If you’re looking for a solution to accommodate your ever-growing pile of books, can I suggest a simple weekend DIY project for you?
Painting bookshelves is surprisingly easy and affordable. In general, there are three types of bookshelf reruns: 1) painting or reworking a thrift store in an ultra-stylish color for a versatile home filled with very personal items; 2) painting a cheap, pre-made flat pack bookcase because you are on a budget but still want a personal flair; 3) Do everything in the second category for steroids because for a fraction of the price you prefer a custom, built-in look.
This tutorial covers the second category. If you want to bring style, cohesion, and unity to your space, this is a good place to start!
I’m in the process of adding bookcases to my house and I want bookcases to match my kitchen cabinets. It’s a multi-week project, but even my built-in custom shelves need to start with the steps in this tutorial. So without further ado, here is what you need to know.
What you will need:
- Self-assembled bookshelf of your choice. I like Ikea’s Billy Bookcases, but any pre-made bookcase will do.
- Zinnser BIN primer. This material adheres to any surface, eliminating the need to sand or remove existing surfaces. You can use it for both thrift finds and factory-made shelves.
- Paint in the color you choose. You can go for a high gloss finish for a modern look, but be careful to show any imperfections. Personally, I love Benjamin Moore Aura for its non-toxic, beautiful finish. Just know that it’s expensive, and probably more expensive than your flat pack bookcases.
- Paint tray. I just use aluminum foil as a disposable liner. I also use foil as a tray cover between layers during the drying time to keep the paint from sticking.
- Tack cloth. A sticky cloth that you run over your parts before painting to ensure a clean surface.
- Paint roller. A mini paint roller with high-density foam makes for the smoothest finish and is the perfect size for this painting scale.
- Drop cloth. You can also use old sheets of paper, plastic, or butcher paper.
Notes before beginning
- Work in a ventilated area. Do not work in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and during periods of high humidity. If you do this, it will take forever for the paint to dry.
- When the shelves are the way you assemble them it will be much easier to paint them before assembling. So paint first, then assemble.
- The right primer is everything.
- Lay out the kerchief and all of your parts.
- Wipe the upward-facing surfaces with a cloth.
- Load the roller into the paint tub with about a pint of primer and start covering your parts. Apply even pressure, being careful not to leave any streaks.
- Once the primer is dry (10-15 minutes), turn the piece over and repeat step 3.
- Once the second side has dried, roll the edge and let it dry.
- After the parts are properly primed, prep your paint pan with the paint and gloss of your choice with a new liner and foam roller.
- Repeat steps 3 through 5 with paint.
- Depending on the color used and the color you have chosen, you may need to repeat steps 3 through 5 for a second coat.
- Once everything is evenly coated, dry and beautiful, assemble your bookcase as directed. You’re done!