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Update Broken Glass Shelves with DIY Walnut Plywood Shelves

If you’ve ever spotted a bar cart or plant shelf at the thrifts with broken glass shelves, here’s a quick hack: update broken glass shelves with DIY walnut plywood shelves.

Orchitop Planter Review

I recently inherited a lot of plants, which has been stressing me out because I am a notorious plant-killer and these leafy new friends of mine are deeply sentimental.  They help me feel connected to the loved one who passed, so I want to keep them thriving.  I wanted a nice spot to grow them, so I scooped the perfect plant stand from my grandfather, the welder.  The simple welded plant stand he made fits the spot to the right of our wall unit perfectly, but it needed a little TLC.  The glass shelves had broken long ago and the white paint job was a bit dingy and rusted.  In a pinch, I grabbed a leftover piece of old melamine shelving and placed it precariously on top.

How to fix broken glass shelves

Such a good look, right?

I didn’t want to pay to have new glass shelves cut, so I decided to update broken glass shelves with DIY walnut plywood shelves!  I used some walnut-veneered plywood left over from my DIY modern walnut storage boxes.  Despite my constant nagging to buy one, Hubs and I don’t have a table saw.  Both of our Dads have one though, and this time my Dad got the pleasure of helping me (and feeding me – I timed my visit for pizza night).  He cut two pieces to fit perfectly into the plant stand and then we did a little work reflection.  I thought I might need two pieces per shelf, laminated together with wood glue and edge-banded, but one shelf does the trick and because it’s inset, you don’t see the edges at all so there’s no edge banding required!

I just love it when a DIY project is easier than anticipated, because that’s such an anomaly.  Normally it’s a lot of hair pulling and I end up covered in paint or glue.  I hurried home with my new shelves and, after a couple of applications of Danish Oil, the walnut was a beautiful, rich hue (on the right):

Walnut Plywood Before and After Danish Oil

The plant stand got a light sand and a few coats of Rustoleum Universal Pure White Gloss (I love a primer + paint in one).  This spray paint is good for metal and plastic (in addition to wood, glass, concrete, wicker, etc.), so I even sprayed the plastic feet.  I like them better white than black.  The plant stand just looks fresher now that it’s about ten shades whiter and I that I decided to update broken glass shelves with DIY walnut plywood shelves – they’re SO gorgeous!

Planter with Walnut ShelvesLiving Room with Ikea Besta Unit + Vintage Plant StandOrchitop Carousel Planter from Repotme.comModern White Orchid PlanterOrchitop Carousel Orchid Planter

The living room definitely has more life with some beautiful plants and I’m enjoying the leafy new additions.

MCM Living Room with Grey Painted Fireplace + Lotte Lamps

You might have noticed my funny little orchid pots?  I learned that a pot which offers a lot of ventilation and good drainage is ideal.  This orchitop carousel pot seemed really innovative and I liked the modern look – plus the 5.25″ size fit the planter shelves perfectly – so I ordered five in the pearl finish (it comes in aqua too!)  They are available on Amazon.  The bottom tray clicks off easily, so I water them in the laundry room without the trays and let them drain a bit in the laundry sink before putting on the trays again.

Orchitop Carousel Planter Pearl White

Orchitop Carousel Planter Inside View

What Kind of Pot to Use for Orchids

Revampled Plant Stand - Replace Glass Shelves with Walnut Plywood

Next time you see a sad shelf or bar cart, you know that you can update broken glass shelves with DIY walnut plywood shelves!

Next time you see a sad shelf or bar cart, you know that you can update broken glass shelves with DIY walnut plywood shelves! Great furniture upcycle makeover. #furnituremakeover #upcycle #budgethomedecor



  1. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    August 3, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    i love this! i am going to be bringing more plants into my bedroom and looking for some good ideas! πŸ™‚

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 3, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      Your bedroom is going to look fabulous with more greenery! I love what you've been doing in there. I have seen so many formerly glass-topped tables and plant stands at thrift stores and always thought that having glass cut is pricey but trying to cut my own will be tricky. Don't know why I didn't think of plywood sooner! Easy, paintable/stainable, and most DIYers have a stash of plywood scraps somewhere, haha.

  2. EJ @ Not A House, But A Home
    August 3, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    Those orchids are beautiful!! I found a discard orchid in the garbage room at my condo a couple months ago and I took it home #garbagepicker.The stalk had long since browned but I watched a couple YouTube videos on orchid care so hopefully I can keep it alive. I've never had an orchid before. One of the leaves is already yellow so I'm feeling a bit disheartened!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 3, 2015 / 9:37 pm

      Who throws out an orchid?? So happy you saved it! I have a yellow leaf too but I read that's good because it's shedding it and growing new…? I'm still in the research phase too πŸ™‚

  3. Beth D.
    August 3, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Good luck with the orchids! I love seeing plants in a home. Nature’s green complements all styles. It was wonderful to get another peek into your lovely home.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 3, 2015 / 9:50 pm

      Thanks!! It's been so long since I had plants, I'd forgotten how lovely they look and how homey they make a space feel.

  4. Dora C
    August 3, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    Your house looks so amazing, Tanya! I love the pots you chose for the orchids and the stand looks perfect. I am so terrible with house plants too! Dora

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 3, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      Awww, thanks πŸ™‚ I'm trying to keep it clean while we renovate but it's a struggle! It took me so long to track down a modern orchid pot and I just love these. It was worth it to keep searching.

  5. Maureen
    August 3, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    I know how you feel. My mom had a total green thumb. After she passed away, we inherited several of her plants (including an orchid). It makes me happy every time they bloom, especially because I know she'd be so happy. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 3, 2015 / 9:56 pm

      I'm so sorry for your loss. It must be so hard to lose a mom. It's nice to know someone else feels so connected to their inherited plants. Such a neat connection to care for something they kept alive. I'm so happy to hear yours keep blooming. I hope I'm as successful as you πŸ™‚

  6. cred
    August 4, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    Wow! Just beautiful. Orchids are my favourite. I have a mixed green thumb- I've found I've had varying results depending on where I lived. The natural humidity of the house made a difference- I couldn't keep plants alive in the house I lived growing up. And that plant stand is stunning. I definitely prefer the wood to the glass. Where did you buy walnut plywood? I doubt you can get it at the avg big box store.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 4, 2015 / 2:19 pm

      I'm worried about the winter here because sometimes the living rooms gets very hot and dry with the fireplace roaring…we'll see!!Good question! I bought the plywood from Windsor Plywood. They had walnut and teak. It's where I bought the cool carribean pine for the ikea credenza. I loved the grain on that ply! They also carry walnut veneer and they just got in solid Walnut boards I've been ogling, but they're so pricey!

  7. White Cabana
    August 4, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    The stand is fabulous, the orchids are gorgeous, and the containers are modern and sleek. Nicely done, Tanya!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 5, 2015 / 3:54 am


  8. Michelle {Jarrah Jungle}
    August 5, 2015 / 3:09 am

    The pots look so much better! Never underestimate the power of spray paint, you have a fellow spray paint addictee over here πŸ™‚

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 5, 2015 / 2:23 pm

      Even though I have spray painted so many things, I'm still always amazed at how easily and effectively spray paint freshens things up. Even just blasting the plant stand with a brighter white made such a difference. It looks brand new!

  9. brikhouse2
    August 6, 2015 / 10:57 am

    Haha @ the disclaimer at the bottom. Orchids are so beautiful, I had a nice purple one but it died during a heat wave :(. I keep meaning to get another one but I'm too cheap, I mean I grow plants from avocado, pineapple and lemon seeds…..all free and I feel bad when I throw seeds away, like I am passing up a chance to give something life. lol. Those pots are quite interesting. I didn't know until mine died that there was no dirt in the pot, mine just had a Styrofoam ball to hold the stake. I'm a little addicted to plants, I have them everywhere, they make a house so much more happy and bright and bring life to the space.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 6, 2015 / 3:24 pm

      You grow from random seeds? That's so awesome. Now I feel bad for the pepper seeds iI scrapped today…is it difficult?? Do you grow them outside or in pots? I think my climate is too cold to grow a lot. I think only certain things are hardy enough, without a greenhouse or serious know how.

    • brikhouse2
      August 13, 2015 / 9:28 am

      I grow them all inside. My avocado ones I started in a mason jar with water and just moved to pots not long ago and I have some new ones starting too lol. The pineapple seeds are the little tiny black things you see when you slice off the outer skin. I just stuck a bunch of them in water, put a lid on, put on a window sill and let em do their thing. They take quite a while to grow some tiny little roots and leaves, but then I planted them in a shallow dish with some soil and a lid to make like a little green house. Most died but I got 2 strong ones. This summer they took off, been growing em since last summer. I also have 2 plants from the top of the pineapple. Just twist off the top, peel about 5 layers of the leaves back until you see roots and put in water until more roots grow then put in soil. Some people just plop em right in soil after they twist em off. The lemon seeds I peeled off the outer husk, put in water until you see a root grow and then put in dirt. Don't leave in water too long or they go mush, once you see about .5 to 1 cm root put in dirt. I did this last summer and only a couple survived, did it again about a month ago and they grew much faster this time, almost caught up to the other ones lol. I was actually inspired by a pic I saw on Pinterest I think with a cup full of lemon plants, it was just too pretty, I wanted it. That is when this madness of growing everything started lol. When I water my plants tomorrow I'll try to remember and take some pics and post em to Instagram. There is something just so satisfying about growing something from a seed…..even a seed not from a pack but from a fruit. I tried strawberries last summer and only got teeny tiny little plants and I grew a huge plant from a sweet potato but it seemed to attract those little flies so I ditched it. So in other words no it's not difficult, you just gotta be patient.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 15, 2015 / 4:02 pm

      That is SO cool. You will definitely fare well in the apocalypse, lol. Please post photos to IG – I really want to see!!

  10. elliephotomaghead
    August 8, 2015 / 12:27 am

    Hi I've been reading your blog for a few months now and it's really become my favorite. Your style it is such an inspiring mix of fresh, recycling, classic, and just fun! I wanted to give you a tip about the orchids that my mother, the lady with the green thumb, gave me. She places one ice cube per week in August and she rubs them clean every two days with a slightly damp sponge or clean washcloth. She has brought life to one orchid for the past 7 years. Truly amazing. Well I'm sure you'll do great just don't over water your plants! And please keep inspiring us all with this great blog!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 8, 2015 / 1:00 am

      Thanks so much for your kinds words (and your vote of confidence)! That is a great tip about the ice cube – and I trust a green thumb! I'm a chronic over-waterer, so that tip might help me a lot. Thank you!!!

  11. Emily Wignall
    August 11, 2015 / 5:14 am

    so fun…i love seeing older pieces given a new life! that walnut plywood is gorgeous…excited to see what else you did with it.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      August 11, 2015 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks! I'm definitely hooked on walnut right now and the plywood is a somewhat more affordable way to work with it – although my local lumber yard just brought in solid walnut boards that I drool over…

  12. Cost2Coast
    September 12, 2015 / 7:07 pm

    Love the pots, love the plant stand, love the orchids! You've definitely found the beauty in it all and made all the pieces shine as well as compliment your home. Best of luck with your plant care – mine live day by day πŸ˜‰

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 8, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Thanks so much – mine are hanging on for dear life but I'm trying not to panic!

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