Thursday, May 01, 2008

painting the bookcase...

A few people have asked how I went about painting my 'very inexpensive' sewing room/office bookcases. These had been purchased at Target and assembled at home. (We needed something quick and cheap for homeschooling, and these worked out great.) They are MDF with some kind of woodgrain-look finish. As you can see, the backing is a sheet of cardboard...

I decided that I wanted to paint them for a new look, and add some beaded board plywood to the backs. I painted a small, similar-type cabinet several years ago, and that paint job has held up perfectly. This is what I did:

~sand surfaces lightly...I use a small electric palm sander, which makes the job much easier.

~wipe it all down with Klean Strip Easy Liquid Sander (this product can be used instead of sanding, but I do both to guarantee the paint will stick!)

~prime surfaces with Zinsser Bull's Eye 1.2.3 Interior/Exterior Water Base Primer

~paint with 2 coats of a satin or semi-gloss latex paint

Then I painted a piece of beaded board plywood that was cut to fit and attached it to the back...

On the window, is the Scandinavian blind -- yes, it's finally finished -- a project from Katrin Cargill's book Simple Soft Furnishings.


  1. Happy Afternoon, What a coincidence!...Yesterday I too was thumbing through the same book by Katrin Cargill! I love that book!... as well as your wonderful blog! Great painting tips as well!....Heidi :)

  2. Wow! That turned out really nice! I also would like to paint an armoire white. Great job!

  3. So nice!!!

    Lovely blog ypu have! I love coming back...!

    Jes, Sweden ♥

  4. It looks great! I think you can paint just about anything - preparation is the key! Love the blinds you made!


  5. A very helpful post. I attempted the same thing a couple of years ago and didn't really know what I was doing. The result was a mess. In the end, a neighbor took the unsightly, half-painted bookcases to use for storage in her garage. Now that you've shared this, I can do a better job in future. Thank you!

  6. Your shelves turned out great! I have some of the same shelves, and they are starting to look sad. Thanks for the tips on painting and the new backing. That will be a project for fall. Very cute shade.

  7. The bookcase looks great...thanks for the prep information....I think that is so important. I really like the color and I love your shade...very nice. Linda

  8. Thank you for the tips! I'm about to sand and refinish an old dresser. I've never used the liquid sander, but I might have to give it a go.

    Your book case looks great!
    What is the paint color, please.

  9. Beautiful and inspirational! (I've got several of those bookcases here myself!)

  10. Akkkk I wish I had known about that liquid sander, last week !!!! Love your bookcases and good use of what you have. Love the color too. xoxoxox Clarice

  11. Thanks ladies!! The paint color of the bookcase is Fiddlehead D12 from Martha Stewart Everyday Colors.

  12. Thank you so much for posting the directions for this project. I once saw Christopher Lowell paint these type of pieces (I occasionally watched him during the time I nursed my baby girl that is now 9 y.o. - so it was a long while ago!). I never could remember exactly how he went about getting the paint to stick. And I love the bead-board replacement! Even Christopher Lowell didn't think of that - Ha! LOL ;o)

    Lovely redo in my favorite green!

  13. Thanks for the painting tips. I too have a cheap (ahem, very inexpensive) bookcase that needs painting. However, I'm lacking in motivation, so it will probably stay that way for a long while.

    What a pretty I wish I had your sewing ability!

  14. Just found your blog through thehomespunheart, and am enjoying reading it. How clever to replace the back with beadboard, I may have to try this on my own Target bookcase!

  15. what an awesome idea on the bookcases. I have two uglies in my office in need of major improvement. thank you. thank you. and I love the color

  16. Looking through your older posts. I found this wonderful window covering that I have been wanting to make. I see you did. Was it hard? I actually found a tutorial online to make one like that.


Thank you for taking time to leave a comment--I love reading each and every one! I will try to answer any questions you have in the comment section. Due to the amount of spam, I am sadly no longer able to accept Anonymous comments....Kindly, Deb


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