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Making a wine rack from a bookshelf

More often than not, old pieces of furniture can be recycled, especially when the main components are still in good shape. In this case, an old bookshelf can be converted into a highly functional and attractive wine rack. All it takes is a bit of time, effort and ingenuity. Follow the steps below to create a proud addition to your kitchen or dining room.

Lumber Required:

  • 1/2” MDF (medium density fibreboard)
  • Birch
  • 1-1/2” mahogany (20 feet)
  • 3/4” x 3/4” mahogany (36 feet)
  • 1-1/2” x 3/4 mahogany (8 feet)

Materials List:

  • Old bookshelf (preferably with 3-5 cubbies)
  • Paint or stain
  • 1-1/2” brad nails
  • 2-1/2” cabinet screws
  • 2” screws

Tools Needed:

  • Hand planer
  • Chop (or table) saw
  • Wood glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Drill
  • Tape measure

Construction Steps:

Step 1: Prepare and paint 
First, remove the backing of your old shelf. Then use a plane or sander to remove all existing paint or varnish. This will create a smooth surface for your new piece. Now you can apply paint (or stain) to the surface.

Step 2: Cut and adhere the bottle holders
To create your wine bottle holders, cut a dozen strips of the 3/4” by 3/4” mahogany - making each piece 11 1/2” inches. (This will make enough strips for three wine cubbies. If you desire additional cubbies, adjust accordingly.)

On the end of each strip, cut a 47-degree angle and leave a 1/4” flat reveal.

Cut your 1-1/2” x 3/4” verticals into pieces 14” long, making 2 pieces per cubby (in this case 6 strips total).

On the inside bottom of a cubby - using wood glue and 1-1/4” brad nails - adhere one horizontal piece flush to the outside bottom of two vertical pieces.

As shown, attach a horizontal piece 4 inches above the bottom piece, and attach a third piece 4 inches above the second. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the vertical. Then do the same for your remaining verticals. (When finished, all sides of the center cubbies should have three horizontals.)

Step 3: Fine-tune and hang
Measure and cut your 1-1/2” birch to the top, bottom and sides of the bookshelf. Then paint the strips prior to attaching (with glue and 1-1/2” brads).

For your backing, cut the 1/2” MDF to the outside dimensions of the shelf. Attach with 2” screws.

Finally, secure the shelf—which is now your completed wine rack!—to the wall with 2-1/2” cabinet screws. (Ideally, the rack should be attached to studs.)

Check your provincial and municipal codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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