It’s Not Your Father’s Trophy Case


October 17, 2012 by Decorum DIYer

As part of Claire’s toddler room process, I knew I needed a bookcase of sorts.  Well, at least a place to store books.  Reading books (with Mommy and Daddy) is a big part of my children’s lives and a huge part of the daily bedtime routine.  Given that Claire’s room is only 8.5′ x 11′, a standard bookcase was not a viable choice, as it would take up too much valuable floor space (i.e. play area).  I thought a wall unit would be best.  I had been admiring this Catalina Magazine Rack offered via Pottery Barn Kids (PBK):

The Catalina magazine rack offered via PBK. $124.00

The only problem, I wasn’t too keen on the $124.00 price tag.  There had to be a better way.  I then remembered that my husband had a trophy/ribbon display case in the basement.  It was lovingly made by my father-in-law when my husband had just started track and field during high school.  I fondly remember the trophy case in my then boyfriend’s bedroom from when we were dating.  He had his various ribbons, medals, and trophies proudly displayed.  Well, those days were long ago and he doesn’t feel the need to display those trinkets any longer, although my husband continues to be an avid runner.  The oak display case was just sitting there, collecting dust, and just further cluttering our basement.  After clearing it with my husband, I set out with a plan to turn the old, trophy case into a wall book shelf/magazine rack a la PBK.

The trophy case with a coat of primer and one coat of Behr’s ‘Cottage White’ (the same color as Claire’s trim, hand-painted stencil, and most furniture pieces). It was solidly built with wood and even had a cork board backing.  I didn’t bother to paint the cork board, as I had a plan that would cover the backing.

To simulate the PBK Catalina Magazine Rack, I hand-sawn six pieces of leftover quarter round the width of the trophy case.  Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of this process, as I was eight (8) months pregnant at the time and in the dark basement at 2:00 in the morning.  Ah, such a glamorous life I lead….

The next day, my husband kindly rounded the ends for both aesthetics and safety.  He also affixed the pieces of quarter round with wood glue and small nails, so the quarter round would act as a fence to keep the books from falling off the shallow shelving. (Don’t worry, a picture is coming to show you what I mean.)

Next, I needed to cover the cork board backing.  Sure, I liked the idea of having a cork board, but it wasn’t necessary for an 18 month old and it had seen better days.  I had some leftover Central Park toile sage fabric.  Because I wanted the shelf to be versatile, I decided to use two pieces of cardboard (the same dimensions as the cork board backings) and cover them with the fabric.  I simply cut my fabric slightly larger than the pieces of cardboard, wrapped the excess to the backside, then fastened with tape.  I could have used glue, but I was too impatient.  The tape worked just fine and it even allows me to ‘save’ the fabric for future uses. The fabric-covered cardboard fit snuggly enough that there was no need to adhere it to the back of the shelf.  If I needed to adhere it, I probably would have used velcro. Here is what I was left with at this point.

The mounted book shelf/magazine rack with the quarter round and fabric-covered cardboard in place.  It still needs a few touch-ups to fill-in the nail holes and to repair the scratched paint on the side. The shelf was mounted using heavy-duty toggle bolts fastened in the top two corners through the cork board backing. I placed the fabric-covered cardboard over the cork board backing after the shelf was affixed to the wall. This makes the fabric backing easily changeable and disguises the fasteners.

Another view with some of the books in place.

Here is the final piece in place and full of our daughter’s favorite books…

Isn’t it lovely?

Another view. I just think it is too sweet. It turned out better than expected.

The best part isn’t that it was essentially free, as I already owned all of the materials I used (pack rats unite!).  The best part is that this is yet another wonderful piece that I consider to be an heirloom.  It makes me happy to know that my father-in-law made the piece for my husband, and then my husband and I re-imagined it for use by our daughter.  I can see this piece easily changing over the years to suit Claire’s needs and decor.  I hope that one day this piece can passed down to Claire’s children and be just as useful and loved.

Even better, I’ve submitted this very magazine case/book rack in a link party over at “One Project Closer’s The Better Half”.  Be sure to check out the link party #3 here:

<img src=”” alt=”The Humble Brag Link Party” style=”border:none;” />
Also, check our Young House Love’s Pinterest Link Party!
There are also tons of other amazing projects and ideas submitted by others just waiting to be shared!

Until next time..., happy painting!

5 thoughts on “It’s Not Your Father’s Trophy Case

  1. […] choice that freed up floor space, in lieu of a standard bookcase, was the modified ribbon/trophy case that I shared with you […]

  2. […] Wall bookshelf    FREE –  (repainted and repurposed trophy display made my Chris’ Dad for Chris) […]

  3. Suzz says:

    Lovely! And inspirational 🙂

  4. jocieopc says:

    Hey Christine, This is so cute and a great idea for organizing books!!
    Thanks so much for linking up last Friday. Hope to see you back tomorrow to link up and see if you were featured or even won the free ad space!

  5. Stephanie says:

    love it – now to find me a trophy case….

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