I have a love/hate relationship with this bookcase.

I love it because….well….because it’s a bookcase.

And I hate it because most of the time it looks like this…..festooned with a random deer head that needs to be fixed and put into the gallery wall and extension poles that need to be added to the chandelier and left over fabric from the kitchen….

….and a random number three that needs a one, two and four.

I know….right?

The catch-all.

The stopping place.

The stomping grounds for all unfinished projects.

Until now.


Now it looks like this.


And this.

I added galvanized yard sale bins and books and magazines and a little of this and a little of that….

….and some fun decorative plate holders.

When I bought them they were brown.

Dark brown.


Ain’t nobody got time for brown with all the pink and orange and white.  On this bookcase they would stick out like a sore thumb.  But with a little scrapbook paper and some creativity….

….now they look like this:


So much better.

I’m going to tell you how I made them….but more importantly….I’m going to tell you what not to do when you make these.

Trust me….the what not to do is so much more important.

Not that anyone around here….

…..might have done any of the “what not to do.”

No way.  

No how.

This is a professional blog with professional plate holder makers.

It’s all just strictly hypothetical. 🙂


How to Make Decorative Plate Holders


plate holder

scrap-book paper

decoupage medium

X-Acto knife



Here’s what to do:

Step 1:  Unscrew the hinges from the back of the plate holder.

Step 2:  Spray paint holder white.  Let dry.

Step 3:  Trace around the plate holder on the scrap-book paper.  Cut two pieces.

Reverse plate holder.  Trace again.  Cut two pieces.

Step 4:  Decoupage the pieces onto the plate holder.  Let dry.

Use an X-Acto knife to trim any excess pieces from the edges of the plate holder.

Step 5:  Re-attach hinges.

Simple enough….right?

That’s exactly what I thought, too. 🙂


Here’s what not to do:

1.  Don’t forget to put the screws and the hinges in a safe place.  The screws are tiny.  Don’t ever think you can just leave them on the table.  Never.  Don’t spend twenty minutes trying to find the tiny screw on the floor.  And don’t forget to bring your magnifying glass.

2.  Don’t forget to reverse the plate holder when you are tracing on the scrap-book paper.  Don’t cut out four pieces that are all facing the same direction.  Don’t forget you need two pieces on each side.

3.  Don’t forget to use a credit card or something else stiff to get out all the bubbles when you decoupage.  Don’t stop to watch the season premier of Survivor and think those bubbles will disappear on their own.  And when the bubbles dry in place….don’t think you can just cut them with scissors and decoupage them down.  And don’t even think about cutting another piece to fit exactly over the spot you messed up on.



4.  And lastly….don’t get in a hurry.  Don’t turn the decoupaged plate holder over to start on the other side before the first side dries.  And if you happen to do this….don’t think you can just sand off the brown craft paper…..

….and call the project distressed decorative plate holders.


Just don’t.


If you steer clear of the don’ts…’s a fun and easy project.

You can customize it with any color or pattern you want.

And it’s perfect for a bookcase or space where it can be seen from both sides.

I’m all about this bookcase now….

….and my super distressed plate holders. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Cheryl at Snaps of Ginger Cheryl at Snaps of Ginger

    I think you just validated my whole existance as a crafter/DIY-er... I am not the only one these things happen to. Is there a club we can join? If not, can we form a club ourselves? Despite the setbacks, this project is fabulous!! Such a little detail that makes a big difference. ~Cheryl

  2. Image for Gloria Gloria

    Absolutely brilliant post! Rarely do DIY instructional posts include the don'ts. A good teacher will always point out possible hazards. I love this idea for kids room. Fun!

  3. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    As made me laugh! This is truly a "what not to do" post...and I would have done all the what not to do's! Especially the losing of the screws! Trust me on this! Have a great Friday...snow's a coming! ;)

  4. Image for Laura Laura

    Karianne - help me understand what the panel of white with pink sprig motif is. Did you cover magazine holders and make it look like a pix. NEED MORE INFO. I'm hanging here...hehe

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    All of my DIY projects go completely smoothly and without hiccups ... not! Thanks for the laugh in 'fessing up your boo boos to us. These looks great and may give me ideas ... oh, BTW, if your bookcase is the only place where you absorb clutter in your home, you are doing WAY better than the rest of us!

  6. Image for Karen K Karen K

    Oh, don't we all know that nothing ever goes according to plan, so thank you for the heads up!! What I REALLY want to know is where did you find such large plate holders? I have been searching for the large ones & have yet to find some. Thank you for brightening my day!

  7. Image for Zolane Zolane

    I LOVE THESE! This idea ranks right up there with the creation of Post-it Notes!!! Once again, you make something that I can look at for years, then sell at a yard sale because it doesn't go with my colors...etc., etc. Thank you for the inspiration! Have a great weekend:)

  8. Image for Arleen Arleen

    Talented and funny! Your great! When I started to read your post about a drop off place I thought of a friend. She had a beautiful dining room. She was always complaining about the kids and husband using the table for a drop off for school books, car keys, and coats. She could never find the table . This was my suggestion. Get a box, cover it in a pretty wrapping paper and put it in the corner of the room. As they dropped their things, put then in the box. When they need their things you just have to the box. She only needed the box for a few weeks..clean dining room again.

  9. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    Very cute plate holders! Personally, I would just bust out my spray paint and call it good :) I admire that you took the time to make them cute and special! Have an amazing weekend!

  10. Image for Cherie Cherie

    KariAnne, it looks great! I bought those galvanized bins last summer on clearance at Lowe's and am STILL waiting for the right place to use them. :) The pillow on your chair is what really caught my eye. Where did you get it? I am doing a living room for a client that it would be absolutely perfect in. Can you help me?


    I am laughing. Lost so many hardware on the floor, had to use a magnet to find them. Your plate holders are very striking and the Bookcase looks great.

  12. Image for Debra Debra

    No joke - I think I have probably more that 50 plate holders. And I have lots of scrapbook paper because I thought it was cute and never really had any plans for it. Just bought it because I liked crazy is that? What a clever idea you have come up with. So basically, I need to get busy!! Great idea and thanks for sharing.

  13. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love that idea! I just plain old paint mine sometimes, but that just bumps it up a notch. VERY cute and copycat-able. (If that isn't a word. It ought to be.)

  14. Image for Judy C. Judy C.

    Such a great idea. I have several plate holders in browns and blacks that I never even thought of painting. Now I can paint some and paper some. Thanks so much.

  15. Image for Judy C. Judy C.

    You can always make something decorative out of the most unusual items. Do you have a solution for recycling cat litter boxes? We have gathered several 20 lb. and 35 lb. empty litter containers and can't bear to just throw them away. We use them to store items in the garage (grass seed, potting soil, etc.) but was hoping for something "cuter". Thanks for any suggestions.

  16. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Brilliant! I'm so doing this...this weekend! Buh-bye ugly brown plate holders lurking on every shelf in my house!!! (My first time to actually comment, but a "faithful" follower) :)

  17. Image for Tanya@takesix Tanya@takesix

    Oh goodness... My favourite saying is "Why do things have to be so difficult!" This is such a cute project! I think I have a plate holder just like that...going to go on a hunt! Thanks so much! :)

  18. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Great idea! Thanks for steering me clear of all the things that I would probably do if not for your warnings. :)

  19. Image for Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle

    Oh, I know . . . I soooo know! It's those little projects, the ones you're going whip up in a flash. Them's the ones you have to look out for! We've all been there (me . . . many times). But with you, once again, such a nice look in the end. Thanks for sharing. Nice weekend to all.

  20. Image for Jill Jill

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for putting books on a bookshelf. So often sites show bookshelves as design elements not as a functional element. By the way the bins are fabulous and will be great for hiding the extras like the deer head and the bits of fabric. The plate holder is so cute! And thank you for the fine points of design on your oops list. And if you were watching the Survivor premiere at the same time.....well your lucky it's not glued to the table! Come on some group of Brains the producers selected! And the last 10 minutes! All I can say is holy cannoli they are all in for an exciting season! Bahahahaha!

  21. Image for Deborah Deborah

    You made my day! I have these plate holders in all sizes...never thought to paint them, let alone decopodge them. Love the book shelf ! Thank you for being so generous and sharing your projects.

  22. Image for Charotte @ Charlotte's Chair Charotte @ Charlotte's Chair

    I love the pops of color next to your whites! You so make me want to paint my walls white! Love the post!

  23. Image for Shirl' Anderson Shirl' Anderson

    Oh my gosh do you know how many of those plate holders I have from the past? What a neat idea to change them up. You are always an inspiration dear girl.

  24. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Oh my gosh, everything looks so gorgeous. I would have been patting myself on my own back if I had just managed to spray paint them and not botch it completely. Great job.

  25. Image for Danna Danna

    Love the idea especially when you want the plate holder in another color…just paint and add paper! Could you tell me where you got your colorful pillow (in chair with orange, pink, yellow) with tassels. Would so love to have that pillow. Thanks.

  26. Image for Karen Karen

    Thank you for my chuckle of the day :-) I LOVE the plate holders. Thank you for sharing the how to's with us. I will definitely try this on my plate holders.

  27. Image for Lin Lin

    The bookshelf looks marvelous and I love your idea for the plate holders! I could just see you looking around the floor trying to find those tiny screws and your face when you made all four cut-outs the same (believe me, I would do the same)! Your story sure made me smile.

  28. Image for Jo Jo

    I just love reading your posts. You always make me smile or laugh aloud and I need that a lot. Love your plate holders, they turned out great! Hugs, Jo ♥ Shop 3 Twenty Crafts ♥ ♥ Jo's Scrap Shack ♥

  29. Image for Kathy Dohack Kathy Dohack

    I love it when you show us how you have struggles just like the rest of us. We are human. I pretty much live on trial and error so this makes me feel sooooooo much better. Thanks, and once more I love your humor and wit.

  30. Image for Shirley Shirley

    As a long-time crafter, I can soo appreciate those 'don'ts'!! This is such a cute project, glad I came over to see it from Pinterest, so I could read your post. Love your writing style!

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