Faux Metal Upcycled Shelf

Hello!  It is a beautiful Monday here in Colorado and I have a fun project to share!  My faux metal upcycled shelf.  It was one of my contributor posts at My Repurposed Life over a month ago.

My in laws gave us this shelf about four years ago when we moved to Colorado.  It started out on the wall in my oldest boys room, but when we moved them into a different room it got the ax, and has been collecting dust ever since.  Until now...
Faux Metal Upcycled Shelf

So fun!   Here is a closer look at the shelf before.
I have always loved little drawers and this shelf had some cubbies that were perfect for making some. Let me show you how I did it...
taking apart shelf to modify
First off this shelf had been moved around so much that it was falling apart, so I helped it out a little and  pryed off the side pieces.  Then I cut off the curved ends with my miter saw, making them flush with the top and bottom boards.
adding a middle shelf, to create cubbies
I wanted to make a middle shelf so I could have six drawers.  I measured and cut one to size then used my Gorilla Wood glue and nail gun to secure it (top left photo).  In the middle photo above you can see I glued in the two side dividers.  Then I added more glued to then end pieces and put them back on.  I went around with the nail gun to hold everything in place until the glue dried.
shelf with new divider
This is what I ended up with.  I was ready to make some drawers!
shelf drawer pieces ready for building
Since I have a plethora of scraps left over from my master closet makeover, I was excited to use them for this project.  I set to work measuring, cutting, and sanding, so I had pieces to make a box for each cubby.  Oops!  I forgot to make drawer bottoms...dang!  More measuring, cutting, and sanding...thank goodness only six this time!  I kept the drawer pieces in each cubby that they were measured for, because not all cubbies are created equally. 
Building the drawers
To build, I glue and nail the sides to the bottom, then I am ready for the back piece.
adding a drawer front
Glue is the trick, it is what keeps my boxes strong, the nails are just to hold it while the glue is drying. You can see my drawer or box all built with the front on.  I used 1/4 wood for the fronts, these were scraps from my closet drawer bottoms.  Gotta love those scraps!
adding a thicker top board to the shelf
I thought it needed a little beefing up on the top, so I grabbed a scrap board.  I let it over lap just a little then cut it, glued, and nailed it on.  You can see also that I am trying out some old knobs as feet.  I also did this on another project recently my DIY Corner Fruit Tower.  It is a great way to repurpose outdated knobs.
painting the drawer fronts
Deciding how to paint a project is always the hardest part for me.  I have always loved the look of metal and really went out on a limb and tried the faux metal finish.  I began with painting the drawer fronts white (top left photo) and I didn't make it a great paint job either as you can see on my first drawer.  Then I slapped on some green, blue, and gray on different fronts.
Adding metallic paint over first paint coat
I used a metallic silver craft paint and painted it on pretty randomly.  And finished off with some black accents.
Dry brushing on black over metallic paint
To do the black, I just got a little on my cheap brush and then rubbed most of it off before painting it on my drawer front.  Again I was going for the random, not perfect look.
Painted the shelf
For my shelf I did the same, but skipped the color.  On the left you can see I brushed on some white, and on the right I did the metallic silver, and started with the black accents.
Picture of drawer pulls
I got these drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby and they are only $1.99, but with a coupon it was $1.20 something.  I spray painted them and the "feet" knobs with some oil rubbed bronze.
spray painted drawer pulls attached with gorilla super glue
So you know I love the Gorilla wood glue, well I found a new love!  Their super glue is AWESOME! Normally I hate superglue.  I have only used it from tubes that as soon as you open it the glue comes out too fast and then you have super glue all over, and fingers stuck together.  Or those hard bottles, that you can't even squeeze.  That was not the case with the Gorilla super glue!  I had full control to squeeze out how much I wanted, and it didn't get all over!  I used the tiniest drop and held it for thirty seconds.  DONE, and it was stuck GOOD!  I love it!
Painting numbered stencils
I couldn't resist making number stencils on some contact paper.  I used the same black to paint them on.
adding super glue to back of drawer knob to attach it to drawer front
If you are doing multiple drawer pulls, I suggest making a simple template out of paper.  This one helped me place my knobs in the perfect spot.
That is it!  Now I have a super fun statement piece, that is very useful!
I haven't quite decided where it is going to go, but my kids all have dibs on it...
Faux-Metal-Upcycled-Shelf with drawer open
I mean come on!  Six drawers to hide treasures in...that is what kids love!
Faux Metal Upcycled Shelf close up
I am loving the faux metal finish, even if it isn't perfect it adds a fun touch of industrial.
I also like the hints of color.   So would you have guessed this...
Faux Metal Upcycled Shelf before
Could be as cool as this...?
Faux Metal Upcycled Shelf after
Makes you think twice about old, has beens.  Is there anything you have upcycled lately?

Oh, and one more thing...I had the chance to go to SNAP last week, a blogging conference, it was very cool and I must confess a little overwhelming, but I am so glad I went!  I will have to share a few photos with you!  I will also be sharing how I made the shelves in my sister's closet/laundry room makeover later on this week.  I had wanted to last week but getting out of town for a trip proved to be too much.  To top it off, two days before I left we had to put our dog Buck down, he was the best dog ever!  Talk about heartbreaking, he has been missed so much.  Those first nights I spent lots of time comforting 6 sweet kids that eventually ended up crying themselves to sleep.  Such hard life lessons!  


I will be linking to these parties.



  1. Amazing, as usual. Love the knobs for feet. Pinning.

    p.s. Welcome home friend!

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your sweet pup friend...that is just the worst. I hope you all are managing ok without him and hearts are healing! As for this piece...it is incredible! I love every single thing about it and to see the before shots of this one...it is just mind blowing! Beautiful job on this one Mindi!!!! Wishing you a fantastic week! Nicole xoxo

  3. WOW what a great project. I love that it has the metal sort of look. I love the numbers too. Hugs, jen

  4. I love it! It's great to have this kind of storage in kids rooms, they have so many collections and knit knats!

  5. Love when you can redo and remake something and you sure did a great job on this shelf. You have also done a great tutorial to help others with this project. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  6. Great project Mindi! It really looks like metal. And the numbers are really cool too!

  7. Wow Mindi, impressed the heck out of me! I love everything about this makeover - talk about talent. I'm visiting from the Work It Wednesday Party and so glad I clicked your link.
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  8. This is too cool! I like how your mind sees the potential in things and how you use every single piece of left over wood. :)

    Mindi, so sorry to hear about Buck. *hugs*

  9. Oh my goodness, Mindi, this is unbelievable! Pinning!

  10. Make me one, make me one! But you should keep making those and sell them! Brillant idea and great job. Definitely going to find you on HomeTalk !

  11. Happy Kids if they get to store their treasures in your numbered drawers. Pinned. Love it.

  12. Wow, I never saw that transformation coming, you are so creative! Thanks for sharing at The Makers!

  13. This is pure awesomeness Mindi! You just keep outdoing yourself. It sounds to me like you need to find 5 more similar shelves...one for each kiddo! They would make nice Christmas presents ;)

    So sorry to hear about Buck. We have had our share of pets die and it is always so heartbreaking. Keeping you kids in my prayers for healing. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays.


  14. love the shelves so cool thanks for sharing visiting from flaunt it friday have a great weekend

  15. I am so impressed! You did a fantastic job on this- I love how it turned out!

  16. I remember this! you did a fantastic job, and I love the drawers

  17. WOW this is gorgeous! Featuring later today, thanks for linking up!

  18. Whoa! I had no idea you started with a wooden shelf! Great step by step tutorial too!

    Pinning to our Party Board!

    Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us at Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party!

    ~ Ashley

  19. Really cute!!! Love the paint treatment!


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