Looking for a before and after bookcase project? Here’s an amazing one that you can make with a little MDF and a little imagination.
I’m all about a make-over.
So let’s say you are all about a make-over too and someone gave you a cubby bookcase like this and challenged you to transform this cubby bookcase into anything you wanted.
The sky’s the limit.
What would you do?
What about a coffee table? Or a plate storage rack? Or a bench? Or a three-dimensional chalkboard?
Oh good. That’s exactly what I thought, too.
Except I didn’t make any of those things.
…..I made it into this.
I went all old school and made a locker.
If you squint when you look at it you can almost imagine standing by the locker waiting for second period to end because you were waiting for your boyfriend just in case he forgot to order your mum for homecoming and you wanted to describe it in all its glory with the extra ribbons and glitter and your name and the year and you also wanted to make sure that the mum was big.
Oh, wait. What? What’s that you say? This locker reminded you of homework?
I’m not sure what made me think of a locker. I think the bookcase whispered it to me. But when I was planning out the project, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how I was going to do it. I was a little nervous. And undecided.
And worried it would look like cubby bookcase with a comb-over.
How was I going to transform this…..
I could kind of figure out the doors and maybe the hinges and maybe that both doors should open the same way and I could add some casters, but how would I add the handles?
And those numbers?
Where in the world would I find locker numbers?
So I did what all locker builders do. I called a friend to discuss the dilemma. Could I copy them and decoupage them? Could I trace the numbers onto a piece of spray painted wood? Could I just add wooden numbers to the top of the door? Did a locker really even need numbers?
And then my wonderful, incredible friend told me that while I was busy talking and deciding and pontificating…..
….she had already found a set for almost nothing and ordered them for me and they were on the way to my house.
That is a true friend.
If only I had known her in high school.
She might have talked me out of that mum. 🙂
Here’s 411 on the locker project.
1. Start with a cubby
We started this project with a basic cubby.
Any cubby will work. I like this one from Wayfair.
You can find tons of abandoned cubbies at yardsaled.
2. Build a frame
- Next, we built a frame for the bookcase out of MDF.
- The frame is the key into turning it into a locker.
- You can use any different type of wood, but I think MDF works really well for this project.
- MDF has such a smooth finish when you paint it and I didn’t want any grains of a piece of showing through.
Totally not locker-like.
3. Measure and cut pieces
- The bookcase measures 36″ x 24″ and we cut the following pieces to create the frame.
- Two side pieces: 11.6″ x 36″.
- One top piece: 11.6″ x 24″.
- Three frame piece for the front (this is where the doors are going to go): 2″ x 32″.
- Two frame pieces for the top and bottom: 2″ x 24″.
4. Frame out the top and side
- Here’s a closer view of the piece so you can see how they all fit together.
- We framed out the sides and the top first.
- Next, we added the frame to the front.
- All pieces were nailed in place.
5. Add centerpiece
We added the center piece last to make sure everything fit securely.
The center piece also helps stabilize the entire locker.
It also gives you a frame to hang the doors on.
6. Add doors
- Next, we measured the two open spaces for the doors.
- Each door measures approximately 9″ x 32″.
- We didn’t attach the doors yet, because we wanted to spray the piece with paint and primer before attaching the hinges.
- First, we primed the MDF and let it dry.
- Then lightly sanded and sprayed a light coat of SW Mindful Gray.
7. Attach hinges
- After the paint dried we attached the hinges on the left-hand side of each of the doors so they would open the same way.
- We cut an air-conditioning vent in half for the vents on the lockers and attached them to the top and the bottom.
- I found a piece of hardware for the handle and glued a hook onto it.
- And then I glued those locker numbers on.
Those wonderful, glorious, amazing locker numbers that inspired the entire project.
Thank you second period.
Thank you homecoming.
Thank you giant mum.
Thank you whispering bookcase.
I couldn’t have done it without you. 🙂
PS I love that when you open the doors, the cubbies make shelves in each locker.
Good thing I planned it that way. 🙂