, pub-2553055199230800, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
top of page

Bookcase Makeover

This is the tale of a bookcase/shelving unit that wasn't supposed to be a project. It all began one weekend when I sold six pieces of furniture in two different locations from my antique booths. I have a lot of project pieces but not very many pieces that are "booth ready"—meaning they are in a condition that they could just go in my booth without any additional work being done to it. I was in desperate need of booth ready pieces. Fortunately, I was just getting ready to embark on the 127 Yard Sale, also know as the World's Longest Yard Sale. The 127 Yard Sale runs on highway 127 through six states (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama) for over 690 miles. It is always the first weekend in August. We usually go down to Alabama and start working our way north.

We had just started our journey in Gadsden, Alabama when I spied this bookcase in a yard along the road. I had had a couple of bookcases like this in my booth before and they are handy for displaying items in a booth. The shelves are a good distance and the divided compartments make it easy to stage.

bookcase, garage sale, makeover

The man running the yard sale told me he would make me a great deal on it (and it was the first day/first hour!)—clearly he wanted it gone. He named a good price but I was hesitating because we had literally just started out that morning and it was a big piece to put in the van. You have to wonder if there were better options out there! I mean it was the first mile of a 690 mile trip. And it was pretty dirty, but it did look like it would clean up easily. While I was mulling it over, I asked him about the price of this buttocks basket. He said he would toss it in for free if I took the shelf—and he said he would load the shelf into our van. SOLD.

I mean, getting a basket for free that was well worth the price I paid for the shelf. Done and done.

buttocks basket

Buttocks baskets date back to the 19th century and early 20th century and were most commonly used to gather eggs because of its unique shaped bottom. It's called a buttocks basket because of the shape!

I will do a post soon showing all my treasures from the trip. I usually do it daily from the road, but I just didn't do it this year. When we returned from the sale, I really wanted to get this bookshelf in my booth in Nappanee. I started to clean it with ZEP all purpose cleaner and then this happened....

bookcase, paint stripping, makeover

The paint (two coats—a white and a cream/tan color) started peeling off like sheets of wallpaper. Arrrrggggghhhhhh! I so did not want this to become a project. So I thought, if it is coming off so easily, maybe I should just remove all the paint, sand it and re-stain it. All of this came off within 15 minutes so I thought the rest would be easily removable. Oh, the best laid plans....

bookcase, shelves, paint stripping, makeover

So after a couple of days of peeling paint off of this, I was left with this. Some of the paint wouldn't come off and some of the wood had been damaged and had been repaired with wood filler, which is probably why the former owners had painted it. The back board is plywood and the area at the top of the photo was gouged out and the paint wouldn't easily come off. NOTE: The shelf is upside down in this photo so that area is actually at the bottom of the piece. I decided at this point just to sand it down and repaint it.

chalk painted bookcase

I began painting the piece. I used Waverly Chalk Paint in the Moss color. I almost had the first coat on and then the skies opened up and let loose. I was painting outside so I hustled and got the piece back inside my workshop. The next day I came back to the workshop and this is what the paint looked like where the raindrops had hit it. I was just hoping that the second coat would cover it. Thankfully it did. I didn't want to have to sand down the paint to get rid of those spots.

I finished the first coat and then added a second coat.

chalk paint, Waverly, chalk paint, makeover

distressed chalk paint

I distressed the edges with with 60 grit sandpaper. I wanted to make it look like the paint had been there for a while. After the distressing, I wiped down the piece with a wet cloth to remove the dust. I sealed the entire piece with Varathane Crystal Clear polyurethane in a satin finish.

Waverly chalk paint, moss green, makeover bookcase

I really like how the polyurethane coating enriches the color of the paint.

Waverly chalk paint, bookcase makeover, staging, props

This piece is going in my booth, but I wanted to stage it to show off the versatility of the piece. Fall decor and copper pieces look particularly good on this piece. The red books (a set of Louisa May Alcott books) really pop on the green as well.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you would like to see more, follow me on Facebook, Instagram,and Pinterest! Just click on any of the social media links above! Thanks for following me on the junking adventures!

Below are some links to products I used in this project. Disclaimer: Junk is My Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

amazon store link

Below is an image to pin to Pinterest if you would like to save this idea!

bookcase makeover


Rachel Granholm
Rachel Granholm
Aug 23, 2023

Your shelf turned out so pretty!! I love the color that you chose. That is such a fun backstory, as well!! Rachel from The Antiqued Journey

Replying to

Thank you Rachel!


Allyson Lauder
Allyson Lauder
Aug 21, 2023

What a huge difference in the before and after! I love the moss green you chose. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty. Allyson @ Southern Sunflowers

Replying to

Thank you Allyson!

bottom of page