How to Make a Cottage Shelf with Branches

Create this distinctive display shelf in minutes

Need a quick, distinctive display shelf? Make this twig furniture style shelf from all-natural materials. Just cut the supports from branches, screw on a shelf, attach it to the wall and you're done!

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine




Super Simple!


Under $20

Cut the pieces and fasten them to the wall

Bring a bit of nature indoors with this simple branch-supported shelf. You’ll have to find two forked branches about 1 in. in diameter, with one relatively straight side that will sit as flush to the wall as possible. We trimmed our branches from a crab apple, but you can use any smooth-barked tree. Our shelf is 12-in. melamine closet shelving with the ends painted white. Yours can be any wood you like, but keep the width to 12 in. or less.

To make square cuts on the branch ends, create a jig with scrap wood and a 2x4. Clamp the jig to your workbench. Then clamp each branch to the 2x4 and use the bottom edge of the jig to guide your cuts (Photo 1). Cut the branches above the crotch where the ends will be wide enough to support the shelf—one near the wall, the other close to the edge.

Clamp the shelf to the jig and trace around the branch. Drill pilot holes near the bottom of the marks at the front edge of the shelf so the screw tips won’t poke through the branch (Photo 2). Bore countersink holes for the screw heads at the top of the shelf. Then hold the branches tight to the shelf while screwing them in. Hold the shelf level while you drill two holes through each branch into the drywall to mark the wall for drywall anchors. Screw your new shelf to the wall and fill it with your treasures.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Level
  • Drill bit set
  • Handsaw
  • Stepladder

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Branches
  • 1x12 shelf
  • Drywall anchors
  • Screws
  • 2x4
  • 24 x 48 x 3/4-in. plywood

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