Bookshelf to Shoe Storage Transformation

At this point in time I’m pretty confident that each and every one of us has owned this bookshelf from Walmart at some point in our lives. Mine has moved with me from house to house and even somehow managed to make the cut when I moved cross country from good ol’ sunny Florida to Texas. For years its been sitting in my garage collecting dust and becoming a homey high rise to all the spiders that have decided to make it their own. When I was working on my last project I noticed it out of the corner of my eye and after many years of neglect I had the perfect idea to transform it into the shoe cabinet of my dreams.

To help you get started, here is a list of the supplies you will need:

*This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase after clicking on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Before even beginning the project I sat down and put together a realistic budget with the notion that in no way did I want to spend an arm and a leg to make over a $20 run down bookshelf. In the end it needed a lot of work and prices started adding up but I’m pleased so say this project came in at well under $100.

If I’ve learned even one thing from my last furniture transformation it’s that herringbone anything will kick your ass and make you the most frustrated you’ve been in your entire life. Did this stop me from attempting to do it again? Nope! Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment so I decided to do it again on this one. In my head I thought if I were to tackle what I thought would be the most unpleasant part of the transformation then this project would be easy sailing from here on out… boy was I wrong. I began to quickly saw my paint stir sticks and glue on my 6 inch pieces on top of the bookshelf for what felt like an eternity until I was completely finished. As you can tell from the above photo the paint stir sticks I used had a lot of gaps between them so I had to once again use lots of wood filler to remedy this situation. You know what that means? More sanding is in my future. Yay!

I used so much wood filler at this point I’m kicking myself in the ass for not buying stock in it.

Now was the time for my favorite part – Sanding! I started out with my trusty sanding block then moved my project outside to bask in the gorgeous weather we were having that day while switching to a more powerful sander.

I then grabbed my edge banding and trusty iron then spent the next 10-15 minutes applying it to the top of the bookshelf. This is where the project really started to take place and began to look somewhat presentable.

Once that was completed I used my wood finishing cloths to add some color to the top and disguise some of the wood filler that was still visible no mater how much sanding I did.

I’m going to be real with you here. This is what I should have done when I first started this project. In order to add the legs to this piece I had to flip it upside down on it’s freshly finished top and I was stressing the whole time thinking it was somehow going to get ruined – it didn’t, thankfully.

When it came time to cut the doors I went in thinking I had it all figured out and it would go smoothly. The wood I chose was on the cheaper side and splintered a lot after each cut. It also had holes that needed to be filled with wood filler to disguise them. (No hardwood floors were harmed in the making of this project. I chose to take the pictures using them as a backdrop since my garage is a total disaster and would scare people off at the mere sight of it) I also added the L shaped brackets to the corner of each door to secure it. In the haste to get the project done I did not photograph it.

After I completed my doors I took them outside and gave them a generous spray of black plaint. Once completed and dried, I brought them back inside and covered them with the black wood grain contact paper. Why did I do this if I just spray painted them? The truth is, the doors were hideous and the wood grain popping through made them look like they were fished out of the bottom bin of the clearance section at Dollar General. This actually worked in my favor because it was similar to the wood grain texture on the rest of the bookshelf. All I had to do was apply a piece over each door, use a carpenter knife to cut it down the middle and then gently wrap it like a present around to the other side.

I then added the door magnets to the top underside of the bookshelf and began stapling my embroidery fabric to the inside of each door. As you’re doing this remember to pull the fabric taut so there is no visible rippling from the other side of it. You may also want to iron out any visible wrinkles because once you’ve stapled it to the door it’s going to be the first thing you notice when the doors are closed.

After I added my doors I noticed something was off and my bookshelf was looking wobbly and like it’s seen better days. I spent a good 30 minutes inspecting every square inch of it until I discovered that somehow the particle board next to the camlock underneath it had chipped it off. I ended up covering it with a generous amount of wood glue and putting a small piece of wood over it to give it some strength.

On to the final part of the project – adding the drawer pulls. I began by measuring the door, dividing the number in half then subtracting the size of the pulls to get the exact distance I needed to drill. I felt like I was back in high school trying to figure out a math equation with as many times as I went back and forth double-checking my calculations to make sure everything lined up evenly. When everything was finished I pushed it back into my entryway, put my shoes in it and began staging the top of the piece.

Signing off until the next time,


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