Hello Dare!

Thought I’d show you my bookcase make-over. I so wish I’d taken a before shot… but I didn’t. The bookcase came from a local auction house and I paid €25 for it. It’s solid oak and you could use the shelves as a ladder, it’s that sturdy and strong. Couldn’t talk this one down, Ted.

It had a traditional wood finish, old polish or varnish  but the finish had seen better days and was very lacklustre. It was crying out for a make-over.

First I vacuumed it with a soft  brush attachment- there were a few spider exo-skellingtons in the dusty coating on the shelves that skeeved me a bit. (If you’re over six then the real word is exo-skeletons but I have a sentimental attachment to this word).

The case was sanded down to give the wood some tooth and wiped with a damp cloth a few times to get rid of the dust. I mixed up a wash with satin finish paint thinned with a little white spirit. The wash was painted on and worked, ie, brushed until it was tacky and to give a nice weathered or distressed coating. It was left to dry then touched  up here and there.

Finally, got my Cougar on the case and cut a stencil for the words ‘Read Me’ in Brock Script font. Because I didn’t want to merge the letters I had to use thin masking tape in stripes across the stencil to stop the middles of letters like the ‘e’, etc, from dropping out.

The stencil was sprayed with repo glue and fixed in place.  I used a black (fine) Sharpie to outline the letterform then painted inside the lines to fill it in. All that was left to do was fill the shelves with books and take the pictures.

What do you think? I am delighted. The whole process only took a couple of days and that was mainly because it had to dry thoroughly.

So, €25 at the auction. The paint and white spirit used was minimal and we had it in the house already. A spritz of repositionable spray adhesive… I’d say €26 tops. And to think I was going to buy one for €120 somewhere else – smaller, MDF with veneer… So, wow. Just WOW.

Still have more projects waiting. Think I’ll do the doors next.  Brand new with plain glass panels cost €159.99 each from a certain Irish DIY chain store… how much did I pay? For two of them? With pretty patterned glass panels (that exactly matches the glass in my front door) ? How about €10? For the TWO of them. I kid you not.

They’re in great nick but will need a cleaning down, a sanding and want them either given a light wash or gloss white so will be masking off the glass panels. A bit of a chore but really won’t take that long then it’s all fairly easy and quick.

I’ll post the pictures in a week or two. Or however long it takes me to finish off a couple of things I’m working on in the sewing room till I can get to them. Will this pleasure never end?!

Have a good weekend and, if you’re a bargain hunter like me, happy hunting.


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  • Corry
    December 27, 2016 9:51 am

    The bookcase is amazing and your lettering very fine. Furniture maekovers are just the best.

    Thankyou for sharing. You’re very talented.


    • webmaster
      December 27, 2016 3:15 pm

      Thanks, Corry!

  • Lottie
    August 21, 2013 5:46 pm

    Wow that is absolutely awesome – you have done a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see how the doors turn out.

    Wish we had some bargains like that over here

    • webmaster
      August 21, 2013 8:07 pm

      Thank You Lottie!

  • Deborah (rustycage11)
    August 19, 2013 4:44 pm

    That’s a seriously fine looking bookcase. And I agree, solid wood beats mdf any day!

    • webmaster
      August 19, 2013 5:29 pm

      Thank you Deborah. Yep, definitely beats MDF. And at that price can afford to experiment a bit with makeovers.


  • Helen J
    August 19, 2013 1:42 pm

    Wow is right – it looks stunning, and what a bargain!

    • webmaster
      August 19, 2013 5:28 pm

      Thank You! Bargain is bang on – cheap as chips near enough.

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