Shelf Life

Shelves right angle

What’s better than getting a bargain? Getting something for nothing. Hard rubbish people, that’s where I found the goods for my latest DIY. Some people would call it gross. I think the council call it theft. But honestly, who hasn’t grabbed something from a hard rubbish collection even once in their lives? I think if you can give it a better home or a second life it’s much better than letting it all go to landfill.

Shelves 6

Right, now that I’ve stated my justification for shamelessly pilfering junk from someone’s nature strip let’s get to the business end of this post – my new shelves! We found two things in this particular junk pile, a wooden stool that I’m not yet sure what to do with and a little chest of drawers on small castors. It’s small and just made out plywood but it was in great shape. If you ignore the hideous paint job and flower stencil situation. I originally thought it might be good for the space next to my desk in the craft room to store paper and things but at the end of the day, even with a new paint job it would have been just too small and crappy to be functional as the drawers wouldn’t slide well with another coat of paint and it made no sense putting in loads of effort to strip such an el cheapo bit of crud. So, I decided to remove the drawers and just use the body of the thing as pigeon holes on top of the desk. Eventually I’ll remove the castors and paint it but for now it’s being really useful sorting out all my paper supplies so I can easily see and reach them.

The drawers as they were when we found them

The six left over drawers are great as little wooden boxes as they don’t have any overhang on any sides (except underneath). They’re just neat litte rectangles with a single hole for the drawer pull to go. One is holding all my cans of spray paint and two have become little hanging shelves for the lounge room. I love the idea of adding some dimension to the walls and also taking some bits and pieces off the furniture surfaces and putting them somewhere at eye level but out of the way (this is what happens to a thrift shop addict – you run out of space quite quickly). I painted them grey-blue and red inside with a kind of mushroom on the outside hoping to get a mid century modern vibe which I think I kind of pulled off.

I think I have found my ‘style’ a bit more and I am really leaning towards mid century modern. So is everyone according to all the design blogs and ebay, where some prices for mid century pieces are out.of.control. Anyway it’s the clean lines, beautiful wood, excellent craftsmanship and the strong but not imposing nature of the style that I love. It seems to harmonise with anything and suits an eclectic home. I know, I know, I’m a little late getting on the bandwagon but that’s my relationship with trends for you. By the time I’m into something everyone is already over it and has moved on to Twitter.

Originally I wanted to have them sitting flush against the wall on their own but after playing around with a few things I realised screwing them into the wall was the only option and I couldn’t do that as we rent. I contemplated those 3M velcro strips but wasn’t sure there was enough surface area on the back of the drawer to hold the strips as the bottom of the drawer is indented leaving a thin edge. I tried hanging them the same way you’d hang a picture frame but they leaned away from the wall making the shelf at an angle where things could slip out. The twine idea worked well but definitely detracted from my mid century vision. The twine also means that whatever is in the shelves has to balance so that it’s not sitting at an angle. I am thinking about using 3M strips to secure them to the wall to eliminate that problem, while the twine still takes all the weight.

For this project you will need

Wooden drawers or boxes

Paint (I used spray paint for the inside and an unidentified sample pot of that mushroom colour for the outside)

Paintbrush if needed

Strong twine

Masking tape and cling wrap or newspaper

A drill with a drill bit slightly bigger than the string


Begin by cleaning the boxes inside and out with a damp cloth and letting it dry completly.

Cover the outside edges with masking tape and cover all the outside surfaces with newspaper or cling wrap to protect it from paint (if using spray paint) and paint the insides of the boxes with 3 good coats.

Paint the outsides (if you have raw wood you will need to prime it first, I was lucky that the gross green paint mine already had acted as a primer).

Once completely dry you will need to drill 4 holes in the corners of bottom part of the top box, one hole in the top part of the top box and one hole in the top part of the bottom box.

String one length of twine through each of the 4 holes in the top box and make large knots on the ends of the string inside the box. The knots will need to be big and strong enough so that they wont pull through the holes.

Next, string all those 4 lengths into the hole in the top of the bottom box. If it’s difficult to get all 4 lengths of twine in the one hole wrap sticky tape around it like the end of a shoelace. This will make it easier to push through. Ensure all the lengths between the 2 boxes are are equal and knot them together on the inside of the bottom box.

Finally, thread a loop of twine through the outside of the hole on the top part of the top box and knot from the inside. Hang the loop on a hook and you’re done. If none of that made an ounce of sense, you should be able to figure it out from the pictures!

UMP (Unidentified Mystery Paint)

Painted inside

Drawers painted inside and out

Detailed and to-scale sketchings

Drawers all strung together

Shelves 1

Shelves 4

Shelves close up

Shelves 5

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Thrift Shop Challenge Accepted!

Thrift shop challenge loot 1

You all know I love op-shopping and will go any chance I get, so when I saw that John and Sherry of Young House Love were hosting The Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge I knew I had to get involved! For those of you who haven’t heard, Macklemore have come out with a song called Thrift Shop and it is my jam! Go and have a listen!


John and Sherry had 3 steps to this challenge:

1. Go to the thrift shop with $20 and take a photo;
2. Spend that $20 on whatever you like and photograph your spoils;
3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I'm gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket....

So with $20 in my pocket I headed to my local Savers…

And here is what I found:

I found a lovely old blue book with gold writing for $1.99

The Moon and the Bonfire

A small brass vase for $1.99

Little brass vase

A vintage French drinks tray for $2.99

Vintage French drinks tray

And the pièce de résistance… A 1930’s Sparklets Seltzer Bottle! (We call seltzer soda water her in Oz). Ok, confession, the soda bottle was $24.99 but I couldn’t resist. I’ve never seen one for sale in an op shop before and I knew it would be a fab addition to our bar cart in the sun room. So, yes, I overspent and therefore I cheated. But that’s how I roll.

Sparklets vintage seltzer bottle 2

For step three “Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic” I found the Dookie brown leather jacket.

Dookie brown leather jacket

I also found something amusing that wasn’t mentioned in the song. An old book with a lovely birthday card glued to the inside with a not so lovely message “to my loveable, lazy, little sister”. Lazy? Errr…thanks for that Marcel…

Sweet card inside a gifted bookNot so sweet message inside the card...

I was very happy with my spoils today. I love the blue colour of that book and actually wore a dress of the same colour to a friend’s wedding last week. I love the little brass vase because I am going through a massive gold/copper/brass phase (more on that here) and I love the Sparklets bottle because it’s just awesome and I like to imagine all the glamorous 1930’s cocktail parties it has witnessed. Most of all though, for some reason the vintage tray is my favourite thing. I think it’s all those lovely pastel colours and the fact that since it’s come home with me it now has a new life as cheerful art to adorn the sunroom walls and there is no place more fitting for a former drinks-tray-turned-art than above the bar cart. Happy days.

Vintage drinks tray as art

Sparklets vintage seltzer bottle up closeVintage French drinks tray up close

Thrift shop challenge loot 2



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