How To Make Unique Wall Unit From Upcycled Drawers

Using Upcycled Drawers to Make Sweet Bathroom Storage

I love it when I have one of my little EUREKA moments. I had one the other day.
I’d been looking for some extra storage in my bathroom and hadn’t liked anything I’d seen in the shops. Also, I didn’t really want to spend much money. There are a lot of things I’d rather spend my money on and bathroom storage isn’t on the list!
The EUREKA moment came when I realized that I could make my own shelving unit by upcycling an old drawer. And I had just the drawer for the job. I’d rescued it from a skip (dumpster) because I loved it’s pretty blue drawer pull.
The drawer had been sitting in the bike shed for the past six months getting in my husband’s way. Therefore, he was a happy bunny when I finally got around to recycling the old drawer.
I’m super chuffed with how my upcycled drawers storage turned out. I think it looks really sweet in the upstairs bathroom. I also got to keep that lovely blue drawer pull that made me rescue it from the skip (dumpster) in the first place.
How to easily turn upcycled drawers into a handy sweet bathroom wall cabinet.
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What you need to make an upcycled drawers wall unit


Tools used

  • Electrical sander – You can of course sand by hand if you have the patience.
  • Hand saw
  • Screw driver
  • Paint and glue brushes
  • Drill for mounting it to the wall.


How to turn a drawer into a wall shelf

Preparing the wood

  1. I loved the look of the drawer and wanted to keep the chippy painted front and the lovely blue handle as it was. With hot soapy water, give the drawer a good clean inside and out.

  3. When the drawer is dry sand the unpainted wood sides, inside and out. No need to sand the base of the drawer as this will be decoupaged.
    Old drawer upcycle sanding s

  5. To give the newly sanded wood an antique feel cover with dark furniture wax using a lint free cloth. Then wipe off excess and buff.

  7. Using a clear furniture wax this time, wax and buff the front of the drawer and handle.

    Decoupaging the back

  9. As the cupboard was specifically for my bathroom I wanted to give it a nautical/water feel. That is why I decided to decoupage the back of the cupboard with some gorgeous vintage Whale gift wrap. Also the blue in the paper went really well with the blue drawer pull.

  11. The chances that your gift wrap sheet will fit the drawer back exactly are remote. Look at the pattern on your paper and decide how you will cut it to fit the back. Make sure that the piece you end up with is exactly the same dimensions as the drawer base.
  12. Cover the drawer base and the back of your paper in a thin layer of mod podge. I use a big brush for this. Leave the glue for a minute to dry slightly but make sure it’s still tacky.

  14. Next stick the paper to the base. Brushing with a cloth or roller as you go to squeeze out any air bubbles.
    Decoupage drawer base

  16. Once the mod podge is dry. Using a big brush cover the front of your paper with a layer of mod podge. This will appear white, but don’t worry as it will dry clear. This layer of mod podge acts like a varnish and will protect the decoupage.
    mod podge varnish layer

    Making a shelf for your upcycled drawers

  18. For the final part, make a little shelf to turn your upcycled drawers into a little wall unit. Firstly cut a piece of scrap wood to fit the inside width of the drawer.

  20. Sand and paint your shelf with chalk paint. Once it is dry then seal it with the clear furniture wax.


  22. Then to fit the shelf use the little picture eyelets to hold it in place. The eyelets will screw very easily into the wood sides. You will need 2 on each side of the shelf to hold it up.
    fitting shelf for cupboard

That’s it! All you need to do now is the fit it to the wall. I did this by placing a screw in each corner and screwing it directly into the wall.
Upcycled drawers to make some unique and quirky furniture for your walls.  You can decoupage paper on the back to suit your room.  This one was for a bathroom hence the Whales.
I am so pleased with how this upcycled drawer has turned out. It looks fabulous in our upstairs bathroom and now actually gives what was a rather boring bathroom a bit of character.
Using upcycled drawers to make a really handy but sweet wall cabinet for a bathroom.
I will be on the look out for more drawers in skips (dumpsters) to make more of these handy little shelf units for other places in my home. Cavallini make so many different gorgeous decorative papers I will have plenty to choose for my next one. In fact, I have my eye on some vintage bird paper.
How to make a handy wall cabinet from an upcycled drawer.
 DIY Bathroom wall cabinet made from a recycled old drawer.

If you like this then you may want to check out my other upcycling projects using vintage graphics.
Best Chalk Paint Cupboard Upcycle
Best Ikea Lamp hack
How to Make a Map Table


57 Responses

  1. What a great beachy vibe on this shelf. It turned out beautiful. Maria

  2. I am from THE #UPCYCLESHARIN50K group, I love all the crafty diy projects your all do very talented. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is so beautiful! Makes a perfect shelf.

  4. You did a wonderful job on this wall unit. I love taking old furniture and redoing to make it your own style. Upcycling is always a great way to save money too. Congratulations on being featured on #GoingGreenLinky. Shared on twitter & pinned. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

  5. This is awesome and I 100% love it 💚 . I recently ended up with 2 drawers from a wardrobe we had to replace and I turned them into large seed trays.

    Thank you so much for joining in with #GoingGreen and I hope you will be there again when the next one opens on July 3rd

  6. This is brilliant! What a great way to reuse an old draw. I particularly love the whales. #GoingGreenLinky

  7. Love this idea! A gal after my own heart❤️

  8. What a great way to use this old drawer, a fabulous bit of skip raiding! That wrapping paper is a great find, I’ll have to check out the other designs they have.

    • Thanks, Julie. Cavallini has loads of fantastic wrapping papers, I can’t resist them I’ve just ordered a whole load more off eBay.

  9. Lucy Blossom

    A fabulous project

  10. I have a bathroom in desperate need of something like this, thank you for the inspiration. So happy that you joined us again this week at Celebrate Your Story.

  11. Claire that would look perfect in my space since I’m going through my blue phase. Oh and I also have a fisherman at home so he would appreciate the fish backdrop! I love the deep blue color of the shelf.

    • Thank you, it would look good with your blue chairs and table but I’m afraid you’re not having it.

  12. Clever idea for additional storage! It looks great!Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

  13. Ooh Claire I love a good drawer upcycle project, and I adore how your turned out! The vintage decoupage images are just super, I could totally see this piece in my house. Great job and thanks for sharing your project at #FridaysFurnitureFix!

  14. Jen

    Thanks for linking up with Be Clean Be Green With Kids this week. Seriously such a good idea 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  15. So cute! I love the wales!! Sharing on G+Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Have a great week!

  16. Really cute! Thanks for sharing at To Grandmas House We Go. Scheduled to Pinterest too.

  17. Love the whale paper ~ so fun! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm! Pinned!

  18. Lol

    Fantasic idea! I really love the whale wrapping paper – it really finishes off.

  19. Not that is a wonderfully creative idea!! Thanks for sharing at the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY Party!

  20. This is a great up-cycle project! The chippy paint on the drawer is charming, and I love the whale paper. It’s perfect for a bit more storage in the bathroom.

    • Thank you, I loved the chippy paint too that’s why I left it as it was.

  21. Claire this so cute! Using eyelets to hold up the shelf is brilliant!

  22. I love it! The decoupage and pops of color really make a huge difference. Such a great way to repurpose a drawer! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Home Matters Link Party, hope to see you again next week:) #HomeMattersParty

  23. This is a really useful idea for the bathroom! Upcycling at its finest!

  24. I love the old drawers and the whales make the difference!!!Have a nice day!!!(from the link party)

  25. Got to love those Eureka moments!!! And you surely had a great one this time too…but then again, you always seem to have great Eureka moments.

    Great shelf!


  26. Lea

    Oh how cute this is!! And very creative. Thanks, I’m saving this for future reference.

  27. Nicely done! Another option for the paper would be a page from an old calendar, if it is big enough. Sometimes the pictures in calendars are quite beautiful.

    • Thank you, I like the calendar idea too, I have a lovely map calendar I’m waiting to use.

  28. Hey Claire, I’m a sucker for a storage hack! Love the re-purposed drawer. I’m having your above sink shelf idea too x

    • Thank you Claire. With 3 teenagers in the house I can never have enough storage in the bathroom for all their lotions and potions.

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