find my sewing machine just to create a shelf like this!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

    • ccleahy

      LOL! Thanks for the compliment!!! One of these days I’m gonna sew a pillow or something….look out!

  5. Lori Stokes Wright

    Yes it does RULE! I like your self better than the inspiration. I found you at Look What I Made Party.

  6. Nicole

    WOW WOW WOW! I LOVE this so much. I found a bunch of vintage thick yardsticks at a yardsale this summer and have been wanting to do something cool with them. I’m so glad you linked this up at Doodles & Stitches. You’ll definitely be featured on Friday. I hope you’ll be back each week. You’re very talented 🙂

  7. JoselynGreene

    Yes it definitely rules! It has the same aesthetic as your inspiration piece. Well done!

  8. Kathryn Griffin

    Well done! I love it. Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The DedIcated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  9. Holly

    It does rule! Love it. I am collecting yardsticks too. Thanks for sharing at the All Star Block Party.


  10. StacySewsandSchools

    WOW! That is amazing!! I love it!! I have a few shelves that could definitely use some work.

  11. Elaine McCarty

    I love your shelf! I’m pinning this, and then going to look for my bundle of yard sticks I got at the auction…now, what did I do with them???

  12. Kathryn Siegwart

    Love it! I have a stash of colorful metre-sticks (the metric version of yardsticks) that somehow got left behind when our home used to be a school! I thought about covering a table top or something with them, but didn’t think I had enough… now I think I know what I’ll be doing! 😀

    • ccleahy

      OMGosh Kathryn! Lucky!! Are you a blogger? I’d love to see your home…I always tell Big Daddy (my husband) that I think it would be so cool to buy an old church or school and transform it into our living space/offices/retreat center for our ministries!

  13. Kim~madeinaday

    I love these shelves!! I am featuring them tomorrow!

  14. Deana@CountryMommaCooks

    How cute…love it…Thanks for linking it up @ CountryMommaCooks link and greet party…..hope to see you again tomorrow : )

  15. Charlene@apinchofjoy

    Your shelf does indeed rule! Love the inspiration piece too. Thanks for sharing on Busy Monday!

  16. BeColorful

    I adore your interpretation of this look and you did it on a dime. Yay you. 😀 Thanks for sharing this week on BeColorful.


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