How to turn old drawers into cool shelving


old drawer now a shelfIn case you missed it, here’s the article on how to turn old drawers into cool shelving!

Level: Intermediate/advanced

This is a great way to get creative with shelving for your home. Why not show your personality by displaying your homewares in your very own customised shelves from reclaimed drawers?


Materials Needed

Old unused/unwanted drawers

Sugar soap



Old papers/book pages/wallpaper/maps

Wall hanging plates

Undercoat (I used Colortrend undercoat)

Paint (I used Colortrend satinwood in colours i-prestige, 1152 berry patch, i-white tea, 0673 enchanted evening, 0682 pleasant stream)

Craft blade (you can get these in your local craft supplies store)

Lengths of timber to secure wall hooks on to drawer: I used a strip that was 2cm high and 2cm deep and came in a length of 8 metres

How to turn old drawers into cool shelving


  1. Clean dirt or grime from your drawers with sugar soap and leave to fully dry.
  2. With a medium-grade sandpaper, sand the shelves with the grain of the wood.
  3. Prime with Colortrend undercoat.
  4. Add a strip of timber to the back of your shelves where you would place the hooks to hang it on the wall (not all drawers may need these). Measure the top of the drawer inside the sides and cut a long length of timber to fit those measurements. After you cut the section of timber, you can screw it in from the inside to attach it securely.
  5. Paint your shelves with two to three coats, leaving to fully dry in between each coat, in a colour of your choice (some of the colours I used were Colortrend satinwood in colours i-prestige, 1152 berry patch, i-white tea, 0673 enchanted evening , 0682 pleasant stream).
  6. For a pop of colour, you can use a different colour on the inside of the drawer.
  7. Add your wall hanging plates to the back of your drawer (on the strip of timber) and screw securely in place.
  8. Add paper of your choice in the back of the drawers with PVA glue. Paint the PVA on the back of the paper, leaving for a few seconds to soak into your paper. Start adding your paper by laying it down on one side and slowly rubbing out any air bubbles that may appear until you reach the other side of the shelf. Use a craft blade to cut away any extra paper.
  9. Map out possible ways of how you can assemble the drawers in a cluster. Tip: You can lay them out on the floor first for possible ideas, or cut the size of the shelf in paper and stick onto the wall to play around with layouts.


Now all you have to do is hang them and display your homewares to create something truly unique and beautiful.

funky shelf made from drawer

If you’d like to read the rest of this special series on upcycling projects, you can read it on Irish Country Living.

Let us know how you get on @kylelaneclonmel


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