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Door Repurposed (Bookshelf)





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ripping a door on a table sawI ripped this old door on my table saw with the help of a neighbor.  This was a solid and very heavy door, impossible to handle by myself.

how to rip a door on a table saw
repair damaged doorAfter I ripped it I needed to do a little repair on it. Some of the dowels were cut in half.

using painters tape as a clamp I replaced the dowels, glued  and taped them in place.

weathered door This door had many layers of paint. I decided to let mother nature help me “weather” the paint off. I actually cut the door at the end of April, and here it is October and this project is finally completed.  FYI I do not recommend this method of stripping paint.

chippy door When it got to this point I used a paint stripper to remove the remnants of paint.

repairing door Then I sanded it. Because I had left it out in the weather for so long some of the joints needed to be fixed.

repairing a door with Gorilla Wood Glue I glued the loose joints with Gorilla Wood Glue.
red oops paintI was lucky enough to find some pink Kilz in the oops bin at Home Depot. ($5.00)
primered door This is after one coat of primer,  I ended up  putting on  two coats of primer.
how to door bookshelf
I also found a really pretty red “oops” paint at Home Depot.
make a shelf from a doorI laid the two pieces on the driveway and began designing the configuration of the shelves.
making a shelf out of an old door The first step was to attach a top and a bottom.  I always use wood glue and drywall screws.
old door into shelfThe plywood I used for the top, bottom and shelves all came from the cull bin at Home Depot.  The cull bin is leftover cuts in the lumber department. Think of it as the “oops” area of lumber. My Home Depot’s prices range from .51 cents to $4.01.  I used two pieces of cull bin plywood that cost me .51 cents each.
old door book shelfTo attach the shelves I used a Kreg Jig® R3 ,  you can see how easy it is to use in my post titled, DIY Corner Cupboard.
old door shelvesWhen you are building something like this you need to make sure your shelves are level. But more important you need to make sure the ground/floor you’re working on is level first!
make a book shelf out of an old door It is shaping up, and it is very heavy.
repurposed old doorI used two scrap pieces of cull bin luan (.51 each)  for the back. One piece runs from the top all the way to the last shelf. I joined the other piece of luan in the center of the bottom shelf. From the back you can see that it is pieced, but from the front it is not noticeable.  I told you I DIY on the cheap, that means I’m a “use what you have” kind of girl.
adding trim to repurposed door book shelfFor the bottom trim I used some scrap molding I bought at one of our local Peddler’s Malls.
torilla wood glue For the top molding I used crown molding.
repurposing and old door I found that it was easiest to paint it on its side while up on saw horses.  I used primer on the new wood. (2 coats)
repurposed door into a bookshelf This is the top.
red door bookshelf After 1 coat of red. You know those drop cloths everyone uses for curtains and upholstery?  They make great drop cloths too!
red door makes a great bookcaseI chose not to fill in the hinge mortises.
pottery barn inspired book shelf I haven’t measured the height of this piece, but it seems like it is taller than a standard door.
how to turn a door into a bookshelf I put the last coat of paint on it while it was upright. I painted the top, bottom and the back of this piece.
old door hardware I located two door knob  plates in my stash. I’m pretty sure they were the original pieces off of this door. I stripped the paint off of them.
old door hardware on a bookcase This is how they looked after I cleaned them up from the paint stripper.  Before attaching them to the door I sanded them with a sanding sponge which makes it easier to get into the crevices.
door repurposed bookshelf I never really put much thought into how TALL this piece was going to be. It really is big.
door into bookshelf I love how the door knob plates turned out. Chippy is good, but sometimes I don’t want chippy.
old door bookshelf The door is old and has a few flaws, but I think it’s age adds character. I think about how many times it was slammed by young’ns running in and out.  I think about how it may have been adorned for Christmas, and Autumn.
repurposed door This is the first piece of furniture I have ever painted RED, but something tells me it won’t be the last.
old door project
how to build a shelf Check out my blog today and I’ll show you how to change up cheap yard sale vases with spray paint.
white glass
white frames
repurposed door
tall red bookshelf
old door bookshelf What do you think?  Do you repurpose found items like  I do?  It really is fun to think outside the box. It can be challenging at times, but I love it!
Know what the best part is?  I’ve already sold this piece. Two young girls came by in a SUV!  I was so shocked that it actually FIT in that vehicle.



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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. fantastic!!! you are amazing woman!!!!

  2. I absolutely LOVE the red color! It really pops. And, I noticed the door is real wood, not hollow. That makes it extra sturdy. Now, we need lots of small craft ideas on how to fill all those shleves!

  3. Great job! You put alot of hard work into this piece and it turned out great. If your readers wanted to try to do something similar but lack the table saw to rip a full-size door, there is an alternative. Bi-fold doors can also be found in solid wood. These would allow the builder to have two door panels on each side without cutting and would provide extra materials. They wouldn’t be the old door like you used, but they could accomplish a similar look by adding the old hardware. Some hardware stores still carry the old hardware if it can’t be found. I know it is carried by most Ace stores, but is only available in a shiny brass. Just wanted to throw out that alternative for those who can’t go into a big project due to lack of tools or space (apartment). You did a fantastic job and loved the detailed instructions. Thanks for sharing this.

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:


      I appreciate your input. You make a great point. I wish I had some bifolding doors in my stash right now, I think I need to hit up the Habitat ReStore! :)


  4. What a creative idea! I would have been nervous to go with such a bold color but it is truly beautiful. Great work

  5. Love the shelf, and your curtious reply to someone who didn’t exactly earn a curtious reply, but I have learned that you learn more about someone by what they say about someone else than you do about the person they are talking about. So kudo’s to you. I have a suggestion for paint removal. Buy a heat gun and a good scraper. They cost about the same as a gallon of paint striper and last for years ( I’ve had mine for over 10 years) then you don’t have all the mess or smell of bad chemicals and it is amazing how well the paint just bubbles up. I scrape off as much as I want off and then lightly sand the residue. Anyway it has worked well for me. Thanks for sharing.

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:


      Thank you for your very kind comment. :) I have recently acquired a paint gun, but I’ve never used it to remove paint. I look forward to putting it to the test. Stop by the home page this week to enter LOTS of fabulous giveaways! almost $2000.00 as I celebrate four years of blogging.


  6. I love what you have done with the doors. I have a few that I am considering turning into a corner shelf, but I am not sure if the old paint on them is lead based…do you have any suggestions?

  7. woodNfish says:

    I like the way this piece looks, but the fact that you only glued it together and did not use any mechanical fasteners proves that beauty is only skin deep. I expect the girls who bought it to discover the poor build quality of your shelf the hard way. Shame on you. Thrifty is one thing, downright cheap is another.

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:

      Apparently you didn’t read my entire post. I used screws and wood glue. We all know that wood glue is what really holds a piece together in the long run. I used pocket hole screws for the shelves, this piece was built to last.

  8. how much did it sell for?

  9. And here I thought our door shelves were an original idea! I had never seen it done before. Huh. Our shelves were actually an after-thought, to the shoe storage bench we made. ( http://houseofjoyfulnoise.com/doors-to-storage-literally/ )
    I love the bold red color! I thought you were going to distress it down to reveal some pink. How funky that would have been. lol. No surprise this sold right away.

  10. Really a great way to reuse a piece that would otherwise be wasted! Very inspiring, thanks for sharing :)


  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Gail for the Inspiration you are giving me. Today especially has been a hard day so I sat down to browse your site and read some past Blogs and I am already feeling better. I want to and will do an old door piece like this one day. Thanks so much for the step by step pics. Got my feel good on now thanks to you:) Have a GREAT weekend. barbhearts@aol.com

  12. Great project! We have a couple of doors sitting around and trying to decide what to do with them, so this might be the project we go with!


  13. It is absolutely gorgeous!! I love the red! I never think outside the box like this…I wish I were more original.

  14. GAH! I love this. I want one now 😉

  15. great work!!! I love old doors!

  16. It’s absolutely terrific! Amazing job! Thanks for stopping by and linking to Anything Related!

  17. This is such a beautiful use of old junk that might have otherwise been taking up space in a landfill somewhere. I always love the post where someone has reused something rather than just buying new. Beautiful and good for the environment. Love it.
    April @ HomeHinges.com

  18. Oh Gail ~ that turned out awesome!! There is an old door in the dumpster next door & I’ve been begging my husband to go get it. I wish we had to the tools to do what you did. So cool! Great job & love the color, too. And yes, the doorknob plates really put the icing on the piece. :o)

  19. Wow, great job! I wish I had that much initiative today.

  20. You never cease to amaze me! I’m so impressed with this and the toddler bed! How great! Keep up the good work!:)

  21. I love this! So unique. I just painted a headboard & bookshelf red this week & it really is a great color.

  22. Beautiful!! I LOVE tall shelves ~ it’s always hard to find super tall ones. And I just love the hardware too!

  23. You’re amazing ~ what a fun piece you created! I love the color, too. You continue to inspire me to “see” the new piece that every old piece can become :)

  24. this piece is fabulous on so many different levels! I love it!

  25. Golly Gee Gail–that is gorgeous. I would have had a tough time getting rid of that fun peeling paint, put since you had to use new wood for shelves get you had to do it. The results are beautiful!

  26. I so enjoy seeing your projects! I am not handy with tools, but I can paing and seeing your projects helps me broaden my vision and see things differently and potential where there was none before.
    I have to say I love your blog and I love the name of it. I am sure there is a backstory behind it!

  27. WOW! No seriously, WOW! This is gorgeous, no wonder someone stopped and wanted it right away! I would love to do something like this… but how would you do the shelves if you didn’t have a Kreg Jig?

  28. I love your Red Door Bookcase. I love red furniture. I don’t think I would be able to give up a piece of furniture for sale after I worked so hard on it.

  29. I saw this on Infarrantly Creative and was totally blown away. It made me subscribe to your blog. I think this is absolutely gorgeous and awesome and you are a freaking genius for thinking of it and doing it! :)


  30. Good Gravy girl – that is AWESOME!!! You know – in Texas you might have had to duck for sanding the perfectly peeling paint off… but I LOVE LOVE the red!!! LOL

    I wonder if the people down the street with a gorgeous front door would notice it missing…. hmmmmm….

    ;-D xoxo

  31. Gail,, you always inspire and amaze me.. You give me hope that O N E day I will finish the dresser-to-tv stand redo that I started last year. I love everything about this shelf. So glad you sold it too. Thats always nice if you can make something($) from something you made.. have a great week.

  32. One more thing… Have you ever considered getting into politics? I’d like someone like you running our country. Someone with imagination and the ability to get things done. Someone who can refurbish, redo at very little cost. Yes, you are just the kind of person we need. ;o) Please consider it.

  33. Goodness me. I love it just as much the second time as I did the first. Maybe more.

  34. Absolutely GORGEOUS (as always!!) Thanks so much for showing us how to do the trim/crown molding — it really adds to the shelf! And I love the hardware you added too! Great job, Gail!

  35. Never in a million years could my imagination take me from beginning to end with a project like that. I wish I had half your vision. I love that shelf. It’s amazing!!!

  36. You never cease to amaze me! That is one beautiful piece you created there. Love the red and I’m with you – the cleaned up door knob plates really added some class to the piece. It would have been hard for me to part with it!

  37. Bonus it sold… that was a gorgeous piece Gail. You totally rocked that. I loved the red also. I am with Rose too bad you didn’t get a chance to enjoy it a little longer. I knew I should have stole some doors from Rose…lol

    Have a great day Gail…

    Hugs, Deb

  38. I know I should be happy you sold it, but it makes me sad that it’s gone already…I love that piece! Gonna have to try my hand at one of these soon!
    Congrats on your sale.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!