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Bookshelf Makeover using Old Pallet Boards

What do you do when you have a wonderful piece of furniture but it just  isn’t really working out aesthetically? Paint it and jazz it up with some boards from an old pallet.

Old Pallets make this old bookshelf like new.

Old Pallets make this old bookshelf like new.

This is probably the project that helped me to realize my love for taking old things that others might think are beyond rescue and make them wonderful and functional. It has been an amazing journey since then. I love the process of having an idea, finding the pieces you need, then discovering if its even possible to do what you want to do…honestly sometimes it’s not….most of the time though it drives you to find new creative ways of achieving your goals, and after all, that’s what life is about, isn’t it?

Thanks for joining me in that philosophical moment of zen…back to the bookshelf. 

When I first got this bookshelf, as a hand me down from my mother, it had one of those awful flimsy particle board backs with vernier that made it look like wood, that was held onto the actual bookshelf by one measly finishing nail. I decided that to update the piece for post-college living (since post-college I was so mature and grown up) I would painted the piece black to jazz it up. That included painting the backing black. That worked for a few years but then I got married (I became even more mature and grown up…I hope y’all are catching the sarcasm in my voice) so the awful particle board back had to go completely, without the backing the bookshelf was a little wobbly, it needed something, but what? At this point our dear friend Pinterest had entered my life along with a desire to try all the things I saw on Pinterest! Then came an old pile of pallets The Hubs and I stumbled upon one morning behind a hotel, when I made a wrong turn (most fortuitous wrong turn I ever made). It was the perfect DIY Storm.


We brought the pallets, about eight of them, home and began the long process of tearing the things apart and figuring out what pieces were salvageable and what pieces were not. My very first thought was that these would make a great back for that wobbly book shelf.

The process is simple enough.

  • Find a bookshelf you want to makeover.
  • Paint/stain/decoupage/wallpaper the bookshelf, whatever you want to do, just do this before you attach the pallet boards.

Note: If you have never dissembled a pallet before be prepared for some work. They are built to be beat up so they don’t come apart without a fight. You’ll want to have a few tools on hand.

  1. Gloves and eye protection.
  2. A Crowbar.
  3. A reciprocating saw, sometimes the only way to get the boards off is to cut the nail.
  4. A hammer and a nail punch if you don’t want to leave the nails in the board (if you have to use a reciprocating saw to cut the nails) you’ll have to pound out the old nails with a hammer and a nail punch.
  5. A magnet-it helps you pick up all the nails at the end of the day, so they don’t end up lodged in the sole of your flip flop, don’t ask why I was wearing flip flops, or even worse, your car tires.

To finish the project once you have all the boards removed that you need.

  • Find boards that are in decent condition.
  • Cut the boards to the correct length.
  • Sand each board-if you are looking to keep a lot of the rough quality of the wood you can go over it with a wire brush or sand it lightly by hand, just make sure you get any big splintery pieces off.
  • Lay out the boards to see what order you want to attach them (consider coloring, knots in the wood, stains or other interesting features that might be visible.
  • Apply a few layers of polyurethane to both sides of the boards.
  • Use a pneumatic nail gun to attach each piece at the top and bottom.

Pallet Bookshelf Makeover

I have had this bookshelf for a long time and I love it! It is the perfect size. There is room for taller books on the bottom and smaller books on the top. Its not to tall or deep, so it fits in lots of different spaces but before this makeover it just wasn’t working for me. If you have a piece that has good bones it is not impossible to rehab it into something amazing.

Bookshelf Makeover with Pallet Boards

My Pioneer Woman Cookbooks have special place in my heart and on this bookshelf.


Pallet Bookcase Makeover with pallets

I love this bookshelf even more now that I can look at it and be reminded that I can take something that is OK to look at and semi-functional, and with a little blood (remember those flip flops), sweat and tears make it better.

This is what Vintage Frontier is all about, finding new life and possibilities for the things that seem hopeless.

Kinda like those flip flops of mine, but those are really beyond hope now.

Welcome Home Wednesday Button.



4 comments on “Bookshelf Makeover using Old Pallet Boards

  1. Pingback: Chicken Wire Picture Display | VINTAGE FRONTIER

  2. Pingback: DIY Pallet Patio Bar | VINTAGE FRONTIER

  3. Pingback: DIY Pallet Signs. | VINTAGE FRONTIER

  4. Brittany
    October 6, 2015

    Wow, the bookshelf looks amazing. I never would have thought you did that yourself! Thanks for sharing on the Welcome Home Wednesday Link party! We really hope to see you again tomorrow at 7 CST!


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This entry was posted on April 10, 2015 by in Furniture Makeovers and tagged , , , .

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