DIY Pretend Play Grocery Store


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It began innocently enough– I was searching for a way to add toy storage to the garage.  We have an insane number of outdoor toys and equipment, so I thought I’d whip up some garage storage to organize our bubbles, sunscreen, sunglasses, sidewalk chalk, and other detritus from outdoor play.  When Wayfair sent me a wooden bookcase for their DIY Challenge, I knew with a few tiny tweaks it could become a pretty yet useful way to organize our summer fun.

But then it started to whisper to me.

Don’t call the men in white just yet.

I’d placed a few bushel baskets on the shelves when the kids started filling them with play food.  These kiddos are big into pretend play right now, so the lightbulb went off:  bushel baskets + playfood =  pretend grocery store.  It was the perfect add-on to their beloved play kitchen, allowing for two areas of food play so both kids could fit (rather than elbow each other aside, NOT that my little angels do that, but yeah, okay, they do).

DIY Kids Pretend Play Grocery Store from a Bookcase

Thankfully, it turns out this sweet bookcase has a secret identity/ double personality because she can transform from grocery store to garage storage in under a minute.  Don’t believe me?  Viola!

DIY Garage Shelving and Toy Storage

{and has anyone else noticed I’ve made three references to mental health thus far?  Wonder what Freud would say…}

My friends always ask how I have the time and/or energy to DIY all the time.  The truth is, I don’t.  I don’t do many DIY projects at all, so when I do they need to be easy and require very little talent because I’m super lazy about making them look ‘perfect’.  In other words, if I can do this project than anyone can do this project.  Here’s proof:

1.  Put together the bookcase.

I used the Furinno Pine Bookcase from Wayfair.  It’s very pretty in it’s natural color but since this is a DIY Challenge I wanted to take it up a notch.

Garage Storage Shelving{via Making Lemonade on Instagram}

2. Paint it. 

I actually used leftover white paint I had on hand for the first coat, but painting all the spindles ended up being challenging.

white bookcase

After letting the first coat dry, I went over it with some semi-gloss white spray paint and the finish was perfect! The grass, however, is still not speaking to me.

white bookcase

HINT:  Use a spray paint handle for a big job like this.  It makes it go quickly, keeps the paint job even, and most importantly will not mess up your manicure.

spray paint tip

3.  Add the back.

Remember the huge DIY bulletin board I made in my living room?  I had a bunch of the polystyrene foam left over so using a utility knife I simply cut it to fit the back of the bookcase.

How to Add a Back to a Bookcase

Then, I covered it in a black & white geometric patterned Waverly fabric I’ve been hoarding:

How to Add a Back to a White Bookcase

Once stretched across the front of the foam board, I used clear packing tape to attach to the back.  Then, I used Gorilla Glue to attach the entire back to the bookcase.

How to Add a Back to a Bookcase

WARNING:  Gorilla Glue doesn’t dry clear and can drip if you use too much, so be sure the back is properly aligned before placing on top of the glue, and be conservative in your glue usage.  Take it from someone who knows. 😉

4.  Add a chalkboard sign.

The cool thing about this piece is you can really tweak it to your needs.  It would look great just as a bookcase with the geometric back, but I added some height to allow for a chalkboard sign.  The sign is simply a piece of balsa wood from the craft store painted with chalkboard paint.

DIY Kids Pretend Play Grocery Store from a Bookcase

5.  Load ‘er up!

I added two Command hooks to the side for versatility and extra storage:

white bookcase makeover

The entire project cost just $12 because I only had to buy the bushel baskets (on sale at Michaels, by the way).  I’m thrilled with how it turned out!  Here’s her multiple personalities:

Pretend Play Grocery Store


DIY Kids Pretend Play Grocery Store from a Bookcase

Outdoor Toy Storage for the Garage


DIY Garage Shelving and Toy Storage

One bookcase.  Many uses.

A thousand smiles.

DIY Kids Pretend Play Grocery Store from a Bookcase
“Cleanup, aisle six!”

My {once a year} DIY job is complete.  😉

Check out Hometalk and the #DIYchallenge hashtag to see more great projects.  What would you do with that sweet little bookcase?  And ack, play kitchen vs. toy storage?  Looks like I might need to buy another!

Bookcase Makeover

Disclosure:  The bookcase and cost of supplies were covered by Wayfair and Hometalk and all opinions are my own.  Many thanks for this fun (and useful!) opportunity.


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