99¢ Thrift Store Tote Redo

Hello beautiful friends!! Welcome to Trash-to-Treasure Tuesday! Ya’ll know this is one of my favorite days of the month because not only do I have a trashy makeover for you, so do four of my crafty friends! Plus, who doesn’t love a good before and after? Be sure to look for links to my friends’ projects at the bottom! I can’t wait to see them myself.

If you missed last month’s T2T project, you can visit that HERE.

Today I am breathing new life into this tote I found for 99¢ when I was thrifting with Nancy last month:

This was clearly a DIY job which I can totally appreciate, and honestly that is why I just had to bring it home and save it from itself!

I’m not sure what the apparatus on the side there was intended for, but that had to go. And the bottom must have been warped because it did not sit completely flat, so I took the whole thing apart in order to replace that piece:

Except once I got it apart, I decided maybe it would be fun to swap that dowel handle out for something a little more fun…like this old coffee table leg maybe?

Yes I save everything. 😀 (See the makeover of the table this came from HERE.)

I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.

But then my tote needed to be a bit longer to accommodate the new fancy handle, so the thin slats across the front and back no longer worked either. In the end the only thing I kept were the two end pieces:

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Is that still considered a makeover? Maybe technically this was more of a rebuild than a makeover?

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I think it turned out sweet though!

Once I got the sides and the new bottom assembled (using wood glue and my nailgun), I used my Varathane weathered wood accelerator to age them:

Varathane weathered wood stain is a perfect base for white washing wood pieces.

This is the perfect base for white-washing, which ya’ll know I do a lot of around here. It gives pieces a coastal vibe which sell well for me in this coastal town.

You can see exactly how I white-wash with this product and watered down paint in this post HERE.

After white-washing the base, I stained the new slats (left over batten from my boys’ bath) for the front and back using Minwax staining cloths in Walnut:

Minwax staining cloths in walnut are great for staining bare wood before painting to give you that rich wood color underneath when sanding.

These cloths are perfect for staining bare wood prior to painting. That way when you sand, this rich brown comes through instead of the lighter raw wood color, and this stain dries super fast.

I only gave the slats one coat of paint over the stain then I just lightly sanded…

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I attached the slats with wood glue and small finishing nails. I use a spray matte sealer to seal everything.

I painted the handle more solid white also using my DIY chalk paint in Behr’s Bit of Sugar. (Recipe with video HERE.) I kind of love how big and chunky it is!

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I thought this pull I had from an old dresser would be a fun unexpected addition after painting it:

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I only added one slat across the back, so things inside could be accessed more easily:

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

This would be cute in a bathroom to hold extra TP or toiletries.

And lookie what I still haven’t taken to the shop…

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Mmmhmm yup I took the mirror off my dresser I shared last week and I am kind of loving having it for staging. I don’t have a need for a dresser with a mirror for sure, but I may be able to use it without the mirror as a side table somewhere. I am trying really hard to find a home for it in our house!

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I hope you enjoyed seeing this cutie come to life. If anyone has a need for a piece of plastic lattice in the shape of a figure eight, I’ve got ya covered.


Tote rebuilt from a 99¢ thrift store find from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Don’t forget to check out what my friends are making over today as well!

1. Prodigal Pieces

2. Bless’er House

3. Girl in the Garage

4. Artsy Chicks Rule

Looking for even more Trash-to Treasure inspiration? Visit all of my past T2T makeovers HERE!

I’ll be back on Thursday to talk about our next big DIY project, and I’m hoping to get some input!

UPDATE: Check out what we have on the agenda as our next big project HERE



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  1. Mary Kaiser says

    Wow, the things you find at the thrift store are amazing, but then so is your imagination! Love how that turned out, so cute. You saved it from the junk pile, good job!

  2. I love how you think outside the tote, Christy. Super cute and so much more style now. Love it!

  3. Christina in SW FL says

    Christy, this adorable! I assume there are two “slats” on the other side as well. 🙂 The before photo was “what in the world?” and the after is “mmmm good”.
    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    • Thanks, Christina! This little tote definitely had its issues lol, but I still love that someone made it with their own two hands. It just needed a little help ha ha! XOXO

  4. What an improvement! You made this into a piece that someone will love and buy in a heartbeat when they see it in your shop.

    • Thanks, Paula! I think it good only get better ha ha…it was fun to reimagine it! XOXO

  5. I love this up-cycled little tray. Such a fab idea! Thanks for sharing!

  6. It’s adorable!

  7. Robyn Wright says

    I can’t believe you picked that up in the first place! Oh, wait! Yes I can. Your imagination is beyond wonderful. GORGEOUS!!

    • Ha ha honestly…I think deep down I knew no-one else would lol! Thank you so much, my friend! It was a fun challenge! XOXO

  8. Marcie Lovett says

    I had no idea what you would do with that pitiful consolidation of pieces. Truly, I think the shop should have paid YOU to take it ???? Of course, you turned a very trashy monstrosity into a marvelous treasure. Well done, Christy.

    Sell the dresser! Someone, right now, is wishing they had one just like it. There’s another one out there, without a mirror, that you can use for staging.

    • Ha ha thank you, Marcie! I do love that someone built this themselves, but yeah…it needed some major tweaking!! And I think I needed your tough love right now with that dresser…might need to just let it go!! Thank you! XOXO

  9. Rebuild, makeover, whatever!! 😉 It’s adorable and I love the old pull! xoxo

    • Ha ha…thanks, Nancy! Maybe I should have saved that for our Thriftshop Shakedown post! XOXO

  10. So cute! If I saw that in a store, I’d buy it.

  11. Becky Cassera says

    Holy cow! How on earth you got that beautiful piece from the scraps that were thrown together, I will never know. Great job!!

  12. You better save that lattice “8”……isn’t your little one soon to be 8!!!! You just might have a need for that……then you can save it for when your oldest will soon be 18!!!!…lolololololo
    Keep up the good work….saving the landfills!!!

    • My youngest just turned 8 on Saturday and I joked with my oldest that I could have used that lattice 8 on his cake lol! I actually tossed it in the trash…now it HAS to be bad for ME to throw it away ha ha ha ha! Thanks, Addie!! XOXO

  13. haha, I’m so glad you saved that tote from itself! That lattice…well, I’m glad it went but I was kind of looking forward to seeing how you redeemed that. 😀 Love the chunky handle! It looks way better now.

    • Right?? lol…it was a unique piece, that is for sure! May be I should have saved that lattice to use later…hmmmm…now that would be a challenge ha ha! Thanks, Cecilia! XOXO

  14. Carole Larsen says

    Another beautiful re-do. You are so creative and I always love your design…you definitely have a signature style.

  15. Bonnie Hipps says

    Poor sad little thing just needed a girl named Christy to take it home and find the diamond in the rough. Love it! Hugs……

  16. This turned out super cute, Christy! I especially love how you used the table leg as a handle. I’m sure it will sell fast!

    • Thanks, Jen! I asked my Hubby if he though the table leg was too big for a handle and he said he thought it was. Glad I didn’t listen to him ha ha! XOXO

  17. So cute in the end, and so hilarious that you ended up only using the ends! Hey, 9 times out of 10, we DIYers are looking of inspiration, not easy projects. This (used to be) ugly little guy surely got your inspiration going to a great finish!

    • Thanks, Becky! It wasn’t until I was painting it that I realized the only parts that I reused were the ends ha ha! XOXO

  18. What a cute makeover! Love the new handle! Have you tried the Varathane in Vintage Aqua or Bleached Blue? Would like your opinion on them if you have!

    • Thank you, Janna! I have not tried either, but now you have me intrigued ha ha! XO

  19. Christy, that is so cute and I love the turned handle. Good job!

  20. I was looking forward to seeing what you did with that tote, especially the lattice. Wowsers wasn’t expecting this – so pretty!

    • Thank you, Marie! I tossed that lattice piece right in the trash…and I save EVERYTHING ha ha! XOXO

  21. Christy, you are such an inspiration, I just wish you could post every day!

  22. Was wondering what you were going to do with this! Pull it apart and redesign ???? very clever ????

  23. SO cute! Now be honest… did you save that lattice piece?! 😉 Love the added drawer pull on the handle!

    • Thanks, Julie! Ha ha no I did not save that piece of lattice ha ha. Now you know it has to be junk if I don’t save it LOL! XOXO

  24. Victoria Golojuch says

    You are amazing! The ideas you get from thrift store items are wonderful and you can bet I will be trying to make some of them. So glad I found you!