Thrift Store Weathered Bookshelf Makeover Using Pallets

Welcome back to another fun and exciting month of our themed furniture group – Furniture  Refresh! I was really going back and forth about which of my projects to use for this months theme ~ weathered. I love weathered furniture. So many pieces of the furniture in my own home have a weathered finish to them. This month I chose to make a thrift store weathered bookshelf makeover using pallets.

So, for this project. I started with this sad, pathetic bookshelf with its poor warped back , it was a purchase that my Mom made and was very proud of. She was all like “I know Jenny can make this into something beautiful!” Then Marco was all like “Why does your Mom keep bringing garbage to our house?” Sorry babes, I was with my Mom on this one!  :) She scored big time paying just 5 bucks!

how to make weathered furniture 7

This is also one of those projects that I did pre-blogging. So, please bear with me about the photos. It was when the blog was still a “what-if” and I was “just smart enough” to take the photos but, really, “just not smart enough” to know what I was doing.

Let’s get this project started…

First, I started by removing the backing of the bookshelf. It wasn’t hard because it was so warped. I simply used the back-end of a hammer.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in french linen and I painted the outside of the bookshelf. I also used this color on the top lip, bottom skirting and center sections of the bookshelf. I didn’t prep this time and I ended up using three coats.

(Had I prepped, it would have been one. However, with this paint costing around $30.00 a quart, I do recommend the prep to save on money! I normally use Zinnser Primer - affiliate link (you can read more about my affiliate policy HERE.)

Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in old ochre, I painted the top and bottom sections of the bookshelf, the front edges along with the scalloped to make weathered furniture 1

To begin the weathering process, I used a piece of 220 grit sand paper and started to sand in areas that you would think about wind or sand hitting it ~ as if it were outside on the front porch of a home near an ocean. So, not just the fronts, but also on the side panels as to make weathered furniture 2

Marco and I had disassembled a few pallets using this method here. We found that 2 people working together works fastest and easiest and that cutting through the nails with the reciprocating saw  we can get the most wood. I also love the look of the wood with the nail holes. (Unfortunately, the next steps, I don’t have photos for, again, pre-blogging, so I am going to explain what I did for the back.)

I placed the pallet wood horizontally along the center section that I painted in the french linen and chose to do it vertically in the sections that I painted in old ochre. I actually did this for 2 reasons. 1. When I dry fitted the pieces, it worked better before I needed to make any cuts to get the most out of my wood. 2. I think it just “worked” with how I painted the piece. Or as I always say, the piece just spoke to me.  First, I numbered the wood, in pencil in the order that I dry fitted them so I knew how I was going to have them in place. Then, I marked the pieces that needed to be cut with a pencil and took them to the compounding miter saw and in minutes they were cut to size. Next, I gave them a quick sanding using 100 grit sandpaper to knock off any splinters since this was going to be the back of a bookcase & my intent was to sell it. I didn’t want anyone to potentially get hurt from re-purposed pallet wood. Using my pneumatic brad nailer and compressor, I nailed the pallet to the back using the edging of the sections as my guide. This process, including dry fitting the pieces where I wanted them took approximately 45 minutes in my workshop…er to make weathered furniture 5

I then dry brushed with white trim paint over the entire piece to give it more of a weathered look, including the back of the pallet wood. I then sanded any other places that I felt needed to be sanded to complete the weathered look. That is the great thing about weathering a piece of furniture. It is very forgiving. If you paint too much sand more. If you sand too much, paint more. It REALLY is that simple. You just want to think about the piece being outside. What would mother nature do to age it?

Once I was satisfied, I pulled out some stencils and used them to do some random numbers in the upper left hand corners on the back panels onto the pallet. Finally, I sealed the entire piece with a wipe-on polyacrylic by Minwax. I used this instead of wax because it was a bookcase and I didn’t want books to get a waxy coating. I also didn’t want to use polyurethane and getting a yellowing appearance that tends to happen over time, especially over the to make weathered furniture 4

We used to sell our furniture in a local antique booth. They liked it so much they put it into the front window display and from there it sold in a matter of days!how to make weathered furniture 3

Hope you enjoyed the weathered piece of furniture as much as the Chicago land areas have been enjoying the 70 degree weather this week! A VERY rare occurrence the first week in November.

Make sure you stick around and see what the other fabulous bloggers have been up to this month with their monthly themed Furniture Refresh projects!

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Thanks so much for reading my little blog.  Please feel free to comment.  Also, remember that sharing is caring and is always appreciated!

Until next time my friends,




  1. Jenny,
    Applause on a great job!! I love pallet wood pieces! The one you’ve created here is a real keeper! Love that yellow, too! Linking your post to my blog. :-) Susie @ The Chelsea Project Blog

  2. Love how this shelf came out! Your mom sounds like mine and or husband has the same reaction mine does. I bet your mom is very happy with how it turned out.

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