Renovation DIY & How To

Put Scrap Stone to Good Use With This Small Space–Approved DIY Shelf

No power tools needed.
marble bathroom shelf

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When New Zealand–based creative Jess Hall finished her primary bathroom renovation, she was left with excess countertop marble and nowhere to put it. Scrappy by nature—Hall went dumpster diving to find many of the materials for her family’s historic hall-turned-home—she couldn’t let this last bit go to waste. In need of a spot to put essentials in one of the other bathrooms (the sink is especially tiny to fit the narrow space), she broke the large piece into smaller segments with a hammer. A few hours later, the result was chic bathroom storage—no power tools required.  

The Supplies

Step 1: Break It Down

Hall’s leftover stone slab was way too big to function as a shelf. To break it up without a fancy saw, she placed the stone on the floor on top of tarp, added a protective layer of paper towels on top, and used a hammer to (gently) smash her way to the perfect size (about 2 inches longer than the towel bar). Make sure the piece has one straight, unbroken edge, so your shelf has a proper back to slide into the clips. 

Step 2: Smooth It Over

Smoothing the cracked side of your broken slab is a must if you have a curious toddler like Hall does. Using a sanding block specifically for stone, file the raw edge until it’s smooth to the touch and you don’t feel any snags when you run your hand across it. Because the stone is an offcut, the top and bottom should already be smooth. 

Step 3: Spiff Up the Details

To match her bathroom’s other hardware, Hall turned the originally silver shelf clips (she used Australian brand Flexi) gold with a Rust-Oleum spray paint. Two coats will give you a saturated, metallic sheen. 

Step 4: Add More Function

To maximize storage in her narrow bathroom, Hall added a bottom-mount towel bar. Place the bar at the bottom of the shelf. She reused the bathroom’s existing towel bar by securing it to the underside of the shelf. Hold the bar to the stone and add a generous amount of superglue to where you would typically place screws. Let dry.

Step 5: Hang It Up

All shelf clips are different, so install yours based on the packaging’s specific directions. Just be sure to use a level throughout to maintain a straight surface, as you would hanging a picture frame. Once the clips are screwed into the wall, slide the stone in and tighten the bottom screws to secure the marble. All that’s left is to style the shelf to your heart’s content.

Kate McGregor


Kate McGregor covers everything related to the home, from design inspiration to IKEA hacks. She has been the market assistant at ELLE Decor where she focused on curating product for the print magazine’s market pages.