Need to update some boring particle board shelves? If so, then you will love this DIY! You can easily go from drab to fab by following the simple steps listed below.
I’m always looking for ways to add storage to my home office. So whenever I come across inexpensive shelves I don’t hesitate to snatch them up! The one was only $5.99. Um, yes, please, since these sell for over $30 new!
As long as they are sturdy and there is no water damage, I usually buy them. They can always be used somewhere in my home!
I have some taller shelves that I’ve been using for about a year as is. I repainted them white and will be adding some wrapping paper that looks like birch bark to the back. These will be used in my laundry room to store some of my craft supplies. More on this later…
I will be the first to admit the lack of storage in my home office has made me slack in keeping the area tidy. Now that I’ve redone this piece, I hope it will help to keep my office a little more organized.
Does the lack of storage keep you from staying organized like it does me? I guess if I quit buying craft supplies it wouldn’t be so bad! 😉
- Shelves that need updating
- Chalk paint – color of your choice
- Small paint roller and tray (the roller makes it go so much faster)
- Paintbrush to get into cracks and corners and to apply the Mod Podge
- Wrapping paper (I got mine at Dollar Tree)
- Mod Podge
- Drop cloth or something to protect your work surface (I used a large trash bag)
- A rag to clean up any spatters
- Small pry bar and hammer to remove the nails from the back
- Small container to hold the nails and shelf pegs that are removed (you will need these again, so keep track of them)
- Optional – spackling compound and putty knife (if you want to fill in the shelf peg holes you aren’t using or if you have any dings that need to be repaired)
- Chalk paint wax or varnish – I used clear wax
Instructions are as follows:
- Remove each shelf that can come out including their pegs (put pegs in the small container)
- Remove the cardboard from the back. This is easy to do, just work the flat end of your small pry bar under the edge of the cardboard at each nail, tapping it lightly with a hammer. Pry up each nail that is holding the backing in place. Don’t worry if some of them tear the backing a tiny bit. Set aside the back once it is removed
- Clean the shelves using a soft damp cloth
- Since I plan on keeping each shelf where it is, I filled in the other peg holes with spackling compound leveling it with a putty knife and then letting it dry
- Begin by painting the interior corners of the shelves with your paintbrush
- Then finish painting the interior with the roller
- Next, paint the outside of the shelves with the roller (using the brush if you have any nooks or crannies to paint)
- Last paint each of the shelves – I did both the tops and bottoms for a more finished look
You’re getting there…just a few more steps in painting them!
- Allow the paint to completely dry (which is usually pretty quick). Then apply an additional 2 coats in the same manner as noted above
- After the paint has completely dried, apply the finish of your choice following the directions on the product
- Since I used the chalk paint wax, I allowed it to dry overnight as the directions state, then I polished it to a soft sheen with a rag the next day
How To Decoupage the Cardboard Back
- Cut a piece of wrapping paper a few inches longer than the cardboard piece (the wrapping paper will hopefully be wider than the back so you won’t have to piece it)
- While working on a flat, protected surface, apply the Mod Podge with a brush to the cardboard back by simply pouring a small puddle of it in the middle of the cardboard then carefully spreading it evenly with the brush
- Add more Mod Podge if needed until the entire back is covered
- Carefully begin laying the wrapping paper down at the top of the cardboard
- Continue carefully applying the wrapping paper until the entire back is covered – lifting gently if needed to get it to lay flat (a few wrinkles won’t matter)
- Once the wrapping paper is applied to the cardboard, begin GENTLY smoothing and pressing out the wrinkles with your fingers. (you don’t want to tear the wrapping paper as it will be damp from the Mod Podge). If you have the Mod Podge roller you can use that. I opted to do this by hand since the cardboard is a bit flimsy
- Finally, once you have the wrinkles worked out, apply another layer of Mod Podge to the top just like you did in the steps above (set this aside on a level area to dry)
- Once dry, take your scissors and trim away the excess paper making it flush with the edge of the cardboard back
Reassembling the Shelves
- After the back has dried, lay it face down on the shelves. Please note, if the wrapping paper has a directional pattern be sure you have it going in the right direction
- Check to see if the corners are square before reattaching the back. Shift the shelves slightly if needed to square it up
- Starting in one of the corners begin reattaching the back with the nails you removed. Make sure the shelf is still square. (ALSO – be sure to shift each nail about a quarter inch away from the old holes)
- Then go to the opposite corner and do the same, once you are sure the shelves are square, finish nailing down the back
- If needed apply a coat of paint to the back, once it is in place if the cardboard had a darker wood grain look (this will help the shelves to look finished)
- Once the paint on the back is dry, stand the shelves up and replace the shelf pegs and then carefully lay each shelf onto the pins
Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of steps above, they really are all easy! I just wanted to make sure I provided you with step by step instructions.
It’s important to let the paint and the protective finish cure for a few days prior to placing items on the shelves. But, once it has, these will provide you with years of gorgeous storage*.
Since I prefer to keep the paint fresh looking I did not do the chippy technique on these. In addition, I don’t think that particle board would work with this technique. But, if you are perhaps using real wood shelves for this project and prefer the chippy look you can find instructional videos here at Plaid Online!
I will be updating my home office this fall and will show you how I ended up incorporating this lovely “new” piece into the room! I have some great containers that I will be using to help organize my craft supplies. If you don’t want to miss any of my new posts, then please sign up to receive my newsletter via email.
Thank you for joining me on this fun project! If you have any questions, just comment below and I will answer them for you. I hope you will give this a try. If you do, let me know!
So what’s next on the blog?
With fall just right around the corner, my next post will cover how to create a fall tablescape. Plus I will share other easy to do fall crafts! I hope you will join me then. As always, thanks for following along!
If you are fortunate enough to find real wood shelves, count yourself lucky! This is the first time I’ve tried chalk paint on particle board with the fake woodgrain paper on top. Here’s hoping for little or no problems! I will update the post if any issues should arise. Since these aren’t going to get a lot of wear and tear, I think they should do just fine. **fingers crossed**
I moved one of these shelves recently to attach the backing to it with the tacks and a hammer. During this process, some of the paint chipped off where the shelves meet the frame. It took me about a minute to touch it up. All in all, these still look fabulous and I would definitely paint them again.