Cheap bookshelf makeovers are on a roll.

Cheap bookshelf makeovers are one of my favorite trash to treasure projects.  Its a box with some shelves.  No character, and can be found for a few dollars.  Or, maybe even around a dumpster.  I recently transformed another one of my junk bookshelves to jewel of a bookcase.

Here are some other bookshelf transformations I have shared.  My Blah Bookshelf to Ballards Knockoff and more recently, my Bookshelf makeover with bookpages!

Cheap bookshelf makeovers are truly a done in a day project.  You just need a little patience and imagination, but the options are endless.

Here is what you will need for this makeover:

Scrap wood for the top, or a piece of MDF

Scrap wood for bottom to fit dimensions of bottom of shelf

Cordless Drill and screwdriver

Wood screws

Gorilla Wood Glue

Square edge

Circular saw, or table saw for cutting a precise straight edge.  (Home Depot and Lowes have a large panel saw and cut pieces to size for you)

Small casters and screws to attach them

Scrap trim to cover ugly front and MDF on bottom

Paint of choice

Plenty of imagination and willingness to mess up and do a few things over.

I began with this  blah white melamine cheapy thing.

I started by adding a piece of MDF to the bottom, cut to the size of the bottom.  Once cut, I used Wood Screws to secure it to the base. Next I added the small casters.

For the top, I chose several pieces of scrap wood (again all dumpster finds)  that would fit together and make a rustic top.  Move them around until you find the right fit, like puzzle pieces.  I cut  the pieces to size that were too long.

I secured them to the top first with wood glue, then wood screws.

Next, I turned the bookshelf on it’s back, measured and cut the scrap trim I had.  I used two different pieces of trim that were dumpster dive finds.  Measured and cut them to fit. This covered the MDF on the bottom and the ugly front of the bookshelf.

One note, adding a secure top and bottom also reinforces a wobbly, cheaply made bookshelf.  When finished, you will have a solid piece of furniture that will last for years.  All for practically nothing!

For the body of the shelving, I roughed up the finish a bit then painted the entire piece in Clay Based Paint, I use Debi’s DIY now.  100% Natural, the only true Clay Base Paint, only 9 ingredients, it’s like painting with liquid velvet.    

When dried, I sanded the entire piece with a 320 grit sand paper to give the piece a very soft finish. I sealed the entire bookshelf with my favorite sealer, 100% Natural DIY wax.

This bookshelf was supposed to be headed straight to Paris Flea Market in Livermore.   I broke my rule and decided I needed it!  Found the perfect spot for it, right next to my bench made entirely of Junque.

Never look at those ugly old bookshelves the same.  They can be given a new life, just use your imagination!

PS This post was originally published in November of 2013.



Sharing My Cheap bookshelf Makeover at these lovely parties:


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special





  1. mary

    Love that you added wheels! everyone can use a little portable storage.

  2. Marsha Stopa

    Brilliant! I have several of these blah white melamine things but haven’t gotten rid of them because they are so useful.

    Thanks for the clever ideas and vision.

  3. arod

    great job it looks great now i really love the black & white version

  4. PS MacMurray

    Adorable. Love the bold color too.

  5. Danielle

    So cute! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays! x

  6. Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas

    I have a few of those really cheap bookcases in my place. What a great idea and a nice tutorial too. You’re got me thinking. Thanks for linking up to Tips and Tricks!

  7. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Well it certainly doesn’t look like a cheap bookcase now! And so cute on wheels!

  8. Maryann @ Domestically Speaking

    That bookshelf turned out so cool! I’m featuring it in this week’s Power of Paint Party. Thanks for linking up.



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