Wallpaper Backed Bookcase

I have always wanted to apply wallpaper to the back of a bookcase. To be honest, I’ve always been afraid to do it. Not anymore! While my husband was gone for two weeks, I enlisted my handy out of town father to help me finish up some projects. We did a mini redo on this wall in my formal living room. First, I painted the wall behind the fireplace Sandpiper by Martha Stewart. Second, we installed these new sconces that I love from Restoration Hardware Baby. Finally, we tackled the wallpaper project.

I originally bought this wallpaper for Bigs’ nursery.  When I received the map wallpaper from Pottery Barn I realized it was a lot bigger than anticipated. I thought it was going to be one more thing that sat around.

Lightbulb! Our front living room has never been finished since we moved in over four years ago. Our whole house has been a renovation project. So, since I love maps and traveling, I thought why not put the wallpaper up in the back of the bookcases.

So, are you ready? I would highly suggest having help. You could use the extra pair of hands and the moral support so you don’t chicken out! Why not drink some liquid courage while you are at it.

Supplies:

  1. Tupperware bin – large enough to hold enough water to submerge your wallpaper to moisten the glue.
  2. Another container to hold water – this is to wipe down any extra glue that you have.
  3. Wallpaper brush – to smooth out wallpaper once attached so you don’t get any bubbles. I looked everywhere  for one and located it at Sherwin Williams.
  4. Plastic putty knife (wallpaper smoother) – use to hold edges tightly while cutting excess paper with utility knife.
  5. Small retractable utility knife – use this to cut excess wallpaper.
  6. Scissors – to cut wallpaper down closer to size if needed.
  7. Measuring tape – measure, measure, and re measure!
  8. Sponge or towel – dampen this to wipe down excess glue (I didn’t have a sponge so I used a towel)

Note: I didn’t use any sizing as per map wallpaper instructions. Every wallpaper has different application instructions, follow yours.

We had a total of six map panels. After measuring, we knew each bookcase would take two and a half panels. We would lose one whole panel of the map. The problem for me was whether to lose the panel on the left or right. After much deliberation, I preferred to keep the right panel because we have actually travelled to some of those islands and that was more important to me than the design in the bottom left hand corner.

Instructions:

  1. Measure, measure, and measure again.
  2. Roll panel loosely, pattern size in and submerge in water 30-45 seconds.
  3. Upon removing wet wallpaper, make sure all glue has gotten moist. We then opened panel back up and folded top and bottom in to middle, glue side in. This just helps you get the wallpaper to position.
  4. We started with the bottom of the panel and worked up on the bookcase.
  5. Smooth out any bubbles with wallpaper brush. Work the brush in all directions. Tap wallpaper into corners and top with brush.
  6. Use putty knife to hold wallpaper tightly in place on edges and cut excess with utility knife.
  7. Use a damp sponge or towel to lightly remove glue from wallpaper front. Be careful not to shift your paper.

I would liked to have had pictures of every step but with a defiant toddler taking a nap we were under the gun to get it finished!

Repeat process for each panel, making sure they all stay aligned!

I did it! I’m so proud that this is a project I wanted to do and went for it. I love this wall makeover!

For further design inspiration this is what the living room looked like when we bought our house over four years ago. Before moving in we installed hardwoods and painted the walls a khaki color. After moving in, I then painted the oak bookcases and fireplace Westhighland White. Now, I finally switched out the sconces and added the map wallpaper. Amazing that it’s the same room! I hope you’ve enjoyed and I hope I’ve given you some inspiration! If there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, go for it!

Living Room Before we moved in and worked our magic: YUCK!

Leave a comment

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