20 Upcycled Bookshelf Tutorials

Upcycled Bookshelf Tutorials

Need a new bookshelf? IKEA is NOT the answer.

Turns out that a *new* bookshelf probably isn’t the answer, either, not when there are so many wonderful things to upcycle into bookshelves, and so many ways to decorate thrifted or freshly built bookshelves with upcycled components.

If you’re thinking about going bookshelf shopping, first put down your wallet and check out these ideas–you’re probably going to find the bones of your brand-new bookshelf project waiting right here:

1) Pallet bookshelves. Use wood pallets to make face-out bookshelves–just seal these REALLY well, OK? Sometimes wood pallets can be processed with nasty chemicals, and you don’t want that in your house.

2) Cardboard into bookshelves. Upcycle cardboard from the recycling bin into a beautiful bookshelf.

3) Decoupaged bookshelves. Give some personality to bland, mass market-looking bookshelves by decoupaging it with vintage papers.

4) Dresser into bookshelves. Turn a dresser into a bookshelf, and check out the super-clever wood glue stencil technique also in this tutorial.

5) Bi-fold door bookshelves. Bi-fold doors can be sooo tacky, so it’s better to turn them all into bookshelves.

6) Box frame into bookshelves. Your old bed wants to be a bookshelf.

7) Panel door bookshelves. Cutting a door in half makes two sides of VERY sturdy bookshelves.

8) Antique crates bookshelves. Boxes or crates are easy to stack into a bookshelf, and when you add casters, you can even make them mobile! But of course, even one crate makes a lovely bookshelf.

9) Suitcase corner bookshelves. An opened suitcase or trunk fits perfectly into a corner; add shelves to make it a corner bookshelf.

10) Old bookshelves into new bookshelves. Got the bones of an old bookshelf that looks ready for the landfill? Fix it up so that it looks new again!

11) Drawer bookshelves. Drawers stacked just right make good-looking bookshelves with clever shelves.

12) Book shelves. Old books become the base for floating bookshelves or hanging bookshelves.

13) Clock bookshelves. Turn a grandfather clock into a bookshelf.

14) Bricks bookshelves. Leftover bricks? That’s a bookshelf!

15) Picture frames into bookshelves. Use antique picture frames to front wall-mounted bookshelves.

16) Bed springs bookshelves. Wall-mounted bed springs can hold books!

17) Shutters into bookshelves. Use old shutters for the back and sides of a bookshelf.

18) Plant stand bookshelves. A fresh coat of paint turns a plant stand into a light and useful bookshelf.

19) Ladder bookshelves. Upcycle a wooden ladder into a wall-mounted bookshelf.

20) Repainted laminate bookshelves. Laminate furniture is sooo ugly, but it’s cheap and readily available at every thrift shop. Here’s how to paint it to make it cute.

Know of any other excellent upcycled bookshelf tutorials? Link to them in the comments below.

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Janice Thompson
Janice Thompsonabout a year ago

Cement blocks and boards work well. No cement block, bricks can be substituted.

Bea W.
Bea Wilsonabout a year ago

Some of these tutorials must have had me in mind cuz I have wanted to redo some things and with the info I just got I can jump on a couple of them. Thank you, I appreciate articles like this, please keep up the good work. Looking forward to more.

Kathryn M.
Kathryn M.1 years ago

Great ideas! Thank you! Shared!

Ann Razumovskaya
Ann Razumovskaya1 years ago

Thanks for ideas, some are a bit crazy for my taste, but some are very usable!

matt gowty
matt gowty1 years ago


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago


judith sanders
judith sanders1 years ago

I've knocked apart old laminate furniture to make shelves with concrete blocks and bricks. Not pretty, but fine for basement and garage storage.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola1 years ago

Thank you for the article

Nils Anders Lunde


A F.
A F.1 years ago

thank you