How can I make a sturdy bookcase recycling or reusing stuff?

booksWe’ve had an email from Alice who wants to turn this whole crazy thing on its head:

Instead of an item that I want to recycle, I’m actually working backwards here – does anyone know what kind of waste could be used to build a sturdy bookcase?

A few ideas spring to mind from previous posts – namely snowboards (and I guess skateboards would be similar), hollowcore doors – and old hollowed out televisions. There is also a suggestion on making shelves out of old books but I suspect that’s more decorative than sturdy.

If you’re interested in an industrial look, you could use stacked metal food cans (or decorated old paint can) between the shelves – and depending how you do it, they could be used for secret storage too – or skip-diving might turn up some breeze blocks or the like (it might get heavy quickly but red house bricks would look cool).

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by GiniMiniGi)

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11 Responses to “How can I make a sturdy bookcase recycling or reusing stuff?”

  1. Mary says:

    For my kids, I took glass fishbowls that were about 12 inches tall and filled them with legos. I used them to hold up boards that were salvaged from some old project. The legos were colorful and the bowls sturdy. You could put all sorts of things in the bowls…

  2. puck says:

    there’s always the good old milk crate standby…

    • Mirthful says:

      We’ve got several shelves made out of old wine crates – my hubby gets them from work, but check with your local merchant.

      They’re perfect, as they’ve got whole sides and the wood is reasonably thin but still sturdy. They’ve also got the winde producer’s logo burned into the sides, and I find them quite decorative. We have some stacked to make a tall set of shelves, and several fixed to the wall to make free-floating shelves – for cookbooks in the kitchen, for example.

  3. Alice says:

    Suggestion from a different Alice:

    Most of my shelves are from skips etc – I had to wait a while and go through lots of skips, but I’ve found several sets of shelves, decent/matching wood and shelf brackets which would otherwise have gone to landfill.

    Watch out in particular for shops which are closing down and/or being re-fitted, as they often chuck out tonnes of perfectly good shelving.

    Wooden pallet planks are good on small brackets for videos and CDs.

  4. Alice says:

    P.S. I’d really like to see a site just like this and the compost one, but starting with what people want to make and collecting suggestions on how to do it by recycling or reusing materials.

  5. Chris says:

    For years I’ve used bricks to support my wood shelves, even my TV stand was made this way. I bought the bricks and shelves to begin with but their modular nature has meant that they have been used in several locations, I once built a corner unit out to them.

    My last brick shelf was taken down earlier this year. The wood was re-cut into new shelves and the bricks piled up in the garden, but only yesterday 9 of them found a new life as a part of a border to my front lawn! Reuse, Reuse and again I say Reuse.

  6. Kate says:

    We have made our bookshelves using a tall old wooden ladder for the uprights. The shelves can be made using recycyled floorboards, timber from skips etc.It took about 1/2 a day to make shelving to cover a wall 12′ x 20′ – so it is time-saving too!

  7. Kathryn says:

    i know it’s been mentioned before, but i think these book bookshelves are fabulous

  8. Kathryn says:

    sorry, this the website to which i was referring

  9. Bryony says:

    … You all know it is illegal to take stuff from skips? And It’s not just one of those silly laws that aren’t enforced, you can be prosecuted. Also illegal to take stuff from the tip without licence.

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