DIY Apothecary Shelf for Essential Oils

I’ve recently found essential oils.  I have found them so useful for so many different things in my families lives.  I use them on a daily basis whether it’s to calm myself, help my daughters breathing when she is stuffed up, or preventative maintenance for other ailments! Because I use them all the time, I wanted to create a shelf that held and displayed them nicely.  And of course I’m thrifty, so this project cost under $10!

What you’ll need:

  • Foam board (Dollarama for $1.50)
  • Base coat Paint (Micheals Chalk Paint on clearance $4.57)
  • Glue gun and glue sticks (had on hand but can be purchased at dollar store)
  • White glue (Dollarama $1.50)
  • Napkins (Dollarama $1.50)
  • Stain/Paint (had on hand Saman water-based stain)



First things first.  I needed to decide what I needed to store on the shelf and where the shelves were supposed to go.  For this I just laid down what I wanted and where abouts I wanted them to be displayed.  I made sure to leave enough space in between for the actual shelves.

Don’t want to wing it?  Here are all the measurements you will need if you want to create this exact shelf!

I just used an exacto knife and a metal square to get the perfect angles and cuts!



Now one of my favorite gifts I got for Christmas was a heavy duty Stanley hot glue gun!  This thing is amazing!  It burns hot, very hot! I’ve burnt myself a few times now :S…   So I used this glue gun for this project.  I’m sure a dollar store craft one would work just fine as well, because of future steps we would take to ensure things aren’t going to fall apart.

I started with the outside edges, gluing one piece at a time.   After that I placed all the inside pieces in place and made pencil marks.  That made things easy when I was gluing in one piece at a time!

After all the shelves were in, I glued the right angles together onto the back of the shelf.  It was pretty sturdy with out these, but because of the glass viles, I didn’t want to take a chance of it falling down and breaking my essential oils!



For the safety of my essential oils, I wanted to create a lip on the edges of the shelves.  I thought about cutting small strips of foam board, but then I remembered I had some bbq skewers in the kitchen!

I took my exact-o knife and cut them to the length of each shelf.  Then I used my trusty glue gun and glued them into place on the edge of each shelf.





Now for the fun, very time consuming part!  I took about 20 napkins and cut them into smaller pieces.  2″x 2″ and 2″x 4″ pieces.

I mixed in a bowl white glue and water, about a 1:1 ratio.  This is ultimately modge podge! But way cheaper.  I would only use this mixture for a project like this that will be covered in paint.  I would use real modge podge when putting a protective layer on top.


For this process you can use napkins, tissue paper or newspaper!  Now napkins and tissue paper are going to have a lot of creases and bumps in it.  This was the look I wanted for this project!  Newspaper, if applied nicely, will give a very smooth finish.

When the entire shelf was covered in napkins, I let it sit over night to fully dry.

My beautiful daughter was helping me and painted some of it pink 😀

One day I was at Michaels craft store just browsing down all the isles like I usually do, just looking for some inspiration.  I always like to try new products, and I noticed that ArtMinds Chalk paint had some clearance colours!  So instead of spending $15.99 for 8oz, I got this cute Lilac Bloom colour for $4.57!  What a perfect way to try a new product!

I’m working on a full comparison chart for most of the Chalk Paints on the market, check back soon for that!

When the Chalk paint was dry, I mixed a 1:1 ratio of Saman Water-based stain in Iron Earth with water.  I just wanted it to be a bit more translucent because I knew I was wiping it off.  A small container of this stain sells for $9.99 at most Benjamin Moore stores.  I had some on hand already from a previous project, but if you didn’t want to spend this much for a small shelf, you can always use craft paint.  Which you can buy at Michaels, Walmart, or the dollar store!  If you use a craft paint, I would do a 2:1 ratio of water to paint.

The next step is simple, brush on a liberal coat of watery stain, then take a lint free rag (an old t shirt works) and wipe away the excess!  I found that if I let the stain sit for 30 seconds to a minute before wiping it off, it looked the best.  I wanted to have an old, aged look to this apothecary shelf.  And it was turning out exactly how I envisioned it!


It’s recommended to put on some sort of a protective coat over top of the project.  A clear wax, or a clear coat. This would just add extra wash-ability and protection.  I opted not to for this project because I know it won’t need to be cleaned.


This shelf can hold a lot of Essential Oils too!  I know there are many different brands of Essential Oils on the market.  I started by using ones from Save-On-Foods, until I bought one that had gone bad!  It smelled horrible and didn’t do its job at all.  Now I order all of mine from my online store, Melaleuca!  They cost less then most other companies and they are just as good as the best!


And this shelf is versatile too, the mini bottles can be up top, or the big bottles can fit on any of the shelves!  It could fit up to 20 15mL bottles!  Now one day, and probably soon, I may need to make a larger shelf to hold all my Essential oils.  But for now this Apothecary style shelf is perfect!


Thanks so much for reading.  If you try this yourself, I would love to see pictures!

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