Make bucket shelving

How to turn rusty buckets into stylish storage

By Catherine DohertyCatherine Doherty


Photo by Stacey Brandford

No comments

Our cottage entryway is a magnet for stuff that doesn’t have a permanent home. Hats, sunglasses, flashlights, sunscreen, keys, and other items always end up somewhere near the door, usually underfoot. After years of staring at the rusty old buckets languishing at the side of our shed, I had an inspiration. Why not use them to create a decorative storage area? The buckets work perfectly to contain that entrance clutter, and could be installed anywhere.

Step 1: Salvage

Look for buckets in your shed and at the dump, re-use centres, garage sales, or antique shops.

Step 2: Paint

Scrape off any rust before you paint. Choose the colours and begin by roughly painting the inside of the bucket. For a distressed finish, while the paint is still wet, wipe some off with a rag to expose areas of the metal. Repeat the procedure for the outside of the bucket.

Step 3: Arrange

Once the buckets are dry, lay them out on the floor for a rough idea of how you want them arranged on your wall.


Step 4: Mount

Drill mounting holes in the buckets. Hold the bucket in place and screw through its base into the wall.


  • If you plan on storing heavy items, or mounting the buckets on drywall, use toggle bolts to secure the buckets, or make sure that you screw them into a stud.
  • Wooden buckets add a vintage feel to the bucket wall, if you can find them.
  • Old kitchen canisters and food tins also work well for smaller items.
Bucket shelving

Photo by Stacey Brandford


This article was originally published on June 3, 2005

No comments

You need to be logged in or a registered user to leave a comment

Log in  |  Register

Tonight on Cottage Life

  • No listings available
View Full Schedule


Catherine Doherty