Monday, March 19, 2012

Better In An Hour: scrapbook paper shelf

The unchanging LACK shelf from IKEA. (
Listen, I love IKEA as much as the next urban 25 to 35 year-old, but sometimes that modern-looking table or bookcase ends up looking totally wrong when you get it home. Or, as is usually my experience, it works with the look you set for apartment A, but by apartment C it just looks dumb. Thus, I have been carrying around this ugly black LACK shelf from Ikea for two apartments.

Our new place needed a shelf, to hold my teddy bear collection. Yes, I’m thirty and still I have a teddy bear collection. I have a love of anything furry, and the bears I’ve kept—pared down from about five dozen—all have special memories attached to them. But I acknowledge that they can’t all sleep in bed with me anymore, so they need a place of honor where I can admire them…and where I may occasionally grab one for a cuddle, if he’s looking lonely.

This Better In An Hour post is so simple, I’m going to put the photos in and use the captions to tell you the steps. My only warning to you is this: think it through before you start. I had to restart this project halfway through when I realized I grabbed the wrong stack of scrapbook paper and, while still pretty, the shelf was no longer going to be on theme. The trick to working quickly is READY – AIM – FIRE.

Scrapbook paper
Modpodge or other gel medium (we used fancy acrylic gel medium because it was laying around.)
An ugly shelf to cover over
A razor blade
Any embellishments you desire.

First step:sand the shelf with a coarse sandpaper.
This step took 5 minutes.

Next: Apply your modpodge/gel to an area, then lay down a sheet of scrapbook paper.
Note: you'll need to use a spoon or other softly rounded object to push out bubbles.Then brush more gel
over the face of the paper to seal it.
This step took 20 minutes.
Realize you used the wrong paper, and tear it off frantically.
Skip this 10-minute step.

Finish laying down all the sheets and fold the edges down over the edge of the shelf.

Paper the underside of the shelf as well. Bend the extra over the edges as well.
You will then decide which sheet of paper you want to put over the other along the edge.
Glue the flaps down. This step took 7 minutes.

 Et, voila! We have a lovely shelf for the bears to sit on, perfect in our folkart-y bedroom. Just a note: if you are indeed using an IKEA shelf (the LACK one), be sure to keep track of where the screw heads are; these screws, built into the underside of the shelf, are part of the bracket system. I glued the paper right over the top of ours, and Brian had to use a magnet to find them again.

So, if you take out the total muck-up I did with the wrong scrapbook paper, this project took a total of 42 minutes! (Note that I took an extra 5 minutes to put some green rickrack along the edge of my shelf.) And because we had our gel on hand, it only cost us about $9.00 in paper. And I never have to look at that hideous black veneer surface again. Win, win, win.

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