Cheap 2 Shelf Bookcase Makeover!

These days, the last thing I want to do is spend a ton of money on new furniture, particularly when they are things that I don’t necessarily need.  But, some of the cheap furniture out there looks just that, cheap.  Which isn’t the look I’m going for either.  So I’ve been trying to find ways to get the cheap furniture, and make it look more appealing.  Check out the $8 Ikea table I spruced up here!

With all these recent snow days, thank you New England, I wanted a project to work on while being stuck at home.  I took a quick trip to Ocean State Job Lot (for anyone not from around here, they have great prices, but not always the worlds best quality) and found a pretty sturdy looking 2 shelf bookcase, singing to the tune of $10, I was sold.  Next stop was good old home depot where I picked up a paint sample of Martha Stewart Living in Anvil.  Less than $3 for the sample…and that was all the paint I would need!

Check out my process of turning this:


into this:


 while spending a grand total of….$13!

First thing I did was to assemble the bookcase, then I took out my sanding block and some medium (100 grit) sand paper.

Sand paper, and a sanding block, which I like better than just using sandpaper folded up in my hand

It was important to rough up the surfaces to make sure my paint would stick.  If you were working with unfinished wood that was smooth you wouldn’t have use this step, but because my wood was already finished, I needed to scrape off the smooth veneer.

One side, sanded down

Next I took out the screws and made sure to sand down all the inside surfaces I couldn’t reach while it was put together. (Since the bookcase came unassembled you can just sand all the surfaces without putting it together first.  I chose to assemble it first to see how it looked before spending all the time painting.)

Here are all of my pieces laid out, sanded, and ready to be primed!

Ready for priming!

I had a left over Grey primer from a kitchen table and chairs I painted years ago before moving into my first apartment.  That was the perfect base for my darker grey paint.

 I have a little key for popping off the top of paint cans, but a flat screw driver would work fine too

Before priming I used tiny pieces of painters tape to cover up all the screw holes, so that they wouldn’t get painted shut.


I decided to use a small paint roller instead of a paintbrush in the hopes it would cover up brush lines.  So into the tray my primer went, and I was good to go!

Here is what my shelves look like primed:

Read the back of the paint for dry time!  My primer was dry to the touch in 30 minutes, ready for a second coat in 1 hour.  So an hour later I did a second coat.  Waited a couple hours….flipped all the boards over and primed the other side, and edges!  Then I waited over night for everything to dry thoroughly.

Next it was time for paint.  As I said, I chose the Martha Stewart Living in Anvil.  This is a really nice rich grey, originally I thought that I was going to go with Graphite, but after looking at the paint chips Anvil stole my heart.

Each paint tester comes with 8oz. of paint, which I knew would be just enough for my small bookcase.  The guys at Home Depot mix it right up for you, and for less than $3 it’s perfect for a small project or testing paint on your walls at home before taking the plunge.

I followed the same steps as I did for priming my shelves, except this paint took 3 hours to dry!  So 2 coats on each side later…it took most of the day!

After the final coat was on I let things dry overnight just to be on the safe side.  Then I removed the painters tape covering the screw holes, and was happy to see them safe and unblocked.

Now I had to decide on what pattern to paint onto my shelves.  I had seen the fabulous painted wallpaper Emily did over at Jones Design Company and was sold.  I printed her template, but adjusted the size by quite a bit, since my tiny bookshelf was much smaller than her expansive wall space.

Cut out template, and chalk for tracing

Since I had such a dark surface I used chalk to trace my template, rather than pencil.  Here’s what it looks like traced and ready to be painted.

Then I grabbed my white acrylic paint, a brush, and my make shift paint palette.  (remember how I talked about saving all the plastic inserts from my Christmas ornaments here.  This is what I was saving them for!)

Now it was time to get to work.  I followed the chalked out lines, and tried to stay on the inside of the lines.

Again, avoid filling in the screw holes!  Here is what my first side looks like finished:

Now I lined up the top to try and make my patter flow evenly.

I followed the same steps for the top and other side.  Trace outline in chalk, fill in with paint.  After allowing the paint time to dry, I assembled my bookcase.

Here’s a closeup, which shows that there was quite a bit of touch up work to do!

The bookcase did come with these little circle stickers to cover up the head of the screw.  I decided to stick them on and see if I could paint over them.  That way I don’t have to live with unsightly screws on the side of my bookcase, and if I ever decide to take apart the bookcase again, I don’t have to worry about scraping paint off of my screw first.

I then pulled out an angled brush to do my touch up work:

Here it is after, you can hardly see the circle sticker any more!

You can hardly see the circle sticker!

And here she is all put together, with a few space fillers on the shelves.

I’ll be sure to update when I find a permanent home for her.  Most likely next to my bed, but we shall see!  I’m thrilled with the outcome, what do you think?  It was a time consuming process (mostly waiting for paint to dry) and as I stated here, I don’t have the worlds steadiest painting hand, but overall I think my $10 bookcase looks much improved!  I’d say it was $13 well spent.  Maybe I need to go back for a matching one…

Simply Living

Snowed In

ok ok ok ok ok.  I know that Christmas is long gone, I get it really.  And on that note I promise that today will be the LAST Christmas related post until next season.  But that still leaves today…so prepare yourself!

My snow day was pretty productive.  Neither of these projects are new, I’ve showcased them on here before, but I was just happy to finish up and be done with the holiday season crafts.  First up, I finished off another set of holiday coasters.  I’m loving not wasting the wrapping paper I had left over from gifts, and I think they came out looking pretty festive!

Father Christmas!

I also added a square of felt onto the back, to avoid scratching table tops or whatever other surface the coaster might be on.  I simply attached with my best friend, the glue gun.

Small square of felt gets glued to the back

Pretty little stack of coasters ready to go

I tied ’em up, and chose a thinner ribbon this time, to avoid covering the entire Santa face.  And now I just need to store them away for next year.  Only…346 days until Christmas next year!

The other day my mom popped into our neighborhood Walgreens and what do you know?  All holiday items majorly on sale!  You betcha.  Being the recipient of one of my ornament wreaths last year, she’s a big fan.  So she stocked up on a cart full of ornaments and came home bearing gifts.  Today I finally had the time to sit down and tackle gluing all the tops on to prep the ornaments for wreath making.  I really wasn’t kidding when I said the glue gun was my best friend…

174 ornaments later…and I was good to go.  Now don’t be fooled by the picture above, the majority are red, but there were some pops of color in there as well!

Blue, green, gold, and silver bulbs are hiding!

Some of these bulbs are glass, but I would highly recommend sticking to plastic or shatter proof ornaments.  Inevitably you will end up dropping one and breaking it, which is always a disappointment.  I only broke one, but still…go the plastic route!

One of the advantages to finally tackling this project helped with my New Years Resolution…less clutter!  This got 7, count them baby, 7(!) boxes of ornaments up and off of my floor!  Now that’s impressive.  Some of the glass ornaments had these dividers in the container:

I decided to save them because while a typical paint palette isn’t incredibly expensive, you can’t beat free!  For the next project I work on that needs a palette for dividing paint colors, I know just where to go looking!

Anyways, here’s a peak at the finished product!

All it’s lacking is a nice ribbon bow at the top…one day.

 I love how colorful and fun it looks!  Unfortunately I still have tons of ornaments left…looks like sometime in the near future I’ll have to make at least one more wreath, but we’ll see!  I know you all must think I’m crazy for still making holiday related projects when January is half over…but now is the time to do it!  Get all the materials after the holidays while they are ridiculously on sale, and then you will be super prepared for next year!  At least that’s what I tell myself…

I promise my next post will be something totally unrelated to Christmas.  I swear my ideas branch out a lot farther…

Off for another riveting, I’m sure, episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  And then…my 1 day work week!  How shall I ever survive?