When Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic show (did you ever watch?) was on air I was so inspired to paint any vintage furniture I could get my hands on. I went on the hunt for a bookcase, I found one that up until recently still had the same paint I used from all those years ago. Now it’s time to update it! Keep scrolling to see me reviving my very first furniture flip!!
First, let’s see what young me thought was the bee knees in furniture colors.
I wish I had a picture of this bookcase as I bought it. It was pumpkin orange and shiny.
But I saw beyond that and fell for the scallop details and the sweet notches.
When I left for college I turned the bookcase over to my little sister.
In addition to my very cool butterfly stencils, my sister added her own painted shapes and stickers.
The bookcase eventually fell out of my sister’s style and landed in the garage before my mom passed it back to me.
I hung on to the bookcase with the idea to paint it, but it just sat.
Then I had my little girl and it felt right to pass it on to her. Were you here when I created a nursery nook for her as part of One Room Challenge?
Sanding the bookcase
Can I paint a bookshelf without sanding?
Depending on the state of the surface, it’s generally best to sand even lightly. Some paints like chalk paint require less prep.
Dust and dirt had coated the paint. Chips of wood had fallen off. My sister had decorated with stickers.
A sanding and new paint job was definitely in order. Debris and unevenness can prevent paint from bonding well, leading to chips.
However, as I started sanding I felt sad to cover up the marks my sister and I made.
The cool thing was that my sister was working on it with me. So we got to relive some of the memories attached to the little green bookshelf. We told stories as we prepped the surface and talked about how cute it was going to be for my little one.
Patching the bookshelf
We filled in the chipped edges and talked more about how the color was going to turn out.
For many projects we use an all-purpose wood filler. It starts out pink, then turns a beige color to indicate it is ready to sand and stain/paint.
What is the difference between wood filler and wood patch?
The difference between wood filler and patch is that wood filler hardens once dry so that you can sand it, while wood putty does not.
To preserve some of the nostalgia that overcame us, I got the idea to place painter’s tape over a couple of our little doodles.
I have yet to attempt to peel the tape off. It’s something I’ve never tried and I don’t really know what the outcome will be.
Time for paint
What kind of paint do you use on a bookshelf?
This is tricky. Some sources say go ahead and use latex wall paint on your furniture. I had leftover latex paint from my daughter’s nursery nook, but it was more matte than I wanted. For this wood bookshelf I chose the same color but in acrylic. I think the acrylic with some shine to it will hold up to my kids longer.
After we got our new paint sprayer I was so excited.
The sprayer is meant for larger jobs, but I couldn’t help to try it on this little job.
The finish comes out so smooth and thick. In the pink paint it’s almost like a milkshake!
Touch up time
My sister and I were racing against the rain to finish the paint job.
We had an unseasonably dry fall that allowed me to get so many projects done.
The day we brought the bookshelf inside, it started to rain!
While the bookcase was outside drying, pine needles and other tree debris had fallen down in the wet paint.
I had to do touch up sanding and painting in our kitchen.
Girl’s Bookshelf Refresh
Love the little scallop detail that is so in right now.
The nesting dolls are my collection that I’ve purchased from thrift stores and yard sales.
I love that my sister and I were able to get this done during her visit. It’s not a super complicated change, but I think it is so pretty now.
And I love that my daughter will now enjoy the bookshelf and make her own mark on it.
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If you don’t have time to hunt for your vintage bookcase and refresh it, check these cute picks.
If you make a purchase via one of the affiliate links we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Happy shopping!
And to fill your little one’s shelves, see below. I couldn’t find all of the exact items, but I did find great alternatives. Some of the toys are from the Hearth and Hand collection at Target but are now only on Ebay.
Thanks for reading! Hope to see you around our casa again soon!
If you like vintage, you might enjoy this article about repurposing fence pickets.
If you love paint projects and need ideas to use up leftovers, check out this post.
And one more paint project.
That bookcase is so cute in pink!! What a great story! Love the suggested bookshelves
Thanks so much for reading! Happy you like those finds🥰
Hi! Your project is so wonderful – I loved the update on this! I would love to invite you to link up your project at Whimsy Home Wednesdays to inspire others and have a chance to be featured – find the party here -> https://fifthsparrownomore.com/whimsy-home-wednesday-blog-link-party-no-14/
I love how this turned out. It made such a difference. I recently painted a set of drawers in this pink colour with purple drawers.
Thanks Carol! My little girl was really happy to see it in place with her toys. 💕 That sounds cute
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