August 21, 2011

New Life - Repurposing Old (Ikea!) Furniture - REDUX!

Hang on. Repurposing old Ikea furniture again? Didn't we just go through this? It doesn't seem so long ago that I dreamed up this whole scheme to start this blog and repaint and old Ikea chest to make it new again. But now we're back in the same place.

See, we finally decided to redecorate our office. No more baby-boy-themed paint scheme with a mishmash of cheap furniture. Now we have a real desk, a cool paint color, fancy chairs, actual non-ugly light fixtures and table. New! That's all fine and dandy, but where are we going to put all those books we had accumulated over the years? There was no room left in our office for all our books. Our one tall and one short Billy bookcase from Ikea were still serving a very real purpose but didn't fit the space anymore. So, one bookcase got shuttled off to the attic, and one earned a place in our guest bedroom as a functional decorative piece.
Oh, but Billy, you're kind of boring, and your natural finish doesn't match the room I'm putting you in. So let's hit those paint cans again. I have to be honest: even though the room is very clearly a homemade Holly Hobby piece, I'm totally in love with it. It's the only room in the house where I picked all the furniture, color, and decor myself, and I think of it as MY room. MY work in progress. The room is a deep grape color (crazy, I know) with black and white accents modern and baroque accents, so I wanted to keep with the theme and paint the bookshelf white with black accents. 

To be as thrifty and environmentally friendly as possible, I used the same paint I had purchased from the last Ikea refinishing project two years ago. So, I dug out the old paint I used last time to paint my furniture and scraped off the icky solid layer of paint that kept the rest of it relatively fresh. After sanding and cleaning, I painted the craptastic chipboard veneer and even that terribly flimsy chipboard backing that slides into the grooves on the back of the shelves. You know, the one that actually you could pop out just by giving it a gentle nudge? 

In my thriftiness, I didn't really calculate how much paint I would need. It was barely enough - I didn't even paint the underside of one of the shelves. (Yes, friends, if you come visit, I officially give you permission to inspect the shelf and mock me.)

Keeping with the modern baroque theme I'd already started going with in the room, I chose a stencil from Michael's that mimicked the pattern on the bedspread in the room:

I toyed with the idea of taking the design across the sides, top, and even the back of the shelf. However, I planned to put decorative items on top of the refinished pieces, so it didn't make sense to take all that time stenciling the top. Also, since I'm bad at editing my book collection, I figured that no one would ever see the back of the shelf. So, I just took the stencil up the side in black stencil paint.

Why is it off center, you ask? Well, in my brain, it made sense that it would be slightly closer to the front of the bookshelf so you can see it, and I thought it would look fine since there is a little divot on the back of the shelf to prevent it from tipping forward. Like I said, it made sense in my brain. Don't judge me too harshly

After finishing the stenciling, the paint took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to dry. The stencil paint I purchased had a dense, dry, powdery texture, which gave the stencil a nice antique-y look. However, the high-gloss paint that I used as the base probably extended the drying time by a lot. On the paint, it tells you to let it set for 24 hours. After 3 days, it was still rubbing off with a touch of the finger. I thought I was going to have to scrap the whole thing - and let me tell you how excited I would have been about that - but luckily, it finally set after almost an entire week.

Add a few vintage books, some adorable little foo dogs from west elm, and voila! A new decorative bookshelf is born. Okay, it's not that impressive, but at least it looks different from how it started and it matches the room. That's all I ask for.

Materials used in this project: 
  • Old Billy bookshelf from Ikea
  • Gloss oil paint
  • Stencil from Michael's
  • Stencil brush
  • Masking tape
  • A place where the bookcase can dry for days on end since you can't move the stupid thing for fear of smudging the stencil.

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