Book Rack Upcycle: The Final Steps

The Challenges:

For such a simple project, I have to say that I have been a bit frustrated. The rebuild was quite easy and everything came together quite nicely, but I am still not completely happy with the wheels and its mobility. I have mounted the wheels in several different places, trying to find a placement that provides enough stability and allows the cabinet to move easily in and out of the narrow channel between the fridge and the stove. I have run into issues with both:

  1. Stability – the cabinet is quite tall and narrow, so even without wheels, stability is an issue.
  2. Wheel Mobility – this has been impacted by two variables:
  • one being that the wheels tend to spin when you slide/turn the unit and it seems like they need to remain lined-up nicely in order to work properly.
  • the second issue is the baseboard and quarter-round on the wall. I suspected this might be an issue all along and am pretty certain that removing it will solve most of my challenges. My husband said “No.” Every once in a while he doesn’t quite buy into my plans and removing the quarter-round seems to be something he takes issue with. Oh well, I am on spring break this week (YAY!!) and he isn’t, so we’ll see what happens when he goes to work. This may sound a bit cheeky, but I know from experience that he usually agrees with me when all is said and done.  For now I have left it as is, but at the very least I will be removing it to see if it makes a difference to the mobility.

The Next Steps:

As far as the stability goes, it really isn’t that much of an issue, but I had planned on adding some extra hooks in the very narrow space behind the pull-out rack. In most instances, you would only be pulling the rack partially out to get what you need and the fridge and wall would provide plenty of support for it to stand. However, if I want to add the extra hooks behind the cabinet, I would need to pull it out completely in order to gain access to the items behind. I was thinking of storing my cooling racks behind there because they are light weight for hooks and are too bulky for my cupboards. The downside of this is that I use them quite often, so I might be better placing items that are rarely used behind there. I am really not sure how this will all work out, but for now, I am waiting for a few touch-ups to dry and will then be ready for the final steps.

  • Cleaning and reorganizing my current cupboards in order to use my new storage rack in the most effective way possible.
  • Chalkboard art – I am really not sure what I am going to do yet, but I wanted to try some kind of chalk board art on the vertical face of the cabinet.

I’ll keep you posted.

PS If you are interested in checking out the previous posts on this project, here are the links for the first and second post.

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Upcycled Book Display Rack Update

Well, I survived my marathon schedule for parent teacher conferences last week and even made it through the weekend without getting sick. Usually, I am so exhausted that I end up getting sick right after. I am still tired from the busy week, but managed to spend a bit of time on my new kitchen storage rack. I primed and painted it over the weekend and am hoping to complete the finishing touches early this week, if I’m not too bagged after work.

Book Display Rack:

In the first post, I shared how I planned to re-make and repurpose an old book display rack for kitchen storage. I had to cut it down in width in order to make it fit into the space between the fridge and wall. This made for extra work, but I was determined to make this work. After cutting it down and re-building it, I filled the holes and sanded the repairs.

Over the weekend, I got it painted. This was a bit of a process as I didn’t have much energy and opted for two colours. Whenever you use more than one colour, you are essentially doubling the work. First, I had to give it a light sand to scuff up the original finish.  I then primed it and had to let the paint dry thoroughly, as I didn’t want to peel the primer when I taped off my colour lines. I then had to paint my first colour and wait for the paint to dry between coats before moving on to my second colour. One colour would have been much easier, but of course, I had a vision for how I wanted the finished shelf to look. I can’t say that yellow and black were exactly what I had in mind, but I didn’t really want to go with white and the only colour I had on hand that would work was yellow. I am all about trying to use up paint I have on hand, so I decided to go for it. The black chalkboard paint is on the outside edge only. I was thinking I might try to label it in some way…not quite sure yet. If you check out the background, you can see the state of my unfinished basement. This has been on a “to do” list for quite some time, but its not my list!!! Ugh.

The paint is still drying, but my next steps will be to add supports across each shelf. The original supports were plastic covered wires. They worked fine, but I was wanting a bit more of an industrial look. I picked up these pieces of metal strapping for a couple of bucks each and will bend the ends and screw them from the inside. I contemplated distressing the finished cabinet, but have decided to leave it for now and see how I like it. I also need to find a pull handle…not exactly sure what I want yet.

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Upcycled Book Display Rack

Custom Kitchen Storage

I am beyond excited about this project! I have had this project on my “Someday List” for years.  I originally saw this idea on a handyman website. It was basically a custom-built shelving unit for kitchen storage. I am not sure if is the same site where I first found the idea, but this the same concept.  I loved the idea, but my building skills are still quite limited and my husband is not fond of the “make work” projects that I suggest for him. So, I “shelved” the project hoping that someday I would develop the skills to build one for my kitchen.  As soon as I got this free book rack loaded in my car, I got that twinkle in my eye and knew exactly what this would become. I remember driving home with only one thing on my mind….will it fit??

Upcycled Book Display Rack:

Original Book RackHere’s a picture of the original book rack. Each panel is about 4″ deep and 2 feet wide, but I only have two of the original four panels. Lucky for me, one panel fits almost perfectly in the space between my fridge and the wall.  I say almost because the bank of cupboards that sit over the fridge have pieces of wood that extend down to the floor on either side of the fridge (they look like supports, but are perhaps there to give it more of a finished look than actually serve a purpose). The result is that the 2 foot width will not fit. In order to use the rack, I had to cut it down to 16″. At first, I was really ticked about this and although I am still not happy about the extra work and lost storage space, I did manage to figure out a little something that made it a little less disappointing.  I will share this in the final reveal as well, as I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

Steps to Transformation:

  1. First, I had to take the whole thing apart. It was primarily held together with screws and a few nails, so I didn’t have to fuss with glue and that made the dismantling that much easier.
  2. I was able to keep both sides in tact, but I had to cut all of the horizontal pieces and the peg board back down to 16″.  I was able to do this easily on the mitre saw, with the exception of the peg board back. My husband kindly helped me out by cutting it on the table saw.
  3. The plastic covered wire cords extending across the books were just attached with hook screws and were easily removed as well.
  4. The ends of the horizontal shelves actually fit into grooves in the sides. The problem was that the shelves did not have a straight cut end. The front couple of inches were straight, but the back part was curved. This meant I had to trace the curve and cut it with the skill saw. I did fine with this, but the curves did not match the original cuts perfectly.  For the most part it’s not noticeable, as the end of the board and my cut is hidden in the groove of the side board. There is a slight gap if you look closely, but it will never really be seen once it’s in use.
  5. The other tricky part was positioning the wheels so that the shelf would slide in and out easily while providing the stability needed for it to stand freely when not between the fridge and the wall. I am actually still playing with this and may end up buying 1.5″ flat ball casters as suggested by the poster of the above cabinet.
  6. Everything is put back together, holes filled and ready for paint.

I can’t wait to get back to it and finish this project off, but the weekend is over and I have a super busy week ahead with Parent Teacher Conferences. Hopefully I won’t be too bagged after a heavy week and can finish it up next weekend. Stay tuned….

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