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How to Repurpose a Magazine Holder

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My daughter, Amanda, needed a small bedside table to hold bedtime story books in my grandson’s bedroom.  I was brainstorming DIY nightstand ideas when I found a wooden magazine rack for $15.  It was the perfect size and I was able to convert it into exactly what she wanted. 

repurpose magazine holder

Step 1: Removing the old finish and priming

The finish on this old magazine rack was dark, thick and nasty!  We removed the table top and decided to look for something else because we felt the original top was too small.  Using my palm sander, I started with 120 grit sandpaper and work my way up to 220 grit sandpaper to remove all of the finish.  I knew I was going to paint it so I didn’t get it all off, this was a tough one!  When I got the wood nice and smooth, I sprayed Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer and allowed it to dry overnight.

magazine holders

The next morning, I, quickly, hand sanded the entire table using 220 grit sandpaper to give it a smooth finish and then wiped it down with denatured alcohol.  

repurposed magazine rack

Step 2: Painting and Sealing the Table


Amanda wanted an ombre effect using blues and oranges without making it look like a cartoon.  I was really nervous about this so I made myself a sample, with paints I had around the shop, to see how the colors looked together.  I settled on navy at the bottom of the table and fading up to white at the top.  The dark blue at the bottom is Fusion’s Midnight Navy, fading up to Fusion’s Homestead Blue in the middle.  Next, the colors blend into Fusion’s Tuscan Orange and finally, into the white paint at the top. 

When adding each new color, I randomly overlapped and blended the colors before moving onto the next color.   I was pretty happy with the results!   Then, I sealed the bottom of the table with Polycrylic Protective Finish.  I chose Polycrylic because it does not yellow.

repurpose magazine holder

Step 3: Build a Table Top

After I finished painting the table bottom, I felt that a light wood top was the best choice.  I searched my workshop for some leftover wood and I found an old piece of butcher block, PERFECT!  I sanded the butcher block using 220 grit sandpaper to give it a smooth surface.  Then, I wanted to bevel the edge to give it a professional finish.  Using my router and the 3/8” beading router bit, I routed the edges of the butcher block. 

I did not stain the butcher block; I simply applied Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish

Step 4: Attach Table Top

I attached the tabletop to the base using “L” brackets and this repurposed vintage magazine rack was ready to go!

wire magazine

I love the way this little table turned out and Amanda says it’s perfect for bedtime story time!  It provides storage for his books and matches the theme of his room perfectly.  

Looking for more nursery room ideas? Check out our post on How to do a Nursery Accent Wall!

repurpose magazine holder

Repurpose a Magazine Holder Links

repurpose magazine holder

How to Repurpose a Magazine Holder

Prep Time 2 hours
Build Time 6 hours
Dry Time 2 days


  • Palm Sander
  • Router
  • Paint Brush / Roller
  • ¼” nap roller


  • Bleach
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Bullseye 123 Primer
  • Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish 
  • Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish
  • L brackets
  • Fusion Midnight Blue Paint
  • Fusion Tuscan Orange Paint
  • Fusion Homestead Blue Paint
  • White Paint


  • Removing the Old Finish and Priming
  • Painting and Sealing the Table
  • Build a Table Top
  • Attach Table Top
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