Upcycled Magazine Rack into Book Caddy

I remember as a child that walking into the library was like walking into a gateway of intense adventure. That feeling you get when something fantastic was about to happen. Getting lost in book was the best feeling ever! Of course, as a mother, I’ve passed along the love of books to my children. Sadly though, our public libraries are dwindling, even closing. Today I’m trying to make an effort to bring back life to books. In my quirky kinda way, I’m turning this upcycled magazine rack into a book caddy. Hang with me now…there’s something for you too!

Vintage Magazine Rack Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Not only was this was a hand-painted piece by someone back in 1980, but it was also falling apart. The sides were popping off and the center divider was completely detached. Nothing a little DIY can’t fix, right?

Magazine Rack in Need of Repair | prodigalpieces.com

Before I get started, let me catch you up to speed on what’s going on in our city. Just a couple of years ago our local library underwent a renovation. You can imagine we all were excited to see our dated library get a much needed makeover. We waited for months to be able to get back in and explore again. On their grand opening we went in with eager excitement to see all the changes that had been made.

Everything looked fantastic, but…a bit sparse. They had taken a space to install a playground of sorts – slides, climbers, etc. and updated the decor. We looked at each other like…where did all the books go? A sort of sadness set in. Not only that, but because we homeschool, we rely heavily on the resources for our studies and supplemental research. Plus, it makes learning fun.

However, after a few months, we found that many of the books were gone and now were only accessible through inter-library loan. That’s all good and fine if you can find the book, and if you plan many weeks ahead to get it in time. For instance, one of my daughters needed to do a report on poison ivy and we couldn’t find one solitary book on the subject in our library. We tried to use the inter-library loan, but it would take weeks to get it. Time after time we have run into this problem.

At this point, we are so utterly disappointed in how libraries are diminishing as more people turn to electronic devices. There is a place for Google and such, but NOTHING compares to a book. Feeling the pages, smelling the funky book scent, and even having that tangible item to cling to as you turn the page in suspense.

Okay…off my soapbox. So with that in mind, I’m encouraging you to not only grab a book for yourself and patronize your local library, but to get your kids involved. Here’s what I decided to create with this upcycled magazine rack. My home is loaded with bookshelves, but maybe we don’t all have room for such bliss. But… a little book caddy fits in most anywhere and is portable.

First, it was time to whip this thrifted find into shape. I break out my sander and wave goodbye to the hunter. hee hee.

Sanding Magazine Rack for Makeover | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

Next, I needed to get it assembled together properly. I used some wood glue and my nailer to make it all nice and tight.

Ryobi AirStrike Nailer for Magainze Rack Repair | prodigalpieces.com

Once all was assembled, it was time to bring on the paint! {{yeehaw}}. My handy dandy spray shelter pops up in a blink and saves me from over-spray getting in trouble-ness.

HomeRight Small Spray Shelter for Preventing Overspray Problems | prodigalpieces.com

I give several coats of Heirloom White and let it cure in between and after. Notice I’m using a thrifted lazy susan covered in newspaper so I can turn my project while spraying. A life-saver I tell ya!

After the paint had cured, I decided to paint the inside a contrasting color, and add some artwork and typography. Here it is made new along with some of my reading buddies.

Kids Reading Books Using an Upcycled Magazine Rack as a Book Caddy | DIY Fun with Printable Reading Checkllist by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Upcycled Book Caddy made from a Vintage Magazine Rack by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

One of my favorite things to do is read aloud books to my six kids of all ages. Not just picture books, but any book. We gather around and to see the way they light up at my story-telling is a gift that can’t be beat.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces reading a story to her children | Get your FREE printable reading list at prodigalpieces.com

Vintage Hand-Painted Book Caddy by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

It even melts my heart when I often find them reading to each other. In those moments I pause and just listen. mmm…time flies way too fast not to savor it.

DIY Book Caddy to encourage young readers | Reading a book is fun! | prodigalpieces.com

So, there you have it. My upcycled magazine rack now corrals a nice stash of books you can place in your living room, bedroom, and even take on the road.

Vintage Book Caddy made from an Upcycled Magazine Rack by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Make your own book caddy using an upcycled magazine rack | DIY details at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

To get the ball rolling, My family and I would like to send this to someone you know who could immensely benefit from not only having this book caddy, but also a couple brand new books from our printable list of a few favorites (and I mean a FEW. Confessed bibliophiles here. tee hee! See below). Maybe you know someone who doesn’t have the funds to have books or has limited access to them, or maybe lives in a situation where they could benefit from this gift.

Enter the giveaway using your own information, but have in mind the person you would this to be sent to. Open to applicants that are U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. You can also use as many entries as you want and some daily, so have fun with it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’ve compiled a few of our favorites into a printable that you can take to the library with you. Sometimes it’s hard to find good ones and these are a hit with us all.


Other ways you can support your local library and the love of books:

  • attend and help at any fund raisers your library may have, like book sales
  • donate books to their sales or public inventory.
  • make use of their resources, like reading programs and bookmobiles
  • consider creating a library set up in your neighborhood. There are many who do this and love it. We are planning to! See all the ideas here on Pinterest.
  • volunteer at schools to help with their reading programs. It can be as simple as letting a child read to you.

Either way, let’s do what we can and get involved. Do pin and share my upcycled magazine rack to inspire others to get out there and DIY and…read. Thanks!

Get into a book and find adventure! | An upcycled magazine rack becomes a fun book caddy with a little DIY spirit | FREE Printable Reading List for School-aged Children | Come see at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #books #diy #vintage

Up next is Trash to Treasure Tuesday where this curbside find will get a new lease on life. Do you know what it is? Stay tuned!

Handmade Wooden Luggage found on the curb gets new life | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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More projects like this upcycled magazine rack:

With a can of spray paint, you can update those flea market finds in no time. By Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesClassic Wooden Toys Made from Reclaimed Parts by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

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  • Judy

    I hear you. As a teacher, I was horrified when I walked into our library to find tables and tables of books with a “free” sign. Sigh.

    July 5, 2018 at 7:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I just hope the trend swings the other way.

      July 5, 2018 at 7:50 am Reply
  • Suzanne

    We have an amazing library. It has a grand piano, a coffee bar, lots of reading nooks wit comfortable furniture, work nooks as well as larger tables, play areas for littles, a puppet theatre, video/audii rentals, etc. A real community center.

    July 5, 2018 at 7:41 am Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s wonderful. Wish many were able to have the same.

      July 5, 2018 at 7:50 am Reply
  • Claudine

    I am so sad to hear that you’re losing your libraries, that is a real shame and a huge loss for the community. Libraries are an indispensable resource. There are tons of play areas for kids, they don’t need that in a library. The libraries in Pointe Claire, Quebec have tons of books, movies, video games, music, board games and other games…even art (!) that can be borrowed. For vision impaired people, the large print and audio book sections are so welcome…those cost a fortune to buy and the older folks current technology for downloading and such can be too troublesome. On a happier note, your caddy is adorable (love the illustration!) and you are just so sweet to give it to a family who needs it! 🙂

    July 5, 2018 at 9:19 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, sad all over the U.S. And so glad to hear yours is thriving! Thanks so much for the love.

      July 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm Reply
  • Amy

    Love the book caddy, but how exactly did you add the art & typography? TIA.

    July 5, 2018 at 10:08 am Reply

    My favorite book as a child was a book my mother had from her childhood. I didn’t have access to a lot of books in our little country town during the 40’s/50’s. The book was “Elsie Dinsmore.” I read it over and over and over. I have so many favorites as an adult. One is “Faith Among the Shadows, a Cuban Soldiers Searc for Faith.”

    July 5, 2018 at 10:38 am Reply
    • Larissa

      We have that set and love it too. They just don’t make stories like that anymore. Good picks! 😀

      July 5, 2018 at 12:48 pm Reply
  • Judia Hyde

    Thank you for sharing you precious book caddy! I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon! I have a plain wooden caddy in our guest room with a selection of short stories in it for visitors. I think it is as necessary as fluffy towels! I agree that the rapid demise of the printed word is so sad. At a baby shower for our pregnant granddaughter the hostess requested each guest include a children’s book with their gift with a personal note to the child. Isn’t that a wonderful idea! Now, two years later, it warms my heart to see a bookshelf in the nursery filled with classics that are sweet baby girl’s ‘forever’ books.

    July 5, 2018 at 11:42 am Reply
  • Michele

    Our local library is awesome! It has a book sale once a year, but it is to sell books that they have several copies of or books that have been donated that they cannot use. They make money for more books, library projects, and summer programs. Also people are able to buy books inexpensively and they often give free books to the children who come with their parents. As a preschool teacher I use the library to get books to use for my lesson plans that I do not have at my school, plus the ‘library lady’ comes once a month to share new books with the children and several times a year gives them each a free book. I wish other towns had such a wonderful library as mine!
    The book caddy is beautiful and would be enjoyed by many-little and big (as in adult) kids!

    July 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s awesome! We have sales quarterly too and they are fun to go to, they also have summer programs and fun things to do as well. The people that work in ours are so friendly and they too have seen how things have changed. We can’t wait to see who gets it! 😀

      July 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm Reply
  • Kaycee

    Larissa, What a beautiful creation to hold someone’s cherished books! I love the artwork and words you chose to embellish this sweet book holder. I am so sorry to hear what is happening to your library, I hope this pattern does not continue.
    My Mom is a very involved volunteer and an officer on the Board of Directors for the “Friend’s of the Library” organization in her town. They receive duplicate books from the local library, as well as, so many book, CD, and books on tape etc. donations from residents and their patrons, that their book sale is open 2-3 days every week and is very successful! It just goes to show how many people still prefer an “actual book” to hold and read!

    July 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, sweet Kaycee. This was fun for me. Yes, the libraries in some areas around here are flourishing, so hopefully we don’t have any thing else change for the less better. Sounds like you guys have fun!

      July 5, 2018 at 7:12 pm Reply
  • Dee

    I love what you did to it it turned out so cute! Having been a reading teacher, this is so near and dear to my heart. I love books I love to read so does my Hubs and my daughter and even her babies. I utilized every single free program that there ever was as far as reading goes whether it was through the library or other branches. when I was growing up my parents work 7 days a week and essentially left me in the care of my older sister. We would go to the library by ourselves even though I might have been three years old and she was only 7. We spent many hours there and I would pretend to be able to read the Beatrix Potter books or the ones that I adored because of the illustrations and my little mind would take hold of those and imagine all kinds of wonderful things. One day the librarian who had noticed me repeatedly their asked if she could come read the books to me and it was such a blessing! I’ll never forget it. Of course I loved the Chronicles of Narnia when I was older and particularly The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ll never forget our 6th grade teacher reading it aloud and I was so completely mesmerized and transported to Narnia! I’m very visual when I read and I definitely put myself into the story situations! 😄 My very favorite book was given to me by The Gideons when I was in 5th grade and it was the New Testament was Psalms and Proverbs. I accepted the Lord when I read that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. The Holy Spirit spoke to my little heart and I ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins and he did! So I love this, and I appreciate you so much thank you for elevating reading with your family and for bringing it to your blog and encouraging others to do so as well!

    July 5, 2018 at 7:38 pm Reply
    • Dee

      I’m replying to my own words because I didn’t do a good job checking my spelling and I apologize for that!

      July 5, 2018 at 7:40 pm Reply
      • Larissa

        You’re a sweetie and I didn’t even notice. I love your tenacity!

        July 7, 2018 at 5:35 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You sound much like me, Dee, books are a gateway to a whole different world. Plus, the information the provide about our history and new things in life that I am ever learning is amazing. What an awesome testimony you have! We are delighted to share.

      July 7, 2018 at 5:35 am Reply
  • Leah Spencer

    One of My favorite childhood books that I still love to read to my kids but must confess it makes me cry every time is The Velveteen Rabbit.

    July 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Oh yes, love it, but I have to be prepared to read it. haha!

      July 7, 2018 at 5:35 am Reply
  • Sue Pagels

    I have quite a bit to say on this subject – I LOVE books. I don’t care if I read them or not, I LOVE them. The look, the feel, the titles, the covers, the colors, even just glancing at the interiors of some strange chemistry, or mechanical book I don’t understand, I still LOVE them. I would love to have one whole wall with shelves for books. I don’t have time to read them, but I still want them around. I do read magazines and stories, but unfortunately, don’t have or take the time to read many books. I used to though. My husband is the past president and current secretary of the Michiana Lions in Michigan City, IN. Tim F., also a member is building “Little Free Libraries” and he and my husband are installing them in conjunction with the Michiana Lions Club at several locations. One location is done and stocked and two more are waiting in the wings to be installed. I wish I could show you a picture of them! They seem very popular which is so heartwarming that people and children still enjoy books. I buy them at garage sales, book sales, etc to help stock the LFL’s, but so do many other members and citizens. I can still remember my first “grown up” book that I read – it was Black Beauty – the adult one, not the kid’s version. I dare say it changed my life! Sorry to ramble on, but it’s fantastic that you are instilling a love of books in your children – we need more of that!! Thanks for a great post.

    July 6, 2018 at 11:52 am Reply
    • Larissa

      What a treasure you have there, Sue! Sounds like your heart is much like mine, and that you husband and crew are doing a fantastic job. We are mulling over where to start ours and how to begin. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us!

      July 7, 2018 at 5:37 am Reply
  • liz

    I agree with you about libraries and books. In fact, when my family wanted me to move closer to them they agreed to keep it a secret how few books the library in their town had. I have the luxury of time so I order books inter-library all the time but I can see how they wouldn’t work for a time sensitive project.

    July 6, 2018 at 12:57 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Glad to hear you have the love of them like we do. My kids just get so frustrated when they are reading a series of stories. They start out on book 1 and try to get the second one in advance, but know it takes time to get the others, so they order the next 2 or 3, then they don’t come in order and it gets all messed up. Does that make sense? So they either read them out of order while they can have them or return them and request them again. Sigh…

      July 7, 2018 at 5:40 am Reply
  • leisa

    Oh my, is the library our favorite place to visit. I noticed when our library “renovated” a lot of our books disappeared too. I can’t even find some of them in the district loan system! I know our branch had at least 9 books on Thomas Gallaudet, the father of Deaf education in the USA, and now they don’t even have one to borrow anywhere! The only liberal arts university in the world is named after him and they got rid of all books about him. It is a shame. I love your idea for the book caddy. I see baby shower gifts in the future 🙂 Where did you get the graphic on the side?

    July 6, 2018 at 3:29 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      So very frustrating as we found the same. Gallaudet is an amazing man and my aunt and uncle attended his university as half of my family is deaf. That is so sad that your library has changed that much. I found the graphic at getdrawings.com and used it to paint it on the side by hand.

      July 7, 2018 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Charlene Paugh

    what a beautiful gesture ! I love the graphic & quote you added, too. I know a couple who are getting custody of their grandchild b/c the mother is not capable of raising him and the father is unknown (or won’t come forward).
    They aren’t rich but will raise him in church & with all the love he could ever need or want, I know God’s hand is on them all. Grandma reads to him every night before bed. This would be a welcome gift !

    July 6, 2018 at 11:00 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Charlene. 🙂 There is so many stories like that family you mentioned and I would love for them to receive this gift. Thank you for sharing their story as my family and I will pray. Hugs!

      July 7, 2018 at 5:45 am Reply
  • Mary

    This caddy is a wonderful addition for any family who values their books. As I was looking at it I started to reminisce about all those books that I had also read to the kids when they were small. Some things never go out of style.

    July 8, 2018 at 11:46 pm Reply
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