Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Project: bookshelf with fabric backing

I am trying to organize and decorate the house. Progress is coming along slowly but surely. The books stacked on the floor in our bedroom needed a home and so I bought a Billy bookcase from IKEA. The white bookcases are about $20 cheaper than the other colors and so I went with white. But I wanted to spice it up a little and so I bought some fabric to cover the bookcase backing with. This was a test run: if it turned out well I was going to do the same thing to the bookcases I'm going to get for the home office.

(I took pictures of the process but I'm having trouble getting the slideshow to embed correctly. If you click on the image below, the slideshow will open in a new window.)

The Billy shelves from IKEA work well for this because they have a groove for the cardboard to slide into so you can't see it from the side. The first time I tried to slide in the cardboard after stapling around the edges, the fabric bunched up and it wouldn't fit. So I used spray adhesive to smooth out the fabric on the back and it worked a lot better. A couple of the staples do show through on the front, but they're hard to see. Next time I'm going to be sure to put all of the staples really close to the edge so they don't show.


  1. That's a great idea! I really like how it turned out. And the slide show was so informative! :)Where did you get the fabric? I like it. I am definitely grieving over my loss of a nearby IKEA, especially as I am trying to find cute, fun curtains. Any ideas?

  2. Thanks, Gwyn! The fabric was from IKEA too. I can sympathize over your IKEA loss - I lived in UT for almost 10 years without one. Let me know if you'd like me to pick some things up for you (like fabric) and mail them. I could be your personal IKEA shopper!

  3. i've been looking everywhere for instructions on how to do this!! thank you so much! your slideshow doesn't really indicate how/when to use the spray adhesive...can you explain a little bit how you used that? i'm just not sure if it should go on the front, the back, or what. if it's easier, i'd love it if you could just drop me a line at shoppingsmycardio at gmail dot com.

    thanks so much - and congrats on a fab project!

  4. In case anyone else is wondering, I first tried to just use staples around the edge of the backing, but it wouldn't slide into the groove on the back of the shelf. I didn't want to undo the staples I had already put around the edges, so I lifted up the extra fabric that wrapped around on the back, applied spray adhesive, and smoothed it down flat. I also trimmed away as much excess fabric around the corners as I could before I sprayed the corners. Even having done this, it was pretty hard to slide the board into the groove, so I would recommend using the lightest weight fabric you can. I used canvas which made it more difficult.

    The other tip I have is to use the spray adhesive somewhere easy to clean up or outside if you can. (I, uh, didn't and was scrubbing it off my kitchen table for a while.)

  5. This is wonderful! I am about to try this with three white billy bookcases . . . do you possibly know what the best size to cut the fabric?

    Thank you!

  6. I tried this and so far it has been a bit of a fail :( I think my material was too thick. I'm going to try a different technique and add the fabric after I have put the backing in, fingers crossed!



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