Just after Matt and I married, we bought this little laminate bookshelf from Tarjay for our bedroom. A vision, no? I especially love the fact that we nailed the back cardboard piece on backward, so the faux woodgrain loveliness actually faced the back of the shelf instead of the front as intended.
In planning George’s nursery, I made it a goal to purchase as few new items as possible, instead repurposing items we already owned. This bookshelf was languishing in our garage, and as it turned out, it was just the right size and height for the space. The dark cherry color, though, just wasn’t working for me. I turned to Kate from Centsational Girl for some tips on how to paint laminate furniture, and I set to work recreating the piece!
I followed Kate’s procedure to the letter, starting off with a coat of oil-based Zinsser bond-coat primer.I didn’t have to sand this piece a single solitary bit before priming!After priming, I gave the piece a light sanding before I applied two coats of Benjamin Moore Natura paint in San Antonio Gray (the same color I used for the antique dresser I dressed up for the space). To protect everything after the paint had dried completely, I applied a coat of polyacrylic. This is admittedly a lot of steps, but the finished result is well worth it!
I encountered a slight problem, though, as I was painting. It dawned on me that the moisture in the paint would cause the cardboard backing to warp miserably. Being immensely pregnant and eager to have the project done, I didn’t want to have to replace the backing with something more substantial. What to do?
Y’all might remember the faux hammered copper panels I crafted for our game cabinet using paintable wallpaper. I had plenty of the paper left over from that project, so I decided to put it to use here.
I measured the back of my shelf and cut two pieces of the paper to fit those dimensions. (The roll of paper wasn’t wide enough to allow me to use a single piece to cover the entire back in one fell swoop.) A rotary cutter and mat made this step particularly easy!
Instead of soaking the paper to activate the glue before affixing it to the back of the shelf (once again, I was concerned about what the moisture would do to the cardboard), I adhered the paper using double-sided carpet tape.
When figuring the dimensions for my paper, I made sure the seam between the two pieces would ultimately be concealed behind the shelf. I also made sure that the pattern on the top piece would be precisely aligned with the pattern on the bottom piece. I decided to leave my paper white, as the color was just right for the space, but you can spray paint your trimmed pieces before the carpet tape step if you want some added color.
I absolutely love how this piece turned out! Once again, the before (don’t you love the top of the Dora doll head floating at middle right?)…
If you are wanting to update your space but are trying to stick to a budget in the new year, take a look around your home at the items you already own. There might be a diamond in the rough waiting to be transformed into something really special!
Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you'll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.
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