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HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

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These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

Hey kids, today I’m sharing a super fun tutorial on how to make DIY steel cable suspension shelves.

If you’re a frequent reader you may have noticed that I’ve been M.I.A. for a little while. Well, I took a little bloggy break. I suppose sometimes life can get a little hectic so one just needs a little break to regroup and get refocused. So here I am, still working on the refocusing part, but back anyway.

During my break, I gotta guiltily admit that this little post has been sitting in my drafts file half done, screaming at me to finish it up. I actually built these shelves in February! I know, right, February. That makes me feel like a total slacker. But hopefully, this finished tutorial will help me redeem myself and get my butt moving on all the other planned DIY’s I have on my list. So let’s get on with the story.

If you recall, I have been slowly but surely working on giving one of the bathroom’s in the parental unit’s home a DIY makeover. Now here’s another confession: the makeover started a few years ago and then got a little stalled… okay, a lot stalled.

I started by re-tiling the shower…

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

You can read about how that got started on my “About” page here. At the same time I repainted the bathroom and vanity and replaced the old vinyl flooring with some new tile. This was all done before I started this website so I don’t have progress pics.

More recently, I replaced the old and hideously ugly vanity top with a DIY concrete vanity top with integral sink (click here for full tutorial).

HOW TO MAKE A CONCRETE COUNTERTOP OR VANITY TOP WITH INTEGRAL SINK

Can you say LOVE?!!!

Next to the vanity sat the toilet and over the toilet there was one of those storage units that stands on the floor and has shelves over the toilet. It did the job for the storage that was needed in this small bathroom, but I can’t say it was particularly pleasing to look at. Plus, it didn’t really seem to fit with the new concrete sink which had more of an industrial feel.

I thought some reclaimed wood shelving would be a bit more fitting. Actually, my original plan was to make some floating shelves, but as I got going the idea evolved into these wonderful steel cable suspension shelves.

So let’s get on with the tutorial…

I found some old reclaimed wood that my pops had in the garage. (I can always count on my pops for supplies.) From the hardware that was still attached to the piece, my guess is it was once part of an old bed frame.

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

I removed the hardware and cut my shelves to size.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

To cut down the shelves I used my clamp edge saw guide, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. It locks onto the wood so I get a perfectly precise cut each time. (Click here to read more about using a saw guide.) Did I say LOVE?!!

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

Next, I sanded down the wood using my cordless random orbital sander. (Love using cordless! It means no dragging around extension cords when I’m working outside.)

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

Look how clean and new that looks!

Next it’s time to stain.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

I broke out a new Purdy brush for staining. (I always recommend using high quality brushes for any painting or staining projects. It really does make a difference in the final product.)

For stain I used Minwax PolyShades in Ebony.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

Paint on your stain then immediately wipe off excess stain with a clean dry cloth. Repeat if you want the wood to take more color. I only did one layer of stain.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

Check out all that glorious wood grain!

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

I attached the shelves to the wall using drywall anchors and some small metal brackets.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

My new go-to drywall anchors are these SnapSkru Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors. No pre-drilling necessary and they won’t destroy your drywall when you want to remove them because they screw right out when you no longer need them. Nice.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

Start by using a level to draw a horizontal line where you plan to hang each shelf. Then line your brackets up to the line and using the bracket screw holes as a guide, mark where the anchors will be installed.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

Drill your anchors directly into the drywall.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

Once the anchors are in, attach your brackets.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

I used four brackets per shelf.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

Next, sit your shelf on top of the installed brackets and from underneath, mark drill holes on the shelf bottom. Pre-drill your holes and then screw shelves onto brackets.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

I didn’t want the silver brackets to stand out, so I painted them black. They are completely unnoticeable now.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

Supplies For Steel Cable Suspension Shelves

Next, it’s time to install the steel suspension cables.

 

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

You’ll need:

  1. Swage tool (used for crimping ferule onto steel cable)
  2. Ferrules – four per shelf
  3. Screw eyes – four per shelf
  4. Steel cable – can be purchased by the foot at local hardware stores (I used 1/8″ steel cable)
  5. Turnbuckles – two per shelf (see image below)
  6. Cap nuts – four per shelf

HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

 

The turnbuckles will be used to get the cables nice and taught.

Here’s how the whole thing goes together…

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

How To Install Steel Suspension Cables

1 – Pre-drill a hole in the front end of the shelf.

2 – Screw a screw eye into hole.

3 – Hook turnbuckle to screw eye.

4 – Slide two ferrules on to steel cable.

5 – Loop bottom end of steel cable through turnbuckle and then back up through ferrule.

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

6 –  Use swage tool to crimp ferrule tight. You’ll need both hands to crimp the ferrule so be sure to have an extra person on hand to hold everything in place.

8 – Hook top end of steel cable over and around above bracket and through second ferrule.

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

9 – Pull top cable tight and crimp top ferrule using swage tool.

For the upper most shelf insert a screw eye directly into wall, using a drywall anchor, to hang the cable.

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

10 – Once your suspension cables are hung, trim off excess cable. I didn’t have a wire cutter heavy enough to cut the thick cable so I used my Dremel. (I can’t tell you how many times my Dremel has saved me when all else failed!) Beware though, it was kinda like sparklers on the fourth of July, so if you use a Dremel make sure to have eye protection.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

11. Attach nut caps to cut cable ends using crazy glue.

12. Finally, twist the turnbuckles to get the cables nice and taught.

That’s it. Now you’ve got some pretty cool DIY steel cable suspension shelves!

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

Don’t forget to save me to Pinterest, peeze!

These steel cable suspension shelves are amazing. The hardware adds so much to them and I'm loving the industrial feel.

 

This post linked to some of these totally fabulous blogs and Remodelaholic.

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6 Comments on HOW TO MAKE DIY STEEL CABLE SUSPENSION SHELVES

  1. Vineta @ The Handyman's Daughter
    May 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm (2 years ago)

    Love the industrial look with the rustic shelves! I’ve been thinking of making some shelves for our bathroom, and this would be really cool!

    Reply
    • Jenise
      June 1, 2016 at 6:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Vineta! We think they’re really cool and not your ordinary shelves. :-)

      Reply
  2. Carol Cook
    June 2, 2016 at 2:30 am (2 years ago)

    You did a fantastic job on your shelves.

    Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    Reply
    • Jenise
      June 3, 2016 at 8:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Carol!

      Reply
  3. Funky Junk Interiors - Donna
    June 3, 2016 at 4:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow… these shelves are gorgeous… and that hardware just makes them even more amazing. ADORE this look!

    Reply
    • Jenise
      June 3, 2016 at 8:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Donna! That’s so thoughtful of you to say. I totally love your work so I really value your opinion!

      Reply

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