Check out how to change a bookcase or built ins without paint with this budget friendly DIY. Great for a temporary solution.
Hi there! I have an easy DIY for you today. Adding pretty paper or fabric to the back of a bookcase is one of my favorite ways to change it with out paint. Plus it’s super easy and inexpensive especially if you are using wrapping paper, fabric. or craft paper you already have on hand.
How to makeover a bookcase or built ins for cheap!
If you are new here, howdy! I’m a recently retired military spouse who moved back to Texas after being gone 19 years. I’ve perfected the art of rental decorating and overcoming challenges in small spaces the last fifteen years but now am tackling home ownership with a new set of challenges! I love infusing colorful global style with DIYs and furnishings in our one story 60’s ranch style home.
Materials for makeover:
Paper: For the tutorial I’m using same wrapping paper from my dresser makeover. It’s from hallmark and has an 1 inch grid on the back for easy measuring and cutting. You can also use dollar tree construction paper, or splurge a little on peel and stick wallpaper. I’ve also successfully used fabric. Scroll down to see how awesome these turned out!
Foam board: Dollar Tree friends!! This will be a backer to the paper so you can just slide it into the back of the bookcase without any adhesive. You can also use cardboard or thin press wood which comes at just a few dollars from your local hardware store. I’ll give examples below.
Double Sided Tape
Measuring tape or ruler
Box cutter (razor blade for the foam board)
How to makeover your bookcase without paint.
Step one: Measure the height and width between the first shelf and the second. Mark the measurements on your foam board. I used a second foam board to mark my lines with a pencil but a yard stick would work.
Step two: Make your cuts. Again, you can use a second piece of foam board or yard stick to guide your box cutter. My bookshelf is wider than the foam board so I had to cut off an additional piece for each shelf. I taped them together with packaging tape.
Step 3: Mark the same measurements on your paper, then cut out.
Step 4: Attach the paper to the foam board with double-sided sticky tape. I placed three pieces vertically, one on the left, the center, and the right. Start with one side of the paper and smooth out and center as you place it on the foam board to prevent bubbles or wrinkles.
Side note: On a couple of my bookcase shelves, I had to cut the pieces to fit around the upper corners of my two permanent shelves. Just make any extra cut outs to make sure your piece fits snugly. Also, I had to make a couple of adjustments after I placed my board in the bookcase to make sure it fit perfectly. Just keep at it! (see above picture)
Other bookcase makeover ideas:
I did something similar with peel and stick wallpaper on a piece of cheap press wood for my grandfather’s cabinet. It looks so good!
And while we were renting in Japan I updated our built in china cabinet with dollar store paper and washi tape.
What’s your favorite bookcase makeover? Do you have any other cheap solutions that aren’t permanent? I absolutely adore the paper in the back of this bookcase and this vintage bookcase makeover with fabric. Leave me a comment and let’s chat.