Make an Old Bookshelf Gallery Worthy!




Introduction: Make an Old Bookshelf Gallery Worthy!

Have an old particle board book shelf that you just want to throw away? DON'T! Take that old boring bookshelf and make it into a piece of furniture to be proud of!

Step 1: Step 1: Choose Your Piece to Renovate!

Select a piece that is simple and without any decorative parts already. The simpler the piece the easier it will be to renovate. In this case I have a book shelf made from particle board with an ugly faux-woodgrain paper veneer on it. I've had it for years and decided to make it beautiful instead of trash!

Step 2: Step 2: Measure & Materials

First you will need to measure the piece and make a quick sketch with the measurements on it. Remember to bring this sketch with you when you go to the store!
Next you will need to collect your materials. This is the fun part because you get to decide the color and/or theme to go with. If you don't already have a tool go to your nearest hardware store and get the following things:

-Wooden moulding (should be located somewhere in the building materials)
-Spray paint (if you want to be better to the environment and yourself try getting a low VOC paint)
-Masking or painter's tape
-Tape measure
-Razor blade or Exacto blade
-Gorilla Glue
-Small panel nails (make sure they are deep enough to go through the moulding you choose!)
-Safety glasses
-A painter's mask or respirator
-A friend to help you!

Step 3: Step 3: Measure & Cut

Measure out the moulding pieces and use the hacksaw to cut them to size. This is when you will need help from that friend you enlisted. After cutting the pieces use the sandpaper to soften up the edges of the wood. The sandpaper is easier to handle when used with a hard backing such as a deck of cards. Be sure to hold the pieces to the frame to make sure they fit properly. I like to lay out the pieces to have a good idea of what it will look like in the end.

Step 4: Step 4: Glue & Nail

Lay the piece of furniture down and put the smallest amount of Gorilla Glue possible along the edge of the shelf and then nail the piece into place. Have your friend help you hold the piece. Do the same for all the pieces.

Step 5: Step 5: MacGyver Something!

If you come across any problems improvise! The decorative star pieces I chose were too deep and small to fit the hammer into so I had to find some other large screws with flat ends to use as an extension to get to the nail. Just get the nail as far in as you can and hold the screw onto the end of the nail and hammer away.
About 15-20 minutes later you will want to check the edges to see if any glue has expanded out and wipe it off while its still soft. Let this dry for 8 hours. If you need to touch up any hard glue later cut it off with a blade.

Step 6: Step 6: Gear Up & Paint

Take your piece to a well ventilated place. Then put your mask and goggles on and get started painting. I decided to do the interior color a bright teal and the exterior a bright white. This 2 color style takes a few step process.
First lay down 2 coats of the exterior white on the sides and front. The back of this shelf is raw board so I didn't bother to paint it. It's ok if the interior is not fully covered with paint since it will be getting painted later. Wait a few hours for the paint to dry.

Step 7: Step 7: Tape & Paint Again

Tape off the areas that you would like to keep white. I tried to tape along the edge where the moulding meets the shelf. it's ok if it's not perfect on the underside of the shelves because no one will see it. After it's all taped off give the interior 2 coats of paint and wait a few hours for it to dry. After some time you can take the tape off but it's best to let the shelf air out over night.

Step 8: Step 8: Display!

Decide where to put your new shelf and decorate it with you things. Congratulate yourself on making your old shelves new and awesome!

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    I would add an optional step for lining the ground with newspaper, to avoid over spray on the ground, if necessary.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Looks absolutely fantastic.  I really like the choice of colors!


    13 years ago on Introduction

    One would argue that your old shelf was a work of art and gallery worthy due to it having a Philadelphia Eagles bumper sticker on it. GO EAGLES! And good work! How's the paint and texture holding up so far?


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks emjay! I was concerned about the paint not adhering to the surface of the shelf, but it seems to be holding up really well. I used 2 different brands and they both worked great. As for losing the sticker, I made up for it by painting my kitchen really green!