Simple to Sassy Bookshelf with Fresh Paint and Paper Collage

This small bookshelf has been in my family for a long time. I believe my mother made it in high school. It’s nothing special aesthetically, but it’s real, solid wood. When I was 15, I spray painted it black and have used it as a night stand ever since.

Recently, I decided it needed a makeover. But since it’s so small and modest, I wanted to give it some character.

I pulled out my scrap scrapbook paper once again. Even though they’re scraps, the patterns are still beautiful, so I like to use them any way I can. I decided to go with a pink and green motif. I picked out coordinating patterns and cut them into equal squares.

God only knows how many layers of paint this shelf has, so I decided to forgo stripping and sanding and apply a primer directly after cleaning it all off with soap and water AND a tack cloth. I learned from other craft blogs I follow that Zinsser all-surface primer is a great brand, so I used just that.

The top of the shelf had a few deep dings and scratches that were really prominent when I painted over them with the light-colored primer. So I used some Elmer’s Wood Filler Max filler to patch up some of the major dings. After it dried, I sanded the spots then painted them over again with primer just to be safe.

I then applied three layers of the paint to every inch of the shelf. To pick the paint for the shelf, I picked out a bright green that was found in one of the paper patterns that had both pink and green. I chose a beautiful bright green (Japanese Fern by Behr, high gloss interior).

I let the paint set for a few days and in the mean time I brainstormed the best way to arrange the papers on the shelf. I first thought of covering the tops of the shelves. But when I tested it, something just didn’t look right, so I settled for a skewed checker pattern.

I glued the paper squares to the shelf using Hard Coat Mod Podge. I applied a thin layer using a nifty rolling foam brush I found at Michael’s for $4 then pressed the papers down and rubbed them nice and good to get out air bubbles (no buckling on this shelf!).

After the paper squares were glued nice and flat, I used the roller brush again to seal the entire shelf. Because I wanted to make sure the paper was super-sealed from water and what not, I decided to lather that sucker down and used up the entire bottle to finish the piece.

I’m very pleased with the final product. It’s very bright and pretty girly, but much more fun and a whole lot fresher. I’ll continue to use it as a night stand because you can’t beat the multi-level bed side storage for tons of books and whatnot.

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂