Making a Princess Bookcase

With changing technology many pieces of storage furniture are easy to find in thrift shops set or set out for trash pickup.   Take the VHS cabinet. Who has VHS movies any more?


I don’t have a before picture of how the inside would have looked because my grandfather altered this fresh out of the box.

But, if you were to open the doors you would find metal brackets attached to the doors deep enough to hold VHS tapes and shelves half the depth inside also just the right dimensions to hold more tapes.  There is nothing sold today that fits the exact measurements of those tapes so what can you do should you stumble upon one?

Initially, he bought this to fit between a sink and toilet to hold towels and toiletries in a handicap accessible bathroom he added to his house for my grandmother when she was too frail to use the main bathroom. Instead of the brackets and interior half shelves he cut two shelves the full depth of the cabinet to function better.

Somehow this cabinet ended up at my house. I used it as a small pantry for a few years then decided to give it a new life for a little girl who loved princesses.

Using leftover paints, a $.50 dust ruffle found at a yard sale and and over-sized coloring book I set out to make this a fun bookcase for my granddaughter.



For several days, her mother and I colored several of the characters in the coloring book without telling her why we were doing this. When we’d selected the images I was going to use I prepared the cabinet by removing the doors and painting the entire cabinet green.

When dry I got to work designing the bookcase using the children’s washable markers and some stickers. Here’s the top.


tiana top

Then on each side I added the images we’d colored using decoupage glue and continuing to add extra embellishments using the markers.


tiana side

And the other side, Louis, the jazz performer, is surrounded by musical notes.

tian side2

Once everything was dry I carefully applied two coats of polycrylic being sure not to smear the washable markers. To do this I carefully tapped the areas where the markers were used with the paint brush rather than using strokes for the first coat and lightly sanding each coat when completely dry.

At this point all that was left was to add the dust ruffle. I wanted this to serve both as a bookcase and as a play house for dolls and other imaginative play.

tiana bookcase

Using flat areas of the dust ruffle I covered the two lower shelves with decoupage glue and pressed the fabric into place.  Once that was dry I gave it two coats of polycrylic to stiffen the fabric and to make it washable, this would after all see lots of use.  Using a staple gun I attached the ruffled curtains from behind and made sure they were firmly in place to ensure safety while playing.  I was happy with the result and ready to show my granddaughter.

She loved it and it continues to grow with her as she finds new uses for the curtains.  Should she want to change it up, we can remove the ruffled curtains and with a bit of work peel off the fabric, clean up the shelves and start over to design something a bit more grown up.

Should you stumble upon one of these VHS cabinets, remember it’s not that hard to remove the interior shelves and turn them into a bookcase, craft or office storage, or even a mini pantry as I did at one point

Next time you spot a piece of furniture with a specific use, think outside the box and see if you can make it fill a need you have.




  1. LOVE it. Especially love the artwork you picked to decorate it.

    On our local free site, I see so much being given away, and so often wonder if those folks ever thought of re purposing their gifts. (at any rate their generosity in giving free is nice, and likely much appreciated by the recipients).


    • This was a fun project for me. It was the first time I tried using paper colored with crayons or sealing washable markers so I was a bit nervous I might smear the details.

      I love how many people are now giving freely of their unwanted items it’s a positive sign that we could return to more of a bartering system which would benefit all in so many ways.


      • Looks good.

        I too am really glad to see how much is being offered for free, instead of trashing it. Much is very very good, and I have seen some exceptional stuff.


        • Yes, you have shared with me some of the wonderful pieces offered in your area for free and they are in fantastic shape. I’m sad to say that my new home is in an area where people don’t use the free online programs much. I don’t know if it’s because they have so little that they are attached to them, this area is very economically depressed, but everyone wants to sell what they have and those buying brag about the deals they get somehow happier to get these deals than receive freely. I sure hope that changes.


  2. We have a beautiful oak cabinet in our living room that started life as a cassette holder – DVD or CDS – can’t remember which. We had repurposed that cabinet by dismantling the plastic holders mounted in the pull out shelves. It now holds linens for the pull out mattress in our couch. Ha! I guess someday when we finally need to seriously downsize the amount of furniture we have to fit in a smaller apartment, that piece will be given away to someone else with more space.


    • They make great storage cabinets don’t they? So few people seem to have the vision to adapt furniture when they outlive their intended purpose but with things like Pinterest there are more trying. Your use of your cabinet is a beautiful way to store your linens!


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