Other Stuff I Made,  Tutorials

You can paint a laminate bookshelf!

Painting a Laminate BookshelfPainting a Laminate BookshelfI decided on Sunday that I wanted to make an armoire and re-paint the living room. In one day. It’s dragged on a bit, but we’re getting there. And by “we” I mean “I” because Matt has been too busy with school and research to do much painting.

The best part of all is that I painted these two laminate bookshelves. This is just such a revelation to me, as there are SO MUCH ugly laminate furniture for SO CHEAP or FREE and now I know that I can make it not ugly! Or, Less Ugly! These two were a horrible dark brown with gold accents, so, you can’t get much worse than that.

For these, I lightly sanded them – just a whoosh over with 120 sand paper, just enough so you can see the white dust from the top layer of laminate being scuffed up.

I then added a layer of primer intended for shiny/glossy surfaces. I used Bulls Eye 1-2-3 which was the cheapest at Lowes and I had seen it recommended on-line. And it doesn’t have to sit that long before the next coat. Then I painted it with my leftover paint from the living room – which had primer in it as well.

You can add protective top coats to make them super scratch resistant.  I decided I didn’t care. I scratched at them with my fingernail and they didn’t scratch after about 4 hours of drying, and paint will continue to dry for 7 days so I figured that was good enough for me.

As a side note – this is the first time I have ever painted a room cream. This weekend we sold our record player AND painted a room cream. Two serious milestones on the journey to “Not punk rock anymore.” However, the glossy corally red the former tenant painted this room was slowly eating at my soul and I had to get as far from it as possible. The room looks about 10 times the size now.

So anyway, I have my cream bookcases to match my cream walls. The backing is the next thing – as you likely know, the flimsy cardboard backings have the potential to be ruined by water based paints, and they are horrible looking. We could have purchased or salvaged some plywood for a new backing, but I decided to cover the old cardboard with fabric. I used my Elmers Adhesive Spray to add a layer of quilt batting (I used some scraps) and then put another layer of adhesive spray, and added the layer of fabric. I wrapped it around the edges and glued it to the back, then taped the edges with packing tape.  I don’t especially recommend this brand of glue, and have no glue expertise, though I do love it’s description as “a temporary and permanent” glue. Very existential.

The fabric is from a thrift store, maybe? I have no memory, but pretty sure I didn’t pay for it. It isn’t quality enough to quilt with, so this is a great use for it. The print is little pheasants, bowls of fruit, and other 1970’s farmhouse chic designs, which I thought was fitting, as our house was built by a mad farmer in around the 1870’s.

Eventually, I’ll build doors for the larger bookshelf and call it an armoire. For now, I want my living room put back together. I have a pretty high tolerance for messy things, but I am bored again of home decor and want to be able to walk to the bathroom without the risk of stepping on a nail.

And the cake plates are leftover from our wedding. Anyone want some cake plates?


  • Suzanne

    And I moved to the suburbs, bought a 7 seater car and became a family of 5. All in one month. I’ve officially completed my journey to Not Punk rock Anymore. I think you still have some leftover, (even with cream walls) so not to worry… 🙂 I suppose if you find yourself feeling angsty, you could always draw a penis or a swear word in a discreet corner.

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