By Marina Hanes on November 04, 2010

The magazines you've read through can be turned into extra storage space for the home in a few easy steps.

Magazines can be thick, but individually, the floppy, thin pages seem like the last material you would use to build a sturdy bookshelf. To everyone’s surprise, Sean Miller did the unthinkable and crafted a bookshelf from 80 National Geographic magazines and was named one of 23 finalists in Inhabitat’s Spring Greening Contest.

When magazines start piling up, it’s hard to part with them. So, the next option is to display them on a rack, but once you run out of storage space, you have to make a choice to reuse or recycle. Reusing a collection of magazines and creating a bookshelf is an eco-friendly and stylish way to make room for more books and magazines. Although you might not want to say goodbye to such an iconic magazine like National Geographic, you can always reuse a collection that isn’t as close to your heart. Follow in Miller’s footsteps and create a magazine bookshelf of your very own.

  • Gather all of the magazines you’re willing to reuse. You can make a longer bookshelf using 80 like Miller did, or create smaller, cube-like shelves using fewer. Judge your wall space first and then decide how long you want your shelf to be.
  • Thoroughly coat the magazines in a water/starch mixture and neatly stack them together. Create a homemade starch by boiling 3¾ cups water. Then add 1 tablespoon of powered cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water to the hot water in a separate bowl.
  • Place a brick or other heavy item on top of the outside of the stack and allow the magazines to dry for a week. During this time, the paper should harden, and the set of magazines will become one unit.
  • Carefully use a band saw to carve out a rectangular shelf. Leave a few magazines in their entirety on both sides to give the shelf stability.
  • Install several picture-hanging hooks that will hold the weight of the shelf.

Give this DIY magazine bookshelf a try and increase your home’s vertical storage space. In addition, this accessory is a green conversation piece that can enhance your walls with iconic reading material.

About the author

Marina Hanes is a writer and editor based in Youngstown, OH. In addition to website content writing experience, she acquired researching and interviewing skills while working in a law office and a trauma research department.

Marina's grandfather, who was a forester, sparked her interest in sustainability. In 2008, she received a degree in professional writing and editing from Youngstown State University. In her spare time, she dabbles in fiction and children’s book writing, and her hobbies include yoga, skiing, kayaking and reading. Living with three cats and three dogs only makes life more fulfilling.

Marina owns Cat’s Eye Editing, LLC, and a listing of her published works can be found at CatsEyeEditing.com.


Learn more about Marina Hanes

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