upcycled lego display shelf using a wine rack on the happy list
decorating,  DIY

Wine Rack Upcycled Into a Display Shelf

A million years ago when Handy Husband and I grew up and started purchasing real furniture, we bought a buffet table for our dining room that included a built-in wine rack.

Here it is in our last house. I miss that old house, by the way.

Turns out we prefer a mixed drink over wine in this house and the wine we did keep on hand was properly stored in a wine fridge.

The wine rack has bugged me, off and on, for YEARS. First, half of this piece of furniture is a waste of space. Second, that thing is a dusting nightmare. Third, it looks dumb without wine.

I’ve wanted to take the wine rack out and put something else in its place. A shelf, perhaps? Alas, it became one of those honey-do chores that was put on the way back burner. Until a couple of months ago when I brought it up again. I’m fairly predictable like that. Timing is everything, right?

In this case, the timing was exactly 7 minutes before we had to walk out the door for school.

Of all the places and all the times, THAT is when Handy Husband decided it really was possible to remove the wine rack without damaging the sides of the buffet. I’m trying to get the kids’ shoes and socks on because we REALLY HAVE TO LEAVE and Handy Husband is in the kitchen beating on the buffet with a hammer.

Guess who got the job done faster? That’s right…after YEARS of dragging our feet regarding this project, it turns out it took less time to remove the wine rack than it does for our offspring to put their shoes and socks on.

Why did we wait so long? Why did we do start this project when we no longer have power tools to transform the space? Why can’t my children put velcro shoes on quickly and without whining?

So many whys. But I was so thankful it was finally done! HURRAY!!!

You know what’s going to happen next, right? I just could not let that discarded wood go to waste.

When I got back from dropping the kids off at school, I started playing around with all of those pieces of wood. It was a bit of a puzzle since the pieces were different lengths and some had been damaged during hammer-palooza. I realized I could put them back together in a grid pattern (squares instead of diamonds) to make a display shelf. All it would require was a little trimming to get the pieces down to size.

Normally, I would reach for any sort of saw with a power cord for this project, but we sold all of those before we moved to Ireland. Back to basics then! I took out the hand saw and trimmed the wood pieces down to size.

It took forever a good long while, I must admit.

I sanded the rough spots and my little helper helped me pull out nails that had attached the rack to the edges of the buffet.

The notched pieces fit together nice and tight, so no nails or screws were needed to hold my new creation together.

When all of that was done, I added some trim paint to jazz things up.

I had enough scrap pieces to make two display racks – one for each kid’s room! They were different sizes, but that actually couldn’t have worked out better.

I installed the tall, narrow shelf in my son’s room. It is currently displaying some of his favorite Lego characters.

I used Command Strips to affix the shelves to the wall and even after a sleepover, wrestling, Nerf gun wars and the kids rearranging their collections multiple times, the shelves have stayed put.

I love it when these things work out. (Knock on wood)

You’ll notice that this shelf (and the one coming up in my daughter’s room) are hung low to the ground. That’s because my kids (ages 7 and 10) sit on the floor to play with their toys, so having the display shelves at “their level” encourages them to use the shelves for storage AND imaginative play.

This is not a project that I would normally make for myself. I’m not into having lots of teeny tiny tchotchkes to dust and display around my home. But my kids are! (Well, not the dusting part. That’s just something mom makes them do. Can you believe moms are so mean?)

Kids come with stuff though and right now my kids are into tiny things like Legos and Littlest Pet Shop. I’m cool with this because they spend hours in their make-believe worlds, but I do prefer when their stuff has a home.

We live in a small house, so I’m learning to get creative with how I solve storage issues. In this case, the walls have to work harder.

We’ve been living with these display shelves for awhile now and they’ve made a huge difference in keeping clutter off the floor. Not ALL the clutter, mind you. Real life here!

My daughter likes to make videos with her LPS (Littlest Pet Shop) and her display is constantly evolving as her characters come off the shelf to make their theatrical debut.

I’ve noticed my son’s display shelf has changed from Matchbox cars to Legos. It’s fun to see how they take ownership of their spaces when given the opportunity to organize and decorate.

So that’s the story of how I upcycled a wine rack into a display shelf for tchotchkes.

You’re probably wondering what I ended up doing with that gorgeous, new, empty space in the buffet.

Nothing. A big fat nothing.

I spent years dreaming about it and now I’m stuck. Such is my life. When I do figure it out, I’ll be happy to share.

P.S. This is how I hung my daughter’s guitar on the wall. She uses it a few times a week and the hanging hack is still going strong. The rainbow butterfly art was made by me.

P.P.S. The wood arrow in my son’s room was made by us using scrap wood. The display shelf over his dresser is a silverware holder.

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