Friday, May 24, 2013

Using Beadboard Wallpaper on Ikea Billy Bookcases

When I first moved into my house I had this large niche in the great room that I really had no idea what to do with. And by large I mean large: 10 feet high and 15 feet wide.

The man had a vision of a cordless mounted TV, but he didn't want anything to cover the cords-- he wanted them behind the wall. He worked tiresomely for days removing drywall, running electric wires, installing new outlets, and then the patching drywall and repainting. It looks PERFECT. If you ever came to my house you would never know it wasn't built that way. That's one of the reasons I adore him. :)

As you can expect, I was browsing on Pinterest trying to find ideas what to do with that niche and I saw a few build your own built in bookcase by using Ikea Billy Bookcases. Brilliant! They are cheap, labor is cheap (the man works for cookies), and it really didn't seem all that hard. 

So I went to Ikea and bought four Billy Bookcases in white and the man lovingly assembled them for me. I then went to Lowes and I bought four rolls of beadboard wallpaper because I had no idea how many I would need. Let's be honest-- I mess up a lot. After I bought the wallpaper, then I waited 9 months to put it up. This has been the most I've ever procrastinated in my life. I think. 

This is why I decided to write this blog post in parts so that it'll actually get done... slowly.

Here are the planned steps:
  1. Beadboard the backs of the bookcases 
  2. Fill the holes of the bookcase 
  3. We will build doors for the lower part of the bookcases
  4. We will build an entertainment center to hold the DVR and DVD player. 
  5. The man will remove the existing trim and replace it onto the bookcases. 
  6. Both of us will trim out the entire bookcase system to cover an gaps where wood meets.
  7. Sand and paint! 
It sounds like a lot when I put it down like that, but I swear the lady on the original blog post made it seem like it took her 3 hours to do. Granted, she was only making a built in with two bookcases and not an entertainment center, but man!. ::sigh::

The things that I do to myself....

The wallpaper was actually simple, but you do have to be a bit detailed about how you do it. I thought it would be easy to remove the cardboard backings and wall paper them and then place them back into the bookcase. If you do, then make sure you account for the small line that is built into the bookcases (see picture) in which you are supposed to slide the cardboard into. If you wallpaper it, then it will no longer fit into the slot and you will be pissed.

I know.

I did it.

It sucked.

I have read that some people buy wood from homedepot and use that to make the built-ins, but we are on a budget and we want to keep the cost down so we decided that it would be best to keep the cardboard in the bookcase and beadboard it while it was attached to the bookcase.

Since the middle shelf is not removable that means you have to do a little more work-- you can't just put up one big long piece of wallpaper-- you have to cut it in two. It really was easier in all honesty to work with smaller pieces, so I didn't mind having to do it a few more times than I would have before.

If you use the same wallpaper I did, then due to size you have to cover 1 book case you will have to wall paper in 2 large sections (see picture) and then you have to make 2 smaller strips to cover what the larger piece didn't.

I had to do that 8 times for the 4 bookcases. It took me about 30-40 minutes to do each bookcase which really isn't that bad.

I bought the self adhering wallpaper so I didn't have to deal with glue and I really liked it. It was simple to use since I was a wallpaper virgin! I would recommend the Allen and Roth kind simply because I found it to work so well, it was easy and it had it's own glue already built in. It is also paintable so if there are any gaps you can fill them and paint over it and no one will know! Muahahahaha!! 

Sorry. It felt like an evil laugh was appropriate.

The instructions said that you soak the wallpaper for 30 seconds, remove it for 5 minutes and then apply. The trick is to make sure that when you remove it from the bathtub that you hold it up for a bit to let the excess water drip off because the wetter the paper the more it warps the cardboard of the bookcase backing.

I use my guest bathroom tub to soak the wall paper and then I used a spare piece of MDF to lay it on to "dry" to reduce clean up. But honestly, the wallpaper wasn't that messy-- the MDF was just a little bit sticky, but it would have wiped off easily if it were a counter or a clean floor. 

I found that as I got more impatient that I wasn't spending as much time shaking off the water from the beadboard. Then I noticed that the wetter wall papers were causing warping of the back panel due to the water. It makes sense because it's cardboard, but it really freaked me out. I thought for sure that I ruined some of the bookcases, but as they dried they returned to normal. Whew!

This bookcase on my left was the WORST with the warping, but you can't tell anymore because as it dried it corrected itself. 

If you look really closely (in person) you can see the seam where the two sections meet, but honestly I don't think anyone will be looking at your beadboard with that much attention to notice. 

  • Ruler
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil or pen
  • Smoothing Brush
  • Razor
  • Wallpaper
I used the ruler, measuring tape and pencil to cut the wall paper into the correct sizes I needed. 

I used a wallpaper "smoothing brush" to push out any air bubbles. The idea is that if you run this brush from seam to seam across the wet wallpaper so that it will push any trapped air out. If you don't do this step, then you may have bubble in your wallpaper and who wants that! I found that it's best to start from the bottom and push upward with the smoothing brush so the wallpaper doesn't slide down.

I cut the wallpaper an inch too long because I didn't want it to be too small. I used a razor to trim off the excess wallpaper as soon as I applied it to the bookcase so it would be an exact fit. 

Overall, I'm very happy with this project. It was easy, it dramatically changed the look of the bookcases, and it was cheap. I only used just over two rolls of wallpaper for all four bookcases. I bet I could have done it in two, but I messed up once or twice! Oops! I have nearly two rolls left over and I can't return them because it's been a year! Now I'm just planning on what I'm going to beadboard next! 

Hmmm... maybe the laundry room? Or maybe the island? Or the office..... 

Oh! Decisions! 

Building an Entertainment Center Built-in Series
Part 2: Caulk to fill in holes
Sherri Griffin
Sherri Griffin

Thanks for checking out my blog. I get serious about a few things in life: animals, chemicals, and food. For the rest I can't promise anything so keep the bar low. For more about me check out my "About Me" page! Happy DIYing!

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