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Topic: Painting cheapo bookshelves?  (Read 1854 times)
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« on: July 02, 2006 09:57:17 AM »

I've never painted anything before, and as much as I "research," nothing is quite simplified enough for me to understand. So, I come to you interior decorating experts for some help--I have these very cheap white bookshelves (I have no idea what they're made out of, but it's certainly not real wood), and I would like them to be another color.

Can I just paint right over them?
What kind of paint do I use?
Will the paint chip with all my books on there?
Do I need to put something on top of the paint to make it unchippable?

As you can see, I am utterly clueless when it comes to painting. Any help would be greatly appreciated. And here's a picture of what they kind of look like--it's not exact, but close enough.


« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2006 10:01:58 AM »

That's crazy. I don't have any answers for you, but I have two short bookshelves that I got at a yard sale. They have that fake wood looking stuff on them, and I want to paint them white to match my other bookshelf.

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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2006 10:42:11 AM »

Are they that shiney melamine stuff?  If so, you have to sand or prime them first or paint will not stick or....

Home Depot has this great primer I used called THE GRIPPER...it sticks to anything then you paint over it.  No sanding or anything needed!! It is a bit expensive but saves lots of time!! I used it over shellac doors and it worked like a charm!!  They also have stuff called "NO SAND" but it stinks and is more expensive and I did not think it worked as well.

One tip:  don't be impatient--you really need to wait until all coats are thoroughly dried before putting your stuff in it!!  I used the stuff to paint all my bookcases and shelves in my crafts room.

Forgot to say that you can use latex paint after you use that primer stuff.  I did not use any type of sealer over the latex--I mean, if it works for doors and woodwork, it should be fine for a bookshelf...Just wait till it dries totally!!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2006 10:45:03 AM by alwaysinmyroom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2006 11:00:13 AM »

If they are melamine, talk to the paint people at a paint store or a place like Home Depot and they'll get you the correct products.  You'll definitely need to use primer.

Back in the 70's, my mom used to just recover the shelves with contact paper and they always looked great. 

« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2006 07:46:19 PM »

Thanks for the tips! I definitely would not have used primer first, so I'm glad I asked. Contact paper is also an interesting solution--though I don't know much about that either. Where can I get it in large amounts and does it come in pretty colors? Smiley

« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2006 09:08:30 PM »

If they are the melamine kind....even with primer, I would take some sandpaper and scratch it up before applying the primer.  As others have said, let it dry thoroughly.  Apply your regular paint using a small foam roller (2 coats...allowing drying time in between...check paint can for drying times).  The foam roller will give you a much smoother finish.  Once done painting, give the paint "curing" time, 24-48 hours before use and everything should be fine!
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2006 10:47:24 AM »

Contact paper comes in many many colors and patterns.  Check out this web source for some possibilities:  http://housewares.hardwarestore.com/37-188-contact-papers.aspx

You can find it at almost any big box store that sells shelf paper and it is usually in the same department with the shelf paper.  You can even cut it up into shapes and use those decoratively.  Usually even after longtime use, it peels right off and doesn't leave a  residue.  (I can't guarantee that this will work in all applications though.)

« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2006 10:59:58 AM »

You will need to prime the bookcase first and then paint it. I would not use latex paint -you'll find that it gets gummy and will stick to your books. Your best bet is to use Melamine paint -it is a special paint that has a varnish in it and it dries to a really nice finish. It is the same type of paint people use to paint kitchen cupboards. The finish will come out the same as the finish already on your bookcase. The people at Home depot or any hardware store will advise you to use Melamine paint, not latex. Even an oil based paint is better than latex. Latex is not a good choice for painting furniture.
stockholm syndrome
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2006 12:41:22 PM »

I just did something pretty similar to this, mine were CD/DVD holder shelves but same material/similar items. I sanded every piece down with 160 then 220 grit sandpaper, primed, and then painted as normal. I painted parts of it (sides, top) with latex paint but used oil-based enamel on the shelves. Even with all that I'm letting it dry/cure for about a month before putting all my CDs back in (I'm sure this is not neccesary, I'm just a little...overzealous  Roll Eyes ) I wouldn't use latex paint the shelves, I've seen it stick to the books  even after ample drying time while other times it's been fine for people.  Undecided

Anyway, it was time consuming but not hard, I plan to do a set of bookshelves to match soon.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006 12:43:20 PM by stockholm syndrome » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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