Paint a Built-In Bookcase
Scott Gutierrez - Penn Valley, CA

Hardwarian Scott Gutierrez

Penn Valley True Value Hardware

Penn Valley, CA

Paint a Built-In Bookcase

Level: Beginner

By simply painting the back wall of a built-in bookcase, you can instantly add more depth, dimension and interest to any room in your home. With just a couple of coats of paint, a boring storage space can be transformed into a stunning backdrop that showcases your books, pictures and collectibles.

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Project Steps
Project Shopping List
    • Step 1: Prepare the Area

      Remove all items on the bookcase, as well as shelves, if possible. Remove switch plates and outlet covers if the bookcase has lighted sections.

    • Step 2: Clean Area

      Primer and paint do not adhere to dirt, so make sure you properly clean the surfaces before you start. Dust the area to be painted, then wipe with a damp sponge or cloth and allow it to dry.

    • Step 3: Tape
      painters tape

      Use painter's tape to protect the sides, top and bottom of adjacent shelving. If your bookcase shelves are not removable, mask the edges with painter's tape.

      Helpful Tip

      Use wide painter's tape to cover areas not to be painted and mask carefully to protect from paint splatters.

    • Step 4: Prime

      You don't have to apply a coat of primer before you paint your bookcase, but doing so will make the paint adhere and wear better. Additionally, priming is advisable if the back wall is stained or you wish to paint a light color over a dark color. Apply True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium latex primer/sealer with a brush or roller, moving from right to left, then left to right, spreading the paint evenly with horizontal strokes. You can skip this step by using True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium latex paint and primer in-one.

      Safety Alert!

      Open windows where you'll be priming and painting to maintain a well-ventilated area.

    • Step 5: Apply Paint

      Use True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium latex paint and primer in-one in an eggshell or semi-gloss finish for the wall. First, paint along the outline of the area carefully. Apply the paint with a brush or roller, moving from right to left, then left to right, spreading evenly with horizontal strokes. Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely. If using a bolder, solid color, apply a second coat of paint.

      Helpful Tips

      If wall coverings, ceiling and flooring all share a similar color scheme, go bold and choose a dramatic eye-popping color to really highlight the area. Choose paint with a slight gloss to create a vibrant appearance.

    • Step 6: Clean Up
      finished room

      While you are letting the back wall dry completely, rinse your roller covers and brushes in water until the water runs clear. Store them in plastic bags or hang on nails or hooks to dry. Pull off the painter's tape carefully at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint. Pour any leftover paint into a mixing bucket and store safely.

      Congratulations! You've created a standout backdrop for your bookcase.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

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