transformation: corner shelf

I found this little 3-tier corner shelf outside on trash day. It was in sad shape — the shelf tops were quite damaged and one of the corners was dented, exposing the particle board beneath the finish.

Despite the damage, I couldn’t leave it behind. I loved the ornate shape of the shelf supports and I thought it had potential as a cute accent piece for a child’s room. The size was perfect for small books and treasures. It just needed a little love.

Once I got back to my workshop, I was happy to discover that this shelf came apart completely, which made the process much easier. I gave the shelf supports (not pictured) a light sand with 180 grit sandpaper to ensure that the paint would stick.

The shelves, as I mentioned, were in sad shape:

To smooth out the tops, I used regular wood filler applied in thin, smooth coats. I sanded between coats and kept going until it felt totally smooth to the touch. It took a while. I bought a set of artist’s palette knives (the kind you would use for oil painting) for this purpose, and they were really useful.

Next, I primed the whole piece using Zinsser BIN primer. I did two coats on both sides of the shelves as well as the shelf supports. That primer is a pain to work with, as it dries quickly and can’t be cleaned up with water, but it was the best way to seal the particle board and make sure that the very light paint colour I planned to use would look uniform.

When the primer was dry, I gave it a light sand with 320-grit sandpaper, then wiped it down with a lint-free cloth to get rid of all the dust.

Then it was time to paint! I used House & Canvas chalk furniture paint for this project. It was my first time using this brand and I LOVED it. The shade I used is called Summer Grace, described as “a subtle, pale pink.” I did three coats of paint on all the shelf pieces.

Finally, I reassembled the shelf …

… and took it home to style & photograph it and get it ready to sell!

I love how this piece turned out, and I’m glad I didn’t pass it up due to the damage! With a bit of love and time, I was able to rescue this piece for the garbage and give it a new life as a children’s bookcase.