How to Make a Bar From an Upcycled Window

Turning trash into treasure? We'll drink to that!

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

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Set aside a weekend to finally put that thrifted project window you bought last year to good use. Cheers!

Get the Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Turn an Old Window Into a Bar 01:19

Upcycle an old window into a cool bar using shelves, lighting and a frame.

Materials Needed

  • large salvaged window
  • (2) salvaged window shutters
  • (2) 8 oz. cans of blue paint
  • (2) 8 oz. cans of red paint
  • (4) 11"x20" pieces of thin plywood
  • (5) 2x3x8 pieces of lumber
  • (2) unfinished pine stair tread
  • pint can of Danish Oil
  • box of 4" decking screws
  • box of 3-1/2" decking screws
  • (1) live edge wood plank
  • vintage window hardware (optional)
  • metal stemware holder (optional)
  • LED battery light wand (optional)

Tools Needed

  • drill with 3/8” all-purpose bit
  • miter saw
  • orbital sander with 120 grit disc
  • measuring square
  • 2" paint brush
  • 1-1/2" chip brushes
  • wood glue

Cut the Wood

Measure window. This will determine the size of support frame. Our window is 46”x46”. Cut the 2x3’s with miter saw so you have (4) 46-inch pieces, (4) 44.5-inch pieces and (6) 6-inch pieces.

Build the Frame

Lay two 46-inch 2x3 pieces side by side with the 2-inch side facing up. Pre-drill three holes at 1-inch, 26-inches, and 45-inches in each piece so they line up (Image 1). Lay pieces down so now the 3-inch side faces up. Place 6-inch pieces of wood at each predrilled hole (Image 2). Using 3.5-inch decking screws, attach wood to form “ladder” shape (Image 3). You will make two of these. They are the sides of the frame. Place the 44.5-inch pieces of wood between the sides and attach with the same decking screws (Image 4). This is the top. Add two more 44.5-inch pieces to the bottom (Image 5). Use measuring square tool to ensure all pieces are square and level.

Add Shelves

Use a miter saw to cut stair tread to 44-inches long. Screw one piece to bottom of frame to form lower shelf. Screw in from the bottom (Image 1). Screw the other tread in at 26-inches up to form the middle shelf. Screw into sides (Image 2). Attaching this way keeps both shelves smooth.

Paint Shelves

Paint on blue and gray shades with chip brush to give wood a weathered look. Lightly add red on top for faux dimension.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Add Shutters

Use miter saw to cut shutters to 46-inches. Attach to frame using decking screws.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Finish Off Insides

Glue 11"x20” pieces of thin plywood inside above and below shelf for a clean look (Image 1). Clamp in place until dry. Then use finishing nails to ensure panels stay in place. Use chip brush to lightly paint red for a weathered look (Image 2).

Attach Window

Use 4-inch decking screws to attach window to the front of frame. Pro Tip: Before choosing an old window to use, make sure it's free of lead-based paint.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Add Live Edge Wood Plank

Cut plank to 54-inches long. This allows the bar top to overhang a few inches on each side of the frame. After cutting, prep the plank by sanding with orbital sander. Then use a cloth to condition with Danish oil (Image 1). Once dry, attach plank to frame with 4-inch decking screws. Attach from underneath to maintain smooth top of live edge (Image 2).

Optional: Add Accents

Attach vintage hardware to the front of the window. Screw in metal stemware holders and LED light wand underneath the top shelf. Add stemware and your favorite beverages and enjoy!

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