Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in the New Year With a Fancy Bookcase for the Nursery


(I had sort of hoped to either have a baby before 2012 ended, for tax deduction purposes, or to have the first baby in my city/state/country of 2013, in hopes of getting free stuff. But, as you can see, I am still here. Historically, my babies show up remarkably close to their due dates).

So check out how I'm trying to be a less lazy blogger! I added a gadget with "popular posts" to the sidebar awhile back, but then the problem was it automatically picked the first picture from each post, which was usually some "before" shot of an empty living room or something. I thought that this probably did not make people want to click on the posts. And maybe there is some way to fix it so it won't use the first picture, but I don't know what it is.

So I went through and put better pictures at the top of all the posts that are there right now, BUT I don't want to give away the big reveal in the first picture, because what fun is that? Right? Right?! So, at least for this post, look what I did! I made a visually pleasing picture that merely supplies a tantalizing hint of what is to come. I am so terribly clever.

And, with that unnecessarily long prelude out of the way, I am going to write an unnecessarily long post about the relatively simple project of lining an old bookcase with fabric to make it look prettier.

This bookcase's first role in our family was in Ari's nursery. I'm pretty sure I got it at a garage sale in or around Boston. I don't remember what it looked like to start with, but we painted it white (or repainted it white) back then. Then it moved around our house for years, getting dingier and dingier. This is what it looked like until a couple of weeks ago:


I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the whole thing. I think there was a big trunk in front of it. Anyway, as you can see, not in terrific shape, paint-wise.

So the first order of business was just to get a fresh coat of paint on it, and I decided to go with the same gray, chalk-paintified, that I used on the dresser with the whale pulls: Behr's Burnished Metal from Lowes. Dave put two coats of paint on it and then made his first try at applying finishing wax. This part did not go well. Hint: do not apply finishing wax (especially the first time you try it) at night. Because then maybe you will use too much wax, and then you will think you did a good enough job buffing it, but when you take a look at it later, in daylight, you'll see a whole bunch of nasty yellow wax residue, and it will be way too late to get it off with a rag at that point.

Yes. What happened next was that Dave broke out the power sander and sanded off all the wax and much of the paint. Fortunately there was enough of the gray paint still left on there that one more coat did the trick once the sanding was finished. I repainted it, and then I let Dave do the wax again, because you have to get right back up on that horse, right? And this time he totally nailed it.

We now had a lovely gray bookcase, but we weren't willing to stop there. ANY nursery can have a gray bookcase, but it takes a really special nursery to have a gray bookcase with squids.

Back before Christmas, I discovered Spoonflower while poking around looking for fabulous ocean animal fabric. If you are new to Spoonflower as I was, here, as best as I can gather, is what it's all about: Spoonflower has pretty much any kind of fabric you could possibly want. I guess they have designers who make some of it, or you can design your own fabric and they'll make it for you, and then other people can buy your design, too. It's really cool. And really expensive. The cheapest basic cotton starts at 18.50/yard. It's pretty unapproachable for a bigger project (sorry dining room curtains: no squids for you!), but I only needed a yard for the bookcase, and they had really cool squid fabric, so I splurged a bit and bought it.
The fabric took a long time to get here (2 weeks-ish?), but it looked great when it did.

At first I thought I'd buy some spray starch and attach the fabric to the back of the bookcase that way. But the back was nailed in pretty permanently, so we didn't want to take it off so that we could wrap the fabric around it. And we couldn't just cut the fabric to fit the back or it would fray (plus I was pretty sure measuring it and putting it in there would be fraught with error). In the end, the easiest/safest plan seemed to be cutting a piece of cardboard to fit against the back of the bookcase and covering it with the fabric.



We very carefully measured and remeasured the back of the bookcase and then cut the cardboard (notice our cardboard is a Lowe's box which reads, "Never stop improving." So motivational).


Then we put the cardboard in the back of the shelf to test out the fit, since it would not be easy to make adjustments after the fabric was on there (you'll see in this picture that I changed the order of things to preserve the flow of the story. At this point, shelf had been painted, waxed, and de-waxed with the sander, but the repainting hadn't happened yet).


We laid the fabric out on the cardboard and cut it, leaving anywhere between an inch and a half and three inches or so all around (mostly the three inches was just so we didn't need to cut the top and bottom; it was pretty close, so we left it as it).

For the front side of the fabric backer, we quickly applied spray adhesive (which I already had on hand; apparently spray adhesive holds up much better in a cold/hot garage for years than spray paint does) and then put the fabric down on top, smoothing as we went. We actually sprayed and adhered a small strip at the  bottom first, to hold it in place and keep it even while we did the rest. I used that metal meter stick there to smooth out any wrinkles. There is not much time for all of this. Work quickly!


Try not to fret if it's not perfect; it won't really show when you're finished! Remember my mantra: "I was not really a perfectionist about this part."


Next Dave tied some of the extra fabric around his head and plugged in the hot glue gun. Have I mentioned that this glue gun is the best $3 I've ever spent?


We flipped the cardboard over and put dots of glue all along one side, then wrapped the edge of the fabric around, pulling it tight as we went, and attached it to the back of the cardboard.



I didn't worry overmuch about what the folds looked like in the back, since no one's ever going to see them. I just made sure nothing was poking out past the edges.


Here's what the cardboard looked like, all finished.



We put the cardboard in the bookcase, and it fit like a glove!


And all finished, in its spot between the nursery windows, with the shelves back in!

Now I just have to make myself cover up some of the awesome squiddiness with books and whatnot, because otherwise there is not much point in its being a shelf.

Linking with:
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Somewhat Simple
Happy Hour at Design, Dining, and Diapers
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating's Flaunt It Friday
The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday
Lovely Crafty Weekend at Lovely Crafty Home
Tater Tots and Jello's Weekend Wrap-up Party
Funky Junk Interiors
Classy Clutter's Spotlight Saturday
Under the Table and Dreaming's Sunday Showcase Party
Hookin' Up With House of Hepworths

44 comments:

  1. THAT IS THE CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow--thanks! who knew squids could be so powerfully cute? ;)

      Delete
  2. I love this, so cute! Thanks for linking up.
    Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Those squids are so floral :) Love that pattern and what a great idea to use cardboard. That way it will also be easy to swap out, would you ever want to. But would you ever want to? It looks so great! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! yes, ease of swapping it out was another factor--although I think if we'd gone with starch, it would have peeled right off? that's what I hear anyway. But we also considered gluing it to the back, and that would have been a lot more permanent.

      Delete
  4. Dave is stylin' the fabric. I just love this project & the squid!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It turned out so well!! I'm so glad that Dave tied fabric around his head. And what in the world would we do without glue guns?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think tying fabric around your head makes DIY projects turn out better, too.

      Delete
  6. I love it! The fabric is very pretty and the fact that you can change it whenever you want makes me like it even more!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The squids are actually killing me with cuteness. If I don't end up at Hancock's buying fabric tonight it will be a miracle, because this would make our bookshelf look so much better!

    ReplyDelete
  8. what a great idea! i love spoonflower:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it great? Thanks, and thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
    2. Isn't spoonflower great, I mean...not my idea ;-)

      Delete
  9. That's a great little project, it looks really nice. I may try the cardboard/fabric thing in a project sometime soon.
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! and thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  10. Love the way this turned out! Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great weekend!:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks great! I love the fabric and that it's not a permanent thing so you can swap it out if you redecorate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! yes, the changeability is definitely a good feature...though right now it's hard for me to imagine not loving the squids anymore ;). thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  12. So so so cute! Thank you so much for sharing! It is perfect addition to that pretty bookshelf! Thanks for linking up at Happy Hour!!!
    Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks--and thanks so much for hosting!

      Delete
  13. Oh this is too cute! the fabric looks perfect in the background, what a fun way to dress it up. Hoping your baby arrives soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. using the card board is such a smart idea, and i LOVE the shape of that piece!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! yes, I like the extra little curves it has going on :)

      Delete
  15. Love your choice of fabric, and how this turned out! Extra points for the headband ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  16. Love the idea of using cardboard. I want to do this to an entertainment center my husband made but didn't want to damage the wood in case I want it plain again someday. I'm going to try your method, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it helped :) ....after seeing how easy wrapping the cardboard was, I'm eyeing every other shelf in my house now, too ;)

      Delete
  17. Wow that looks fantastic. Its amazin what you can do and how you can alter something with some fabric, cardboard and a glue gun.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great-looking bookcase. Nice tutorial, too. I'm sharing your post on my Once Upon a Firefly FB page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :)...and thanks for the facebook mention! I "liked" your page.

      Delete
  19. Love Love Love Your Really cool Squid fabric!!
    will have to check out Spoonflower for some of that!! The Bookcase is Fantastic! and I love the color of the walls too!!? Just haoppened upon your blog will have to check out previous post! Thanks for sharing!
    Tami

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you...and welcome! Checked out your site and saw you're in Scituate...that was one of our garage sale haunts--the bookcase might have come from there originally :)

      Delete
  20. Gorgeous, I love it so much!
    I have been planning to do this for the last 11 months in my house, above the desk in the kitchen! But I never found any fabric, paper, wallpaper, wrapping paper, ANYTHING that I could settle on. Now I can check out spoonflower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes--go there now! They have EVERYTHING there!

      Delete
  21. Love it! What a lucky baby to have a mom who thinks out of the box and does SQUIDS in the nursery! You go, girl. And best of luck with the last days of pregnancy - I hope you have a wonderful bundle to bring home soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha--thanks! It's true...babies today don't know how lucky they have it. When I was a baby, it was nothing but Raggedy Ann and Andy ;). thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  22. Oh my goodness it is so awesome! I am totally ripping off this idea. It won't be squidy-good, but still!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this project! LOVE it! Thanks for linking up to my link party! :)

    ReplyDelete

Like all human bloggers, I love comments! I make a valiant effort to respond to as many as I can and to hop over and check out your blog if you have one. So let me know you're here, if you have a bit of extra time on your hands :)