• Hometalker
  • Tallahassee, FL

Rustic Built in Bookcase Makeover

8 Materials
2 Days

Do you know what make a great home design? It is the details. This bookcase makeover is easy and whenever you get tired of it you can remove it without any mess.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Let's get started transforming the back of this bookcase with something brighter. A lighter background will help all your accessories and books stand out more and give the unit more style.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

The first step in this project is to remove everything from the shelves and remove the shelves if it is possible. Then measure the width and height for the wood that will fit behind the shelves and purchase wood (thick enough to go behind the shelves if there is space or thin if it is going between the shelves, petroleum jelly, stain, chalk paint, rubber gloves, sponge brush and medium grit sandpaper.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Now that you have all the supplies start with cutting the wood into strips if you have purchased one large piece of wood. And stain the wood in the color you prefer. We used red mahogany.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Next grab the petroleum jelly and rubber gloves.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Gently and sparingly apply some petroleum jelly to the wood here and there. Basically wherever you put the jelly is where the paint will not adhere.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Start painting the wood with chalk paint. Use a sponge brush to apply the chalk paint and you will need two coats. Let the paint dry overnight and then lightly sand it to remove any paint from the petroleum jelly to get the distressed look.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

Now simply place the wood in the back of the bookcase and put the shelves back into place. To protect the back of the bookcase from the wood scratching it place some paper between the layers for protection.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

And you are finished. See how easy this project is and it adds so much character. If you cannot remove your shelves you can cut the strips to go between the shelves. Use a double sided removable tape to keep them in place.

rustic built in bookcase makeover

It's amazing what this bookcase makeover did for this plain built-in bookcase.

I hope this post has inspired you to jazz up your bookcase.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Mary Taylor
    on Jun 14, 2019

    Can you republish the article on organization on organization using hanging shoe storage for sweaters and shower rings to store your scarfs?

    • Linda
      on Jun 15, 2019

      Hi Mary! I have never done a hanging shoe storage organizing post. I would suggest asking this questions in the forum. At the top of the screen there is a "ask questions" tab. Click there and add your questions. I bet someone will be able to help.

Join the conversation

4 of 11 comments
  • Cheryl Kennedy-Jones
    on Apr 30, 2019

    Now THIS is cool!!!

  • Susan
    on May 14, 2019

    Another idea is to paint the existing back of the bookcase. Or wallpaper this area. Have fun!

    • Linda
      on May 14, 2019

      That is a great idea. I recently saw where someone wallpapered foam board and sat it in the back so if they changed their mind later all they had to do was remove the foam board.

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