Cheap Craft Projects! Bookshelf Makeover

bookshelf

I found this little white bookshelf on Craigslist for $8 (talked her down to $5)! it was the perfect size to fit into an empty space in the guest bedroom of our new house, but a little too plain on its own. So, I was off to Walmart to procure some supplies to spruce it up a little!

I’ve seen a lot of projects online where people use scrapbook paper or fabric to cover the inside of bookcases and have always wanted to try that. Usually it is decoupaged, but I don’t really have any experience with the Modge Podge, and I am always looking for an easier way to do any kind of project, as long as it doesn’t affect the results.

I was looking for fabric in a color that would coordinate with the Alabama football theme that Robbie wanted for the new guest room. Even though I’m an Auburn fan, and our house is completely divided, I consented to this because it’s the closest thing he has to a man-cave, and also because his mother is our primary overnight guest, and she is just as big of an Alabama fan as he is.

Trust me, I’m not exactly *thrilled* about having a football-themed room, but I figured if I could take control of the decorating, it will at least turn out tastefully. But I’m also trying to choose things Robbie will like, and things that are neither too masculine- or feminine-looking. It’s so hard trying to make everyone happy, especially when it comes to decorating!

For those of you who are not familiar with SEC football, The University of Alabama’s colors are crimson, white, black, and gray. I found this fabric at Walmart. It has varying shades of gray with a white background. The pattern is a little modern, and sort of trippy. I knew Robbie would approve of that, because for some reason he is drawn to psychedelic fabric patterns that look like an acid trip.

The bookshelf is only about 2′ x 3′, and two fat quarters were all the fabric I needed for the back. (A fat quarter is a pre-cut, pre-packaged 1/4 of a yard.) I considered using fabric glue or hot glue to attach it, but I dislike the messiness of both and was afraid it would be hard to get it straight and flat. So I bought some permanent fabric adhesive tape, which is sold in the sewing supplies section. It comes in a small roll, and there are different brands and sizes. Look for something like this:

tape

I laid out both pieces of fabric flat, with the right side down, and taped along each edge of the wrong side. This tape is used like any double-sided tape you might use for paper crafts, where the tape is covered by a waxy strip that you peel away after laying the tape where you want it. But this stuff is much heavier-duty and thicker. And stickier. It helps to press the tape down firmly on whatever it is being applied to, before peeling away the paper strip. If you don’t, sometimes the sticky part comes back up with the paper strip.

Once I had all my tape pieces applied to the first piece of fabric, I laid the bookshelf down flat on its back. I removed the paper strip from only one edge of the fabric, so I could make sure each edge was centered and the fabric was pulled tight without the rest of it sticking down in the wrong spot.

The fabric was about an inch too short in width to cover the entire back of the bookshelf, so I eyeballed it to make sure it was centered and flush with the top edge of the inside back. After pressing down the one taped edge I had removed the backing from, I repeated this process on the other three edges one at a time, carefully pulling the fabric tight and smoothing it while pressing down on the adhesive strip.

With the other piece of fabric, I did the same thing, only starting from the bottom edge. I really could have measured the empty spot and cut the second piece of fabric to exactly match that space. But that was too much trouble, so I just overlapped it in the middle. Since the fabric has a busy pattern, and there will be shelves (and things on the shelves) in front of it, I didn’t figure it would be that noticeable. I just had to make sure that the pattern matched up in the overlapped area, which wasn’t too hard because it wasn’t that complicated of a pattern.

That was it! Covering only the back and not the sides meant that I didn’t have to worry about where the shelf brackets were. I did that on purpose because I didn’t want to measure and cut holes for them in the side fabric. I think it looks just fine with only the back covered.

After reattaching the shelves, I thought it needed just a little something else, so I decided to do a trim. I purchased a pack of 200 silver thumbtacks and used them to create this faux nail-head trim on the front edges of each shelf, and the top and bottom edges of the bookshelf’s frame.

tacks

I just eyeballed the spacing and used a hammer to tap them in securely. So they are not all perfectly spaced or lined up, and the perfectionist and symmetry-lover in me is somewhat bothered by that, but I am trying to accept that it looks pretty good despite not being completely perfect. I think it would also look cool without space in between the “nail heads,” so if you want to eliminate the space in yours and have a more solid-line effect, you will need more than 200 thumbtacks, so purchase the next size up. I didn’t have many left over.

So that was it! And now I have a cute little bookshelf for the guest room! I set those family photos on top just because I didn’t have another place for them, but they may not stay there. And I haven’t really decided if I’ll put books or knick-knacks on it yet. Maybe both. I want to keep it kinda sparsely filled so the fabric still shows.

Supplies:
Thrifted bookshelf from Craigslist: $5.00
2 fat quarters of fabric: $0.97 each
Permanent adhesive fabric tape: $3.97
200 silver thumbtacks: $1.88

Grand total: Approximately $15.00 for a new piece of custom furniture, with only about an hour’s worth of work.

Mimi is coming today for Thanksgiving, so I am super excited that she gets to try out the new guest room for the first time! I think it looks really cozy and cute, and I’ll do another post with more pictures of the other decorations soon.

Crafty Update: New Curtains!

I have been trying to make some curtains for my craft room for a while now and finally finished them today! I’m really happy to have them because A) I’m content with how they look, and B) I desperately needed some privacy because my next door neighbor’s house is like thisclose to mine, and I don’t enjoy feeling like people can see in at all. Even though I never can see in their windows and go out of my way to avoid looking over there in case their blinds are open and I might be able to see something. But you never know if other people are that considerate.

Anyways, the curtains, like most things I make, were a complete rig job. However, I was happy that when I told my sewing teacher that was my typical modus operandi, she said, “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! Whatever gets the job done!” The reason I am taking a sewing class in the first place is to learn how to do things “properly” instead of rigging everything. But my sewing machine is currently on the fritz, and I’m doing everything by hand. I have a replacement part, but I can’t figure out how to install it. Handy people, please help! Plus, I’m always using random materials I have collected in my projects, so there is usually a bit of fudging required.

For some reason, I collect scarves, but I don’t really wear them. Well, I wear warm scarves in the winter, but not flimsy frou-frou scarves. I just always find cool ones at thrift stores with awesome retro graphics or fabrics, and I think (like everything), “I will totally make something with that sometime.” For once, I actually fished one out of my scrap drawer and used it as a sash for my curtains. I also used some old thrift store vintage buttons on the sash corners, which hold the curtains back when I want to let more light in. Attached to the back of the buttons are gold earring hooks (I am resourceful like that) which hook into some picture hanging eyes I screwed into the window frame. The fabric is a fairly inexpensive natural-colored cotton I got at Hancock a long time ago that is called “linen look.” I’ve used it in many projects and just happened to have a little left.

When the curtains are closed, the earring hooks hang on a piece of the inside window frame so you can still see the buttons, but they still stay closed. I’m not real crazy about the pink buttons, but I didn’t have any other ones that were the same size, and I do think the color stands out more than my other choices, which were mainly light-colored shell and wood. They kinda go with the colorful 60s graphic of the scarf/sash.

So now I have cute curtains on at least one window in my house (I have about 3 more to go), and my neighbors can’t look in. Yay! If anyone wants instructions or help making some similar, I am more than willing to offer my rigging assistance. 🙂 Now if I could just figure out how to make bedroom window coverings that are cute AND function as black-out curtains. Right now, the black out part is working like a charm, but they’re super ugly. Any suggestions?