Lovely Linen

So it’s a Tuesday night after work and I started thinking. You know what would be easier than painting the back of our cabinets!? Wrapping them in fabric and being done-zo. My initial list of pros:

  • It’s more straight forward. I mean, you just wrap the stuff around the wood backing, right?
  • It’s faster. See above, regarding just wrapping…
  • It’s cheaper? (No, it’s not…)
  • It will look better … waits to be seen

After I carted my bootie over to JoAnn’s I started my highly scientific hunt for just the right piece of fabric. To my delight, the slab I wanted was 40% off! Cue the jazz hands.

There were lots of options available for a linen-esq fabric, my biggest complaint was that most of them were pretty transparent. Since our game plan was to pull the fabric taught over a piece of wood, I wanted something that was pretty substantial looking. Like this guy.

Linen Fabric Bookcase Backing

So confession. I’m not one of those crafty ladies that sit around and make lovely pillows and quilts and wreaths for their home. I aspire to be, but alas, I am not. I think it’s the whole patience thing, I just don’t got it. So when I want to the fabric store, to buy fabric, I was a fish out of water searching for my salty blue sea. I think I paced around the cutting counter five times before I committed to entering the land of no return where they chop off the big roll of fabric you have in your hands into small parcels that may or may not fit the exact dimensions you needed, since maybe you measured something wrong or thought about something wrong, or, ya know. Anything, ANYTHING could happen! That’s the record that kept playing in my head anyway.

When I went to check out and the grand slam total was $33.12, this also surprised me. Mainly because I don’t know how this whole razzle mcdazzle fabric thing works. So out went the window that whole thing where the fabric is more economical than paint. Oh well. 😉 What I did know, was that I wanted to turn this:

DIY Built In

Into something we wee bit chicer with my new bolt of fabric. So I let the hubby know over dinner that we’d be linen-a-fying our bookcases and he was game so we got a crack a lackin. Ya know, assuming it would take maybe 30 mins, 45 TOPS.

The first rule of business. Pry the cat off his new chew toy.

Malcolm The Cat

Second order of business, drape that fabric right on over and get going. We determined that an inch of overlap (fabric hanging over) would be enough to have something that we could easily attach to the wooden backing.

At first, our strategy was to staple from behind, in order to leave the front face completely staple free. Alas, the staple was a bit thicker than the wood, which created a bump up in the fabric. Not good. We realized that since our bookcase trim would cover the first 1/2 inch or so of the front, that we could staple right to the front face of the board. Problemo solved. We were super careful as we went along to make sure we didn’t go over the amount “allowed” where you would be able to see shiny staples coming through when you were watching the telly.

  Linen Backing on Bookcase

We’ve refinished chair covers before, and the play by play for the linen backing was really not all that different. You want to be very aware of any puckering in the fabric, since those types of problems just seem to amplify as you work your way down the line. We also found it very helpful to have two people to work on this project, since Jay was able to staple while I tried my darndest to keep the fabric super tight so things looked all spiffy when we were done.

You can see a bit of a wave in the fabric in the shot below – most of that was taken care of when we came back through and stapled the other side. Anytime we noticed a bit of puckering, or inconsistency, we’d try to come back through to make sure things looked good before proceeding with the next staple.

How to put fabric backing on bookcase

Each section took us about 45 minutes from start to finish, which included the stapling as well as affixing the backing to the built-in shelves we had already pre-built. The staples part was going a-ok, until we hit a small little bump in the road when we went to attach the backing to the bookcase.

Why yes, that is a 3″ gap. 😀

Installing Backing on Boockase

By this point, the project was taking longer than anticipated already, so we’ll just say that Mr. Gap-frac-tastic was not a welcoming visitor to this party. I was not a hospitable host.

Luckily, my husband is much calmer, and apparently more innovative than me, since he just hacked off a piece of extra wood and we got back to it. Soooo … it turns out the fabric backing was essential, since we would have had the Grand Canyon running along the back of our cabinet bases if we painted. Since we (luckily) had some extra fabric on our board, we just nailed the smaller wood attachment onto the bookcase backing and wrapped the fabric up and around it. Easy peasy.

How_To_Attach_Backing_To_Bookcase

Once we amended our little boo boo, we just moved on to the nail gun in order to make sure everything was attached really well. We took this opportunity to nail in the shelving from behind, too, just to make things a bit more sturdy.

Here is how it was looking after we had the first back up on there. Me likey.

Linen Backing on Bookcase

And after we mounted everything back up on the cabinet bases, we had this.

Linen Bookcase Backing

Looking much better with a little texture in the back. Here’s a before and after shot to show the difference. I’m totally loving how the linen breaks up the sea of white and provides a nice pop against the crisp paint. In case you missed it, here is the finished bookcase, all accessorized. In LOVE.

DIY Linen Bookcase

Linen Backing on Bookcase

 

 

2 thoughts on “Lovely Linen

  1. Such a lovely addition! I was excited to see how you did this and I really love they way this turned out. The color and texture are so lovely (and similar to your blog background! How beautiful.

    Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *