Making Do With What You Have On Hand

Yesterday I asked you what you thought I could do with a 50 cent ruffled bed skirt and an over-sized coloring book.  I got some great answers, wish I had thought of a couple of them myself.  I am going to show you now what I did. I  hope you aren’t too disappointed after the tease I gave you yesterday.

Little back ground.  I had a very old VHS cabinet which was no longer in use.  The inner shelves were built out to make a decent sized shelf that would hold more than a VHS tape. This is what it looked like when I started.


Not pretty at all.  My grand-daughter needed a book shelf in her room and I thought with some work this would be perfect. Her mother and I came up with a plan but decided to surprise her.

Instead we were surprised when my grand-daughter visited one afternoon and after much careful studying of the cabinet pretty much described to me exactly what I had planned to do with it, right down to the details.

I had some left over paint from the trim in her new bedroom, being green it went perfectly with the theme of Disney’s Princess and the Frog, which she loves.

One catch, there wasn’t enough paint left to paint the entire cabinet.  I devised a plan to use fabric and thought of a bed skirt I had picked up.

Once the outside of the cabinet was painted, I applied a couple large pictures from her coloring book and then free-handed (I don’t have stencils) the names of the characters, added a few stickers and with the fabric came up with a one-of-a-kind bookcase for her.

Here is side one:


Louis the crocodile (alligator ?) loves to play music so I added some musical notes in different acrylic paint colors.

Side two:


Tiana and Naveen as frogs.  If you don’t know the story, Naveen is a prince who is changed into a frog by a voodoo man (the story takes place in New Orleans).  He asks Tiana to kiss him believing her a princess who could change him back into a man, but since she’s not a princess she too turns into a frog.

Top view:


The stickers were my grand-daughter’s idea and since this is her bookcase I couldn’t say no to a little personalization 🙂

And finally the front view.


To apply the coloring pages, which were colored with crayons not markers which would have run when wet, I simply coated the cabinet with polycrylic and set the picture onto it.  It works like Modge Podge, but with a little more give for positioning.  When that is dry you can cover the entire thing with another layer or two of polycrylic.

I removed the back board which is cardboard, stapled fabric to the shelves, hiding the staples along the back where they would be hidden, then attached more fabric to the back and replaced the cardboard backing for sturdiness.  To make the cabinet hold up I not only used polycrylic on the cabinet but also on the fabric shelves so they could be wiped clean.  The skirt is removable to allow easy laundering.

While this wouldn’t win any design awards, it does make one little girl very happy and goes well with the theme of  her princess room, and true to my cheapness the entire project cost me nothing as I already had everything needed.

I wanted to share this with you as VHS cabinets have lost their usefulness with DVDs, TiVo, Netflix and the like.  Rather than tossing these old cabinets I wanted to encourage you to think outside the box and find a new use for them rather than letting them end up in the landfills.

What other ideas could you come up with for VHS cabinets?



  1. Any little Princess would be pleased as punch to have such a wonderful fairy-tale bookcase. Clever YOU.. and isn’t it great when something New is made from something old.. and its unique 🙂 Brilliant Idea…. And one I know your Granddaughter will cherish all the more… 🙂


  2. How delightful! Not just the repurposing, and amazing thriftiness of the whole project, but that your grand daughter is thinking about this lifestyle, too. And that you collaborated on the piece…that is worth more than anything.


    • Not sure if they think of it as magical, but they do show up looking to see what new thing has arrived for them to play with. The guitar is a frequently either being sanded or played which is fun. They do enjoy the rotation of things that arrive and it has been a good thing as it keeps them from getting bored when we can’t go outside, much better than having a TV for them here. 🙂


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