Creative way to keep track of library books

Summertime is when our family reconnects with our local library. Oh how I wish we were faithful about visiting this magical place all year round! But at least during the summer we are regulars.

This year, I wanted to get smarter about keeping track of all our library books to avoid the dreaded 20-minute hunt for that one missing book that needed returned, like, three days ago.

So I put together this super easy library book holder to corral everything. It probably took me two hours of total work time to complete this project.


Materials needed:

  • Unfinished crate (You can pick one up at your local craft supply store or check out the inventory at Crates and Pallet.)
  • Wood stain and finish
  • Thin sheet metal
  • Piece of plexiglass (for the bottom of the crate)
  • Four small screws
  • Letter punch set*

Step 1: Apply a coat of Varathane® stain in Traditional Cherry to the unfinished crate.


Step 2: Cut out a rectangular piece from the sheet metal using tin snips. (I picked up my pair at Home Depot.) This will serve as your “Library” label.


Step 3: Take a hammer and punch the word “Library” into the sheet metal label using the letter punch set.


Step 4: Attach the label to the center of the crate with four small screws. I recommend pre-drilling the holes first to keep the wood from splitting.


Step 5: Apply a coat of Rust-Oleum® Satin Clear Enamel to seal the piece.

Satin-Rust-oleum-enamelStep 6: Add a piece of plexiglass to the bottom of the crate, to keep books from falling through the crack in the bottom. (I stole a piece from an old picture frame in our basement and cut it to fit.)


Step 7: Hang up the holder and enjoy your new, highly organized library book storage system. :)

Library book holder


Do you have any tips for how to keep track of library books?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing some of the supplies needed to complete this project. 

*Affliate link


From IKEA Billy Bookcase to rolling craft cart + giveaway

Most of us at some point or another have probably succumbed to the siren song of IKEA® furniture. It’s cool, modern and – my personal favorite – dirt cheap. That’s why I jumped at the chance to join the HomeRight® IKEA hack challenge this month.


You all know how much I love HomeRight. As an ambassador, I get to use their products in creative ways each month (their tools turn me into a superhero DIYer). Most importantly, I get the chance to give away HomeRight products to you! Stick around for a great one at the end of this post.

This month, my challenge was to transform a basic IKEA bookshelf into something amazing. Here are the materials I picked up to complete my project:


The goal? Build a rolling cart to hold our family’s crafting and art supplies.

I began by flipping the shelf over. I trimmed out four wood blocks on my miter saw to serve as a base for attaching the cart wheels. I used wood glue to adhere them to the bottom of the shelf and to each other.


Tip: Consider adding a plywood base that spans the entire depth of the shelf, so the wheels can be installed as far apart as possible. This will help increase the stability of the cart. 

Next, I trimmed out some pieces of all-purpose molding to dress up the shelf. I attached them using a brad nailer.


After the wheel blocks and molding were installed, it was time to prime and paint.


I used a good primer and Rust-Oleum® Chalked Ultra Matte paint in Country Gray for this project.

Tip: Although chalked paint doesn’t require primer, use it anyway on surfaces like melamine-coated shelving. It will improve the durability of the finish.

Of course, my HomeRight Finish Max Pro* made easy, fast work of the painting process.

Spraypainting-IKEA-shelfAfter the paint dried, I attached the wheels to the wood block bases.


I ordered the swivel plate casters online here for $3.98 apiece.

For the top of the cart, I nailed on a wood piece that I stained in a Kona finish.


I built a rod to hold the craft paper using basic plumbing supplies: two galvanized 1/2″ elbows, two galvanized floor flanges and one 1/2″ pipe.


Finally, I filled the shelves with inexpensive baskets I picked up at Gabes, labeling each basket with a DIY wooden tag. (Find out how to make your own here.) I free-handed the labels for the tags using a nail art pen.



DONE! Time to enjoy the new, rolling craft cart.


Craft-paper-roll IKEA-Billy-Bookcase-with-wheels Stained-top-for-IKEA-Billy-Bookcase


Now on to an exciting giveaway! Enter below to win your very own HomeRight Finish Max Pro plus a spray shelter to go with it.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for HomeRight and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.

* Links to some products in this post are affiliate links. 

Stained washcloth crate with DIY metal tag

In one afternoon recently, I transformed a small, unfinished crate into this washcloth holder for our master bathroom using some stain and sheet metal.


To replicate this project, check out the steps below.

Step 1: Apply a coat of Varathane® water-based wood stain in Worn Navy to any unfinished crate.


This stain dries in one hour and cleans up with soap and water, which means there is now hope for finishing a project during my toddler’s nap time. :)


Step 2: Apply a coat of Varathane Antique White stain over the navy color, using a piece of steel wool to rub it into the grain to create an aged finish. Wipe off any excess.


Step 3: After the stain dries, seal the crate with a coat of polyurethane. I like Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane. I used the satin finish for this project. If you’re curious as to why I like Varathane, check out the quick video below that compares different water-based stain and poly products.

Step 4: While your poly is drying, trace an oval shape onto a piece of thin sheet metal. You’ll want to keep the shape rounded to avoid any sharp corners.

Sheet-metal-labelStep 5: Cut out the shape using a pair of tin snips. I bought mine for about $10 at Home Depot.


Step 6: Label the cutout using a hammer and letter stamp punch set. I used this one.*

Step 7: Attach your label to the crate with tiny screws or brads. Done! 



What do you think of my new washcloth crate?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing the Varathane products needed to complete this project and sponsoring my comparison video. As always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are 100 percent mine.

*This is an affliate link. Purchasing through this link won’t cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content to you. Thanks in advance for your support!