Bookcase Gets a Pop of Color

So I have this bookcase. It was a display model from Pier I several years ago, and it has served me well, but the monochrome black has been falling a little flat. I felt some color in the background would showcase the books, photos, and tchotchke much better. I considered painting the inside of the bookcase, but although the frame and shelves are solid wood, the back is that cardboard-covered-with-contact-paper mess which would likely bubble if painted. I thought about wallpaper, but it was an idea that had to percolate for a while…until I took that little tour at Spoonflower a couple weeks ago (see this post). I browsed, I ordered, and the wallpaper arrived in a tube in less than a week.

Spoonflower shipping tube
Grace thought it was a measuring stick to see how much she’s grown.

Here’s a look at the bookcase in its natural state.

Pier I black bookcase before photo
Pretty, but missing something.
Pier I black bookcase with tchotchke
Everything seems to be floating in an abyss.

So I removed the back of the bookcase, prepped the surface (cleaned it), and got my work area ready on the kitchen floor. The wallpaper is activated just like we did decades ago by dipping it in water and “booking” it for 3 to 5 minutes. You then apply it from the top down while smoothing with a damp sponge to get any air bubbles. It dried for 3 hours, and then I reattached the now-wallpapered back onto the bookcase.


I removed back panels of bookcase
I removed the back panels of the bookcase.
Back panels of bookcase are templates to cut wallpaper
The two back panels are used as the templates to cut the wallpaper.
Reattaching wallpapered back panels to bookcase
I reattached the panels and trimmed excess wallpaper.


Black bookcase with aqua print wallpaper back
I love the color and the pattern. It’s called Patchwork Gypsy Nautical.

Here are a few shots after everything was put back on the shelves.

Colorful books in front of blue background
Things are no longer floating in a sea of darkness.
Photo and books in front of blue background
The depth is even more pronounced in the evening light.
Bookcase with wallpapered back
The finished product. I love it!

This is probably the first project, ever, that didn’t take at least double the time I estimated. I did this in about 4 hours (3 of which were drying time). Not bad for a half day’s work on a blustery Sunday. The bonus is that if when I tire of it, I should be able to peel the paper off and wipe the surface clean. I’ll let you know. What fun projects are on your list?


A Spoonflower Tour – fabric, gift wrap, and wallpaper galore!

This past Saturday I attended a WordPress class in hopes of becoming a bit more savvy with this blogging thing. I chatted with fellow Pressers, had some pizza, and learned a bunch. Take note of the lovely Contact form for your contacting-me convenience. Thank you, thank you very much. I’ve also taken care of (mostly) that pesky hyphenation problem that was going on here. Just about every line ended with a hyphenated word. That needed some ointment for sure. It was a good day of learning from some incredibly intelligent people. A huge shout out to Girl Develop It – RDU!

The class was held at Spoonflower in Durham, which is a fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap shop. Our leaders taught not from a podium or a desk, but from an ironing board. You know I eat that stuff up! An unexpected bonus was a tour of the facility after class. This shop is a little different in that Spoonflower doesn’t actually own any of the designs they offer, rather, users create designs and share them on the Spoonflower site. You can create your own design or browse their huge offering created by others. If you create your own design and add it to their library, you can be paid a royalty every time someone orders your design. Pretty cool, huh?

Spoonflower logo
Spoonflower lets you design your own…if you want
A custom fabric being printed at Spoonflower
A custom fabric order being printed

Spoonflower is a North Carolina start-up that began in 2008 and is growing strong. Everything is made to order and shipped, and the fabric is printed on digital textile inkjet printers. Their process is a departure from traditional textile manufacturing–digital printing creates little waste of fabric, ink, water or electricity. “Spoonflower prints using eco-friendly, water-based inks on natural and synthetic fiber textiles. No additional chemicals are used in the printing or preparation process.” Yes.

Spoonflower fabric order being hand cut
A custom fabric order being hand cut
Spoonflower fabric is sorted after printing
Fabric is sorted after printing
Rolls of gift wrap sorted
Gift wrap is sorted too
Spoonflower safety sign
They even make safety look good

I’ve been looking for wallpaper to cover the inside of a bookcase and have found what I love at Spoonflower. I have measured and ordered just the right amount of Patchwork Gypsy Nautical (as fun as nail polish names), and I promise to share the before and after photos once the project is complete. It’s been years since I’ve wallpapered anything – this should be fun!