A New Look for an Old Bookcase

21 Materials
2 Days

Hey my friends! On one of my "treasure hunting" adventures, I spotted this solid wood bookcase. As soon as I saw it, I knew it had great potential.

The backer board was in pretty rough shape. I removed it with a screwdriver and pliers.

Next, it was time to give this bookcase a good cleaning. It was very dirty and the nutrition stickers had to go.

I used Dixie Belle Paint's White Lightning cleaner and a Scotch Brite scouring sponge. This cleaner is great for cleaning furniture before painting. It comes in powder form which you mix with water. I made a batch and stored it in an old plastic milk jug. For easy application, I poured some of the solution into a spray bottle. You will need a bucket of clean water for rinsing off your piece. I clean in sections and immediately rinse the part I just cleaned. Always make sure you wear gloves when you are cleaning.

After the bookcase dried, it was time to give it a quick sanding. I used my orbital sander and a 150 grit sanding disk. (This grit level gives the wood tooth for better adhesion.)

Since I wanted a rustic farmhouse look, I decided to use Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and chose the color Bergere which is a beautiful smokey blue gray.

After applying two coats of paint, I sanded the bookcase using 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the paint and distress.

To seal the paint, I used beeswax. I love Daddy Van's Beeswax and Lavender! It brings the color to life and it smells terrific.

For the backing, I decided to use wood planks. Fencing boards were the most cost effective choice. I found what I needed at Home Depot. It would take 6 boards to cover the back and they were only $1.68 each. My hubby suggested we check the damaged wood section before we left the store. They sell pieces of wood that might have a crack or imperfection for 70% off. I couldn't believe it! There was plenty of wood for this project and I got them for $.50 each! SCORE!

The boards were longer than what I needed and some were cracked on the ends. My hubby aka "my carpentry guy" was able to cut pieces to fit perfectly.

I chose to use Varathane Weathered Wood Accelerator because it gives wood an aged appearance. I poured some of the liquid into a separate container so I would not contaminate the mixture. I applied it using an inexpensive chip brush. (Make sure to wear gloves when using this product because it will stain your skin.)

You will see immediate results. I set them in the sun for a few hours to dry. After the wood dried, it had a gray aged color which was exactly what I wanted.

I chose to wait until the next day to attach the boards to insure they were completely dry. First, I lined them up to fit across the back. To make sure I knew were to nail them to the shelves, I marked them.

Using a nail gun, "my carpentry guy" shot nails across the top, bottom, sides, and shelf lines.

What a difference! The paint color and weathered backing are perfect together! I love it when projects turn out the way you envision them.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Kimberly Smith Voss
    on Jan 18, 2020

    I don’t see a pic for the finished product???

    • Judy
      on Feb 20, 2020

      I can see it.its got pictures on top of it

  • Gloria
    on Feb 6, 2020

    why can't I see the finished product?

  • Angela
    on Feb 17, 2020

    I feel like an idiot for asking but I still cannot see it and I’m very curious in refinishing some things around my home. Where can I find it?

Join the conversation

4 of 99 comments
  • Homer J
    on Feb 2, 2020

    it didnt show up in your reply either. .lol..but for some reason i can see it in the post now. .looks gr8!!!. .would be nice for a nautical theme too. .good job!!

  • Jules
    on Jul 29, 2020

    Oh my goodness...I have that original bookcase in my hallway. It was my grandparents. The backing is in terrible shape and I was wondering what to do with it. Thank you so much for the great idea!

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