Industrial Drawers Repurposed Into Shelves

This post may contain affiliate links (disclosure here).

If you’re a fan of industrial furniture and looking for creative ways to repurpose drawers? I have you covered with these repurposed industrial drawers into shelves.

I found my old drawers at my favorite scrap dealer while looking for old furniture pieces to upcycle. They were still inside an old and rusty industrial table. They were in poor condition but had beautiful lines. I asked for help to remove them from the table because they were also very very heavy.

The drawers were full of and rusty metallic components and water after the heavy rains of the previous day.

Thanks to their heavyweight, the drawers were very stable.

By the way, if you like industrial style furniture, you should check this project: Old Metal Workbench Repurposed into an Industrial Style Console Table.

Supplies and Tools You Will Need for this Project

Step 1: Clean the Old Drawers

Cleaning rusty old drawers can be a daunting task, but not an insurmountable one.

Firstly, I started by removing any items from the drawers, including the water and rusty metallic components. When I arrived at home, I cleaned the surfaces of the drawers to remove any dirt, dust, or grease. Then, I let the drawers dry for a couple of days (that’s the easiest part!).

Next, I used a wire brush and sandpaper to gently scrub away the rust from the surface of the drawers. Once the rust was removed, I wiped the drawers clean with a damp cloth and a mild detergent.

You can also use a rust converter or primer to prevent further rusting. For this project, I did not prime since the paint I would use protects against corrosion and rust. Plus I knew the drawers would be used inside, in a low-humidity environment.

Step 2: Paint

To paint the two metallic drawers, I used a paint specifically designed for metal surfaces. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer. I applied the black paint using a paintbrush following the manufacturer’s instructions. I did not apply a top coat.

The downside with the paint I used is that it is oil paint. Therefore it does have a strong gas smell and equipment must be cleaned immediately after use with solvent. And God knows I hate solvent! Using odorless mineral spirits makes things easier but still, I prefer water-based paint.

Should you work on a one-time small project like painting drawers, you may try spray paint. With a little practice, you will obtain a perfect result without the need to clean any paintbrush. But make sure you are wearing a mask while painting!

Remember it is always best to apply two to three thin even coats than one thick coat of paint. You should also allow each coat to dry according to the paint manufacturer’s instructions before applying the next one. Finally, let the paint fully cure before using the drawers.

Step 3: Arrange the Drawers

Lastly, I put one drawer on top of the other to build a bookshelf. These drawers are sturdy enough to support the weight of books and decoration items.

Here I placed our favorite decorative items: candles, statuettes, and travel souvenirs… The colors stand out well against the black.

These drawers may also be used as bedside tables. They would be even more convenient if fit castors to the underside of each drawer.

By utilizing sturdy drawers, you can create a unique and functional storage solution for your books and decorative items. Should you have drawers in different sizes and shapes, ensure to place the larger drawer at the bottom as the base and stack the smaller drawer on top. To secure them together, you can use screws or brackets.

Repurposing old rusty drawers is a creative and cost-effective to build new shelving for your home. It also adds a unique and stylish touch to your home decor.

If you have a set of old industrial drawers lying around, don’t let them go to waste. With a little creativity and some basic DIY skills, you can easily transform them into functional and eye-catching shelves.

Pin this project for later!

Happy Repurposing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top