Custom Bookcase Creation: A Project with Many Lessons Learned

First off, I am going to forewarn you that this is going to be a long post.  Why?  Because I failed…multiple times.  I wasted a LOT of time and money, but hopefully by telling you my  errors, you can avoid them if you wish to attempt a similar project.  So here is a before and after of my completed project:


I bought the maple bookcase from Target for $30 and originally intended to paint it the same blue as my surfboard inspired coffee table and have a gray and white chevron background.  I ended up with a gray bookcase, with yellow shelved and an aqua and white chevron background.  I am happy with the finished product, but boy did I make a lot of mistakes and learn a lot of lessons in the process.

My first attempt was to spray primer and paint the bookcase with the same paint I used to

Imagedo the coffee table.  It is made to stick to plastic, wood, and a wide array of materials and I didn’t have a problem painting the wood veneer on the coffee table so I thought it would be just fine.  Boy was I wrong.  A light sanding like I did on the coffee table didn’t hardly scratch the surface of the bookcase’s veneer.  And the primer and paint would rub right off even after they had had proper time to dry.  I was left with the mess you see in the image.  In hindsight I think if I had used some sort of power sander to rough up the veneer first it would have stuck, but I can’t be sure.  So don’t assume that paint made to stick to the slickest of substances will stick to your veneer.

Scraping paint off the bookcase boards.The next step was to use a scraper to remove the paint.  I actually found it quite entertaining.  The blade on the scraper was super sharp, I barely had to put any pressure at all to remove big chunks of paint at a time.  Though after doing the fronts and backs of ten boards, my carpal tunnel kicked in and my wrist kinda hated me.

Blue and Yellow Bookshelf Color

I did NOT like this blue and yellow combo. Too primary color looking to me. What do you think?

My next idea was to do a vinyl wrap.  I had already wasted quite a bit of money on primer and paint and invested hours upon hours into this project.  A vinyl wrap would be a good option.  My parents own a sign shop and are nice enough to give me free materials and do work for me at no charge.  I could have had one of the employees wrap my bookcase but I was far too impatient.  Now, let me tell you that if you are not familiar with vinyl do NOT try this on your own.  It will be a lot cheaper just to purchase your own vinyl and do it yourself, but you are going to have bubbles, seams, etc.  I have been around vinyl for the entirety of my life.  Though I’ve never done it professionally, I’ve helped out and taken plenty of odd jobs at the shop.  Despite my experience I still have a ton of bubbles and seams.  From a distance you can’t tell, so it doesn’t bother me much and to an untrained eye it’s not east to spot, but the vinyl wrap I did was far from perfection.  I decided to change up the color scheme and do the shelves yellow.  After wrapping the shelved, I had misjudged the amount of vinyl on the roll and used the entirety of it.  I was a bit concerned that my family might need that pretty canary yellow for jobs, so I then decided to go with the blue with the most left on the roll for the outside of the bookcase.  Big mistake.  At least in my opinion.  The blue and yellow together looked too elementary school.  It was a bad shade of blue.  Defeated, I took the bookcase home and began to assemble it.

Printer printing bookcase background.

This is the printer used to print the bookcase background.

When I explained my discontent to my parents, who were also going to print me the background for the bookcase, they told me to disassemble it and re-wrap it in a different color.  So I brought it back and changed to a light gray that matched the paleness of the yellow.  I then decided to go with an aqua and white chevron background to tie in the color palette and style to the rest of the room.  The chevron was printed and put on a more rigid plastic than the original backing that the bookcase came with originally.  Which gives the bookcase added strength and support.  It was a lot of work, but I am happy with the outcome.

What do you guys think of the finished product?


About CraftyMaddi

I combat being bored and broke with being crafty and thrifty. I'm a self proclaimed beach bum from Florida who loves animals, football and pina coladas. I like to upcycle, refurbish and create. I make jewelry, knit and super glue stuff together. =) Thanks for stopping by!
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1 Response to Custom Bookcase Creation: A Project with Many Lessons Learned

  1. Pingback: Boring Ikea Bed Makeover |

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