Bookshelf Dumpster Diva, A Major Makeover

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers, Le Junque, Tutorials

Do you know how THRILLING it is to find something decent in or around a dumpster?  I found a bookshelf missing all the inner parts (shelves) several months ago.  I thought inspiration would hit right away.  Instead, the perfectly good bookshelf shell languished in my garage, collecting dust.  In my very concerted effort to use every last thing in my stash before I buy (dive) for too much more, I finally got around to making it over.

If I knew it was going to turn out this amazing, I wouldn’t have let it sit in this state for so long!  Here she is in her naked pre-makeover stage:

Seriously! People throw out the best stuff sometimes!

After giving the poor thing a thorough cleaning with TSP.  I measured the inside and cut four shelves from MDF I had on hand.  I then painted the entire bookshelf and the cut shelving in DIY Chalk & Clay Paint in Black Velvet

I removed the back of the bookshelf; it was stapled in and came off fairly easily.  I measured and cut a piece of fabric I had found at Ikea some time ago.  I used a spray adhesive to adhere it to the back piece.  Once the Endurance was dry, I laid the bookshelf front down.  I put the back piece back on and used finishing nails to secure it to the back.

What ‘tude she has now!  Amazing what a coat of paint and some elegant fabric can do for a girl……

When I begin a Dumpster DIY, I usually have a pretty good vision of how it will look when I am finished.  This time, the finished product looked so much better than I had ever imagined.

It will be hard to part with my new makeover, but she will be for sale at Paris Flea Market in Livermore, California, this weekend for our February sale.   She is of solid construction, the back fabric is Scotch Guarded, and she would be perfect in any decor.





  1. kirby

    LOVE it! I use a lot of Vermont Slate…my son’s apartment is “British Gentleman’s Club” and he likes the gray, so he finds stuff and we give it a coat of Vermont Slate. (I am more of a Nantucket Spray gal, myself.)

  2. LuAnn Braley

    Incredible ‘redouxion’! I’m sure it will draw a lot of interest at the sale!

  3. ColleenB. ~ Texas

    love your bookshelf makeover and what lovely fabric.
    Went and watched your video. :} You’re a hoot. Really enjoyed it

  4. Wendy

    Your bookshelf turned out lovely! I was amazed at the difference in the color. The slate is so rich and has dimension. Thank you sharing it with us all.


    That would look so pretty in a bathroom with white towels. Or my bathroom……hehehe.
    Lve the Vermont Slate.

  6. cassie

    i ADORE this! the backing is perfection!

  7. Karen Hockman

    I LOVE a great “trash night” find. Great job.

  8. Lori @Vintage Charm Restored

    Oh Karen, this is beautiful!! I absolutely love the fabric on the back with that color!! Nice rescue!!

  9. keya

    This one is SO GOOD! You’ve inspired me to get out my fabric stash and back some shelves.

  10. Michele

    How very pretty! I really enjoy looking at your website. You have such creative ideas!

  11. Francine

    LOVE it! Excellent Choice of colors.

  12. Darrielle

    Love it! good find and great transformation!

  13. Melanie

    I love the creative use of the fabric. Great piece!

  14. Susan

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  15. Deborah

    She’s a keeper…even though you aren’t 😉 Seriously the bookshelf turned out beautiful. I’m sure someone will snatch it up right away! Have a super week. ~Deborah

    • Deborah

      Umm…just reread that comment and it sounds like I’m saying you aren’t a keeper. So not what I meant. I hope you got what I meant. You are definitely a keeper, in fact, I keep you on my blog list 😉

  16. Barbara Trent

    Nice job on the bookshelf.

  17. Suzan

    Just beautiful!!

  18. Marie@The Interior Frugalista

    Talk about an amazing transformation! I love the pretty fabric and paint color. I’m sure this will sell in a flash. It sure caught my eye over at the Wow Us Wednesday party.

  19. DeDe@DesignedDecor

    Looks great! I love the black and white back drop. Pinning!

  20. Sette Design

    Just gorgeous and I like how you styled it with the tiny gold mirror.

    I recently found four elegant chairs on the street I couldn’t believe my luck. I even carried them home in the rain, you must be prepared to drop everything in my town in Italy or it will be gone in 20 minutes.

  21. Gentle Joy

    Love how this project changes and dresses up the bookshelf………..I have done a similar thing to a corner china cabinet and also a hutch and they turned out great. Thanks for posting. 🙂 Gentle Joy

  22. Laurie

    This is fabulous!

    You ROCK for linking up this week to Tip Me Tuesday. {high fives}

    Just a heads up, Tip Junkie can help you index your blog more effectively if you upload at least 2 images, 2 steps, and blog post URL into your Tip Junkie craft room!

    Simply login and click “add a project” on your profile page to get started. {yep I’ve got your back!}

    ~ Laurie {a.k.a. the Tip Junkie}
    Link ~

  23. Jan

    I don’t know how you will be able to part with it, it is sooooooo gorgeous! I don’t get why anyone would throw out such a well-made bookcase. It has great lines and looks solidly made, not like the little 5 foot high cheapos I bought in 1987 that SERIOUSLY need to be redone or replaced. Wonder what happened to the shelves, LOL! I’ve no doubt some eager buyer will snap up that beautifully redone bookcase instantly!

  24. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Oh that fabric just puts your bookcase totally over the top – love it!

  25. Tiffani

    We have to consider most qualities of our faces, including
    the widths of our faces, etc. After work you will likely transform your garments to-go
    available for the nighttime along with your eyeglasses is going to
    be altered also.

  26. Jeannie

    I have a very old glass fronted hand carved oak bookcase thaws at one time paintedand later stripped by dipping which raised the grain really, really badly. I’d like to paint it again but I’m afraid that the grain is so badly raised it will look really bad. How should I go about prepping this for painting?

    • Jan

      You may find some good advice about how to handle that here:

      Sand carefully with as light a sanding grit as possible to smooth the grain down a bit, vacuum the wood to get as much of the grit off as possible and wipe down thoroughly with a tack cloth to grab any grit/wood bits left over from sanding. The proceed with water-based stain and finish (protective) coating. That seems to be the general direction of what I found online.

  27. Cheryl Atkinson

    HI Karen! I miss my creative friends online. I have taken a break to get my body back in shape after 2 hip replacements this year. I tell you what…this bookcase looks amazing!! I laughed when you said “People throw away the best stuff” because the before picture was pretty sad. I cant say that i would have picked it up, but then i don’t have your creativity. Great job! I cant wait to see what is in store for 2024. Oh yea, i am coming to you from your Best of 23 blog post.



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