Posted on 6 Comments

Where old tv cabinets go to die

When we got our new TV a few months ago, we took the opportunity to dispose of the TV cabinet we’d had since before we were married. Actually, Neil had it before we were even dating. So, yes, it had some history, but neither of us ever liked the darn thing. We kept it around because it did its job, and we lacked the funds to replace it.

The day we brought home the 37-inch HDTV that we bought with all of the Best Buy gift cards we could cobble together, was also the day Neil took a hammer to the old cabinet. What with televisions getting bigger and every other entertainment-related component getting smaller, we found we could get by with a much smaller cabinet (that we already owned and liked), if we placed the TV on top instead of inside.

Recycled TV Tray

As is often our fashion, some parts of the old cabinet ended up out in the garage where they would sit until someone put them to the curb, and other parts of it sat around the family room waiting for somebody to bring them outside. It occurred to me last week that I could either

  1. keep staring at the displaced shelves on the floor where they didn’t belong
  2. bring them out to the garage with the rest of the unit’s parts, or
  3. put them to work in some other capacity

Turns out, they make pretty decent (if heavy) TV trays. When we eat down there in the family room, the boys have a tendency to leave crumbs all over the place. These shelves could catch at least some of that mess.

Recycled TV Tray

I used them like that for a while, but their ugliness bothered me, and this week I dealt with that. I bought two rolls of shelf paper: one in white to use as a sort of “primer” or bottom coat, and one in a dot pattern to use on top of the white. (I could have gotten away with just one roll, if the pattern I’d chosen was dark enough, but I was concerned that the deep brown faux wood grain would show through under the light dots and I didn’t want that.)

It occurred to me that I could have gotten really fancy with this project, using favorite fabrics covered in contact paper, incorporating fun family photos, or letting the kids decorate them with their drawings, etc. but I settled on quick and easy this time around.

Recycled TV Tray

The boys have been using them when we have food downstairs, and last night I used one as a lap desk. I put my computer on top of it, and it worked out very well. My laptop has a tendency to get very warm and make my legs hot, particularly on sticky summer nights. By using the shelf, my legs never came into contact with the laptop and they stayed nice and cool.

Recycled TV Tray

I don’t know how well the shelf paper will hold, or how permanent this is, but for now I am really happy with my repurposed TV cabinet shelves!

New handbag New handbag

Now, here’s an interesting segue… you know how I mentioned that there were some parts of the old cabinet out in the garage waiting for us to throw them away? One of those parts is the very stiff, very strong pressed cardboard that was on the back of the cabinet. Neil has been sawing off small pieces of that for me and I have been inserting them into the bottoms of all of the handbags I’ve been making. That’s what is making the bases of the bags sturdy and flat! So there you have it. If you want a piece of my old TV cabinet, you’ll have to buy a purse. I still have two left at the moment… 😀

Recycled TV Tray

I wonder what I can make with the rest of that thing. Maybe I’ll put wheels on the bottom, attach a handle, and use it to lug crates of books around when I go to guild retreats as a vendor. (Wait. I was joking, but actually that might have possibilities. I think I need to mull that one over…)


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Posted on 6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Where old tv cabinets go to die

  1. You are one of the most creative people I know when it comes to recycle and embellish stuff everyone else would just throw away – I like these trays and the dotted pattern is beautiful. and the idea for the purse’s bottoms – just genious.

    you rock girl


    See what Bettina has been blogging about: A New Star in Blog Heaven

    1. This is really just a recent development for me (this recycling thing) but I’m enjoying it! My mother is the queen of repurposing, so I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually do some of my own 🙂

      Thanks for the complement!

  2. Now that’s recycling! You are so innovative, Lisa.

    1. Thanks! (I say, as I type on my laptop, which is on my repurposed shelf, which is on my lap, LOL!)

  3. I just wanted to say that I LOVE the purses you are making right now. I have made one Amy Butler (The Swing Bag) purse and I like what I have but now I want to make more! You said in a previous post that you were using a pattern out of Simple Sewing that you modified? Is that right? Love the purses!!

    I like the cover on the trays too. Good idea.

    See what Ellen has been blogging about: Beach trip

    1. Thanks, Ellen. It was actually a combination of things. I looked at Simple Sewing’s tote bag project, and Bend the Rules Sewing’s Pleated Beauty project, and that’s how I came up with my initial design. From there, I decided I wanted a flat base on it, and used a tutorial online (I looked at several, but it might have been one at u-handbag that clicked) to learn how to make the bottom flat. The original post is here, and maybe that will help.

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