Old Wood Bookcase

Leesa Osborne
by Leesa Osborne
7 Materials
2 Days

A friend dropped off an old beat up bookcase. She asked me to refinish it and make it pretty. I sat and I would stare at it trying to figure out where to start.

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I sanded first with a medium grit sandpaper. The ugly black latex paint was coming off. Yay!!

I then removed the cardboard type backing from the back. It had a few holes and just wasn't going to look good with the vision I had in mind for this bookcase.

the sanding was taking forever, I knew i had some citristrip stripper so I used it to peel the ugly black paint from the pretty dark wood underneath.

Making progress, yes it's kind of messy but if you wrap a plastic trash bag around the project with your citristrip stripper is usually pulls most of the paint off without having to scrape. Sorry I didn't take a photo of that step.

Once most of my black paint was removed I wiped it down with an old tshirt dipped in a little mineral spirits. It helps get rid of the tackiness. Then I started sanding with 150 grit sandpaper. once I had it smooth I started staining with mini wax special walnut colored stain. I stained the Cabinet and shutter doors. Once it was dry I waited about 4 hours. I added few dabs of Vaseline where I didn't want my paint sticking and then started painting with homemade chalk paint in a cream color. Meanwhile i have already measured the length of this bookkcase to add my shutter doors. My husband trimmed them with his jigsaw. That's the only saw we have. I painted two coats of paint and let dry. Once it dried I sanded by hand and the areas where I put Vaseline did the distressing for me.

Once these were the correct length my husband had already cut some old fence boards for me to use as a new backing. I couldn't get the boards to fit evenly and flush we had to space them a tiny bit.

after we made sure the shutter doors were the right length we used hinges and put them on the bookcase.

I had also stained and painted the old fence boards with the same colors I used on the bookcase.

Before and after

If you're in the Houston area, you can Team Up with me to redo a piece of your furniture.  Just click here to go to my profile page and message me to get started!

Frequently asked questions
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  • Sootie Sootie on Jul 26, 2017
    So beachy and chic. Love it. What did you add to the top of the shutters and what hardware for the closure? I noticed in the first photo you added little feet, really a nice touch.

  • Valh20man Valh20man on Jul 27, 2017
    Did you wax it afterwards? Most people do.

  • Barb Edlen Barb Edlen on Apr 25, 2019

    Wow!!! This turned out amazing!!!!! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful solution.

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