yardstick shelves.

I’m sure some of you locals have heard of the Bachman’s Ideas House.  Bachman’s is a local floral, gift and garden chain of shops.  They have been in business since 1885, and their first retail location was opened in the 1920’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, which is also where the family home was located.

Quite a few years ago (I think it was 2010, but I’m not totally sure) they began the Ideas House.  Basically they decorated the family’s historic home (which is no longer occupied) on their property on Lyndale for the season and then the public was welcome to tour it for a donation of $5 which went to charity.  In addition, everything in the home was for sale.  You just had to come back after the season to pick it up.

At that time, the mastermind behind the decor was none other than Ki Nassauer, now of Junk Bonanza fame.  Her upcycled junk style was evident in every room and I loved all of it.  In those first couple of years the house was full of one-of-a-kind authentic vintage items re-purposed in really clever ways.  The Ideas House is still around, and in fact Linda over at Itsy Bits and Pieces has just blogged about the 2017 Fall version.  Linda has blogged about the Ideas House since the beginning, and you can find all of her Ideas House tours {here}.  But, I have to say that I miss the good ol’ days when they had more vintage pieces and less mass-produced items.  Since Ki moved away to California, I feel like they don’t have quite the same re-purposed vintage edge that they did in the beginning.

Today’s idea came from those early days of the Ideas House.  One year they had narrow shelves made with old yardsticks on the front to hold wine glasses above a bar cart and I loved them.  So the next time I saw some old yardsticks at a garage sale I snatched them up, and Ken (my handyman neighbor) made them into shelves for me.

They are perfect for displaying a non-collection of vintage alarm clocks if you don’t happen to need them for wine glasses.

I still grab awesome yardsticks whenever I see them at garage sales and every once in a while Ken helps me make up some more shelves.  So today I thought I’d show you guys how we do it.  It’s a super simple project that you could handle in an afternoon.

step 1.  cut a narrow board to the same length as your yardstick (um, that would usually be a yard, but the ruler I used this time is not technically a ‘yard stick’).  I use old sections of bead board that I salvaged from the bead board ceiling that my neighbor nnK tore out a few years ago.

step 2.  attach the yardstick to the board.  I’m not gonna lie, my handyman neighbor Ken did this part not me.  He drilled little pilot holes and then used small headless nails to adhere the yardstick.

Today’s Qtip:  If you don’t already know this, a pilot hole is a small hole drilled as a guide for the insertion of a nail or screw.  A pilot hole will help prevent the wood from splitting as you drive in the nail.  It will also help make sure that you get the nail in the right spot.  Your pilot hole should be just a tad smaller than the nail, if it’s too large then your nail won’t grab hold.  Ken taught me the secret of pilot holes and I use them all the time now.  I know this might seem like a simple tip for some of you, but I’m sure there are more people like me out there who didn’t know about this nifty trick.

step 3.  add L brackets to mount your yardstick shelf to the wall.

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this!

I bet you have some awesome non-collection that would look great displayed on some yardstick shelves!







22 thoughts on “yardstick shelves.

  1. I too miss the “old” Bachman’s idea houses which were full of unique and inspiring ideas. Perhaps we have been thinking in the “recycle and reuse” mode long enough that what was previously clever is now the norm? Finding new ways to stay ahead of the public imagination must be exhausting, but I sure am grateful and inspired by those who do so! I am going to check out whether your clever yardstick idea would work on a floating shelf already in place in a bathroom. Happy to see another non-collection!


  2. Very clever idea! I have been collecting yardsticks over the past few months and this is my favorite use of them that I’ve seen. Did I miss the width you cut the boards? Course I can just get an L shaped bracket and use that as a guide or just cut any width I want!


    1. Yep, just any width you want! My shelves are limited by the width of the bead board that I already had on hand, but you could make yours any size you want. It may be wise to think about what you want to display on them first and then size them accordingly.


  3. I’ve been a fan of using yardsticks for adding character since I saw an old chair completely covered up in them. For me however using the vintage clocks on the yardstick shelves is key to getting that “look and feel”. Once again a nicely executed project. Just love it!


    1. I love a good yardstick project too. I saw a pinterest photo where all of the risers on a staircase were covered in them, which was really fab, but gosh … how many yardsticks would one have to find to pull that one off?


  4. A) I love the yardstick shelf idea. B) If you go to Bachman’s idea house, I’d love to tag along. C) I think Bachman’s needs to contract a local celebrity designer each year to decorate their idea house. I’d love to see it with the Quandie touch!!!


    1. What a great idea for Bachmans! I imagine it’s a ton of work designing an entire house though. They probably can’t afford me 😉 But we should plan to go to the holiday Ideas House together! Let’s do it.


  5. Fantastic. I have never found old yard sticks (meter sticks in Canada ;), I wonder if you could find new and stain them darker then make some shelves.


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