Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thrift Store Bookshelf Upcycle

While I was working on the Bok Choy Dresser I was also refinishing a tall bookshelf we bought on sale at a consignment store for $40. It was in decent condition but had too much of a country feel to it so I wanted to modernize it with some fresh paint.

During the drying time between coats of primer, paint, and polycrylic for the dresser I worked on the bookshelf.

The steps for refinishing the bookshelf were basically the same as the dresser except that I had to remove each shelf and refinish them separately, take out the metallic shelf support clips from the standards, and carefully cover the standards with painter's tape. Since the standards are about half the width of the painter's tape that I bought (because I didn't know at the time that painter's tape comes in various sizes!) I had to use an x-acto knife to trim it down. In the end this turned out to be a bad decision because the removal of the painter's tape, once the bookshelf was finished, was the most time-consuming task I've dealt with in my DIY projects thus far.

In case you don't know, because I definitely didn't before I took up this hobby, this is what a standard is:

Notice that on the side there is still what looks like a bit of white paint stuck to it? That's actually a sliver of painter's tape with paint on it. I had to use tweezers to peel the tape off because it stuck so stubbornly to the standard which resulted in tiny pieces that would not come off (it literally took hours to pull off all the painter's tape from the six-foot long standards). Like I mentioned earlier, next time I'll search for thinner painter's tape or I'll just paint over the standards entirely. The reason I chose not to paint over them on this bookshelf is because I like how the metallic bronze color looks against the bright white paint.

To give the bookshelf a sense of added depth I painted the backboard gray. Unfortunately the foam roller I used on it broke off from it's handle, which caused the paint to settle unevenly. By that point I was too far into the painting process to stop and go buy another foam roller  so I continued using the broken one anyway. Now I know to always have several foam rollers on hand. Live and learn, right? The good thing is that with the books stacked in front of the backboard you can't really see the texture of the paint anyway. And for a $40 bookshelf it's not worth crying over. I still think it looks better than how it started.

Since this photo was taken I've rearranged and color-coded (yes, seriously, color-coded, I'm not scared to admit it) the books to give the entire look a sense of organization.

*I found this porcelain lobster trinket box at a thrift store for $2. It was made in the former Czechoslovakia, which qualifies it as vintage, and makes me wonder who owned it and what did they put inside of it?

*I've had this wooden cat for so long I'm not even sure how I acquired it but I think it was a gift from a family member (sister?). Suffice to say it makes me nostalgic.

It's not perfect by any means but it was a learning experience and in the future if I want to draw all over it or stencil a funky pattern I won't think twice about it because it was just a cheap ol' bookshelf to begin with.

7 Simple steps to refinishing a bookshelf:

1) Remove all individual shelves and hardware. This bookshelf has five shelves and twenty metallic shelf support brackets that I took out and set aside. 

2)  Use sandpaper (or a sander if you're lucky enough to have space for it and a garage of your own) and sand the entire bookshelf  and each individual shelf once with medium-to-hard grade sandpaper (depends on the condition of the wood), wipe dust away with a rag, and then sand it all over again with fine grade sandpaper. This is definitely the most time-consuming and back-breaking task but when that's over it's all smooth sailing. 

3)  Use painter's tape to seal off any areas you don't want painted. I put painter's tape over the standards.

4) Using a foam roller (they have the smoothest paint distribution) and a small, angled paint brush (for hard-to-reach corners) roll one thin coat of primer over the entire bookshelf and the individual shelves. Wait an hour for them to dry and do it again. 

5) Using another foam roller and brush, paint two-to-three thin layers of gray paint on just the backboard of the bookshelf, making sure to paint along the grain. Wait about two hours between painting each layer. 

6) Using a different foam roller paint the shelves, sides, bottom, and top of the bookshelf with two-to-three coats of white paint. Wait about two hours between coats.

7) Once the paint is completely dry (wait at least 48 hours), use a roller to apply 3 thin coats of polycrylic to the entire bookshelf and each individual shelf to seal the paint and make it smudge and nick proof. Wait an hour between coats and then another 24 hours before reassembling and using the bookshelf.

When it's done decorate however you feel fit. You can even color-code your books if you're anal retentive  creative like me!


Anonymous said...

HA!...I remember that cat. ; )

Ana Maria said...

You remember because it's the only cat that doesn't make you allergic ;)