Need a New Home for My Oils…Look What I Found!


20 cubbies will hold 60 bottles!

Pretty cool, huh?!

Perfect size, perfect price: 40% off. It’s wood vs. plastic, so there are lots of “upgrade opportunities”.

That familiar feeling started coming over me and the possibilities for this little guy flood my brain.  My personal apothecary filled with neat, little brown bottles! (Channeling Billy Crystal & Carol Kane, via Princess Bride).  True love!

The shelf’s open face is a bit of a hurdle; what’s to prevent stuff from falling out? Quickly, my Overly-Optimistic-of-Actual-Capabilities personality answered, “What about leather?”  Aaaaand here we go!


See? Already checking things off my list✔🙌

So, let’s talk upgrades.  During a recent jaunt thru an undisclosed paint department, I picked up an oil based wood stain in a spray can (ridiculously addicted to spray painting).  It was tinted a gorgeous coppery bronze color and it was on sale.

Another thing to check off: leather string.  It may be a stroke of luck that the bottles are a perfect fit.  However, it will annoy the bleep outta me waiting for them to fall and break.  A door would be expensive, not to mention the end of this projects’ life. (Because it would never get done).

Leather; however, is inexpensive and easy.   Like thread, it comes on a spool in various weights & colors. Puts the fun back in functional. *snort*  Seriously tho, it’s a natural and amazing looking solution.  Now… Let’s hope the drill is charged!!

The idea is to thread leather through the cubby walls creating a protective barrier in front of the bottles.  Determining factors are simple:

1.  Ability to read labels (glasses not included).paint15paint14
2.  Unencumbered access (no hassles like catching on  or stretching the leather string).

Fair warning: my projects are not very scientific-y. In truth, sometimes they don’t work at all. This is one that did.👍🎉

Employing the “close enough” girl method: the measuring tape puts the leather “fenceline” approximately an inch above the shelf floor and roughly 3/8″ inside.

Leaving enough room for staggering 3 bottles easily!

Leaving enough room for staggering 3 bottles easily!

After penciling the drill points, the shelf gets clamped down onto our heavy duty plastic saw horse.

Don’t judge our girl, we’ve done some fun projects  together and she’s still going strong🐮).


The shelf needs to be secure: it’s important to take every precaution necessary to prevent the drill from screeching off the shelf edge and into my hand. Then thigh. Not really enough oil for that situation.

To get rid of shavings and dust: Do Not Blow Into Cubes to Remove Wooden Debris!  INVARIABLY, the debris will be whisked directly into your eyes and mouth.  So Not cool.paint2

A vacuum with brush attachment, small painting brush or a quick wipe with a damp sponge will do fine and cause less physical trauma.

Hint: dollar stores carry sponges and brushes in packs. Super inexpensive way to stock up on art  /cleanup supplies).  Use the sponges’ rough side to smooth off wood splinters from the freshly drilled holes. Time to paint!


The average cost for stain in a can is about $8, making it the highest material cost of the entire project.

Craft store wood is typically very dry and brittle. The oil based stain will rejuvenate the wood fibers, and the shelf will probably soak up an entire spray can after applying just 3 light coats. Taking time to do light, even sprays pays off in end, literally!

Once the stain dries, I’m going to re-address the drilled holes for splinters and chips.  It’s not about aesthetics as much as being practical.  Raw edges and chips quickly break down natural fibers like leather…and inevitably jams itself under (my) fingernails.

Tip:  Dental floss, toothpicks or pipe cleaners are all quick & easy fixes for clearing away remaining debris and smoothing down outer edges.👏

The drilled holes on the shelf’s exterior looked a bit shabby.   It just so happens…an entire jar of black matte washers landed in my craft supplies.💞


Can not tell you how handy these babies have been!

Now, where’s the Elmer’s?paint18

Gluing the washers down helps when threading the leather through holes that still may be chippy. Once completed, the washers will be secured by strings. At least that’s the plan😏


Once again employing the eye ball method, the string is laid out in a pattern that’s suits my taste.

I’m fortunate to have inherited several large sewing needles, perfect for threading leather string.   I’m doubling the string for functionality and because its pretty😘

Then add another 8-12″ just for CYA purposes.😆

To help keep the line taut, loop the string back around before proceeding to next hole.  This will cover any splintery edges and gives the shelf a nice rustic look. Use simple knots to close up the ends and its done!



To hang, drill two more holes (front to back), cover with washers and run a heavy duty leather strap, twine, whatever strikes your fancy! As long as it’s strong enough to support the weight of a full shelf of oils. 💪


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