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Toilet Paper Holder Shelf: Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Originally Published March 16, 2018. Updated August 3, 2018.

TP Holder Title Page
Pallet Shelf Toilet Paper Holder by Functional Rustic.

How we start our day is the foundation for how the day will go. For most people the first room they enter when they wake up, and the place they spend their time getting ready for the day, is the bathroom.

The bathroom is the one room we all spend time in each day. Why not make that space a daily reminder of how capable and creative you are by personalizing it to match your personality and your needs.

Old TP Holder
The Toilet Paper Holder that came with the house.

I don’t know about you, but my phone comes with me to the bathroom. It’s not the end of the world to just set the phone on the bathroom floor when I need to use my hands — but a shelf would add more function to the space. The TP holder that came with the house was decorative, but I wanted to make it my own.

Adding a shelf helped the phone situation, allowed for a scented candle to be safely close by and gave the bland bathroom a rustic touch! Functional and Rustic — what a concept! What I didn’t know would happen though, was how seeing and interacting with my new TP holder would improve my mood each day.

I kid you not — I smile every time I see it. “I built that!” I start every morning with a reminder that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Creating something that looks great and has many practical uses is empowering. Being useful, and not just pretty, I think is what does it for me. Build it for yourself and you will see what I mean.

Below you will find step-by-step instructions for how I built my Rustic TP Holder Shelf out of a recycled pallet board. I use pallets because it is what I have around. You can use what ever wood you have available. Also — the length, width and depth of the boards is completely up to you but my approach requires that the board be at least 5/8 inch thick.

TP Holder w Candle
Rustic, handmade Toilet Paper Holder made from repurposed pallet wood.

DIY Tutorial for Rustic TP Holder Shelf

Step One:
Using a ruler and pencil mark where you want to cut the board. I made each of my boards 12 inches long. My board is 38 inches long so I measured 12 inches from one end made a line and then measured another 12 inches and drew the other line. You can make it any size you want.

Mark and Measure Boards
Step One: Measure out two 12 inch boards to prepare to cut.

Step Two:
Cut your boards where you marked them. I used a table saw that I got for a steal off of Craigslist but, any saw will work. Be sure to always practice good safety and wear eye protection and gloves anytime you are using machinery or saws.

TP Holder cut board
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.
TP Holder cut boards
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.

Step Three:
Sand your boards. I use a table sander for all my sanding (got it from the same guy on Craigslist that sold the saw!) This is a small project so sanding by hand is doable. If sanding by hand, I recommend wrapping the sand paper around a small piece of lumber before sanding so you have a flat sanding surface.

Mainly you want to remove any of the sharp or frayed edges. I used 60 grit sand paper. (grit is how coarse the sand paper is. The lower the number, the more coarse. For smoother finishes use higher grits.)

Sand Paper
Sand Paper comes in different grits for different jobs.
Belt Sander TP Holder Board
Step Three: Sand your boards.

Step Four:
Get the boards in position. This was the trickiest part for me. Not because it is that difficult, but because I really did not want to use the vice. I tried many times to do it by hand but because I was by myself I couldn’t keep boards straight. If you have a partner though, the vice may not be necessary.

TP Boards in a Vice
Step Four: Align the boards for assembly.

I wanted my screws to be hidden so I drilled from the side of the board that would be against the wall. Line up the long edge of the board you want as your shelf against the side of the board you want on the wall.

(My pallet boards are 3.5 inches wide and 5/8 inch thick. When I attach the boards it will stick out from the wall 3.5 5/8 inches. If I had the screws exposed on the top of my shelf it would only come out 3.5 inches from the wall.)

Step Five:
Attach the boards using screws. I use one inch screws. With the boards in the vice (or held by a friend) drill two holes through the flat part of the board into the edge of the second board. Insert your screws.

Add screws while it is in the vice
Step Five: Attach the boards with screws.

Step Six:
Paint. I used spray paint for this project but you can use whatever kind you would like. I removed the original white toilet paper holder from the wall and painted that at the same time. I recently found a can of metallic colored paint and the metal TP holder was a great project to test it on.

Spray paint he boards
Step Six: Paint.
Spray paint the TP holder rod
Step Six: Paint.

A few things to note. I did my painting in less than ideal circumstances. It was a breezy 15 degrees outside when I did this. Also — everything is covered in snow. I could have sprayed them in the house where it was warm, dry and not windy or in the barn where it was dry and not windy— but I opted for in front of the barn because that was where I usually do things.

(Painting outside was really just habit. I did a lot of painting over the summer and always in front of the barn. Apparently I trained my brain that when it is time to paint something that is the place you do it. At least I thought to put an empty bag of duck feed underneath — summer time it would have been just gone on the ground.)

I mention the weather for a few reasons. For one, it took an hour to dry each coat instead of just a few minutes. Two, snow kept blowing onto it making the paint run or stay tacky. And three, if the paint can is outside in the cold too long the spray consistency gets all messed up.

I used three coats of white spray paint on the pallet shelf and two coats of metallic spray paint on the TP roll holder. Don’t try to paint it all at once. Paint different sides at a time and make sure they are completely dry before placing them down on a surface. (Ask me how I know, ha.)

Step Seven:
Attach the TP holder and the shelf to the wall. My original TP holder was screwed into the wall with two 2 inch screws. I just reused those. First I had to decide where to connect it to the shelf. Once I had it where I wanted it I marked the board so I would know where to drill. Then I drilled the two holes.

Attach TP holder to the wall
Step Seven: Attach the TP Holder Shelf to the wall.

So now I have my holes drilled, two screws, the shelf and the holder. I cant hold the shelf in place and the holder and screw it in at the same time. So, I pre-screwed it together. Basically I inserted the screws through the holes attaching the pieces but, I only put the screw in enough so just the tip is poking out. Now, I find the holes in the wall and can place the tips of the screws into the holes. This lets me make sure everything is lined up and attached and that I don’t have to wait for my husband to come home and help.

Step Eight:
Decorate and enjoy.

I love the scented candle being on the shelf for a few reasons. One, I like playing with fire — ha. Two, scented candles smell good. Three, I don’t like to turn the lights on early in the morning but I do need to see. The candle is a soft light that doesn’t blind me first thing in the morning.

Tp Holder with Candle
Decorate your new shelf!
TP Holder 1
Personalize your shelf with your own unique touches.

Step Nine:
Take pictures and share your creation with Functional Rustic on DIY Project of Facebook or use #functionalrustic when you share on social media.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just tutorials? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.


3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.




“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.


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