Michael Dodds and Paula van Niekerk are the talented duo behind popular Cape store Vamp. They reveal how to transform an old open bookshelf into a designer display unit by simply adding a couple of colourful backboards
STEP 1: PREPARING YOUR BOOKSHELF
- If applicable, remove the existing backboard from your bookshelf.
- If your bookshelf is painted, remove the paint with a paint stripper. If it’s been varnished, give it a light sand all over.
- Fill in any holes or rough areas using a scraper and wood filler. Make sure you choose a filler that matches the colour of the wood of your bookshelf. Allow the filler to dry.
- Using fine sandpaper over a sanding block (or flat piece of wood) sand the entire bookshelf by hand. Thoroughly wipe off any dust.
- Apply a coat of varnish using a paint brush; a polyurethane varnish is best for durability. Allow the varnish to dry completely, preferably overnight.
- Lightly sand your bookshelf again, wipe off any dust and apply a second coat of varnish. Allow it to dry.
- Repeat the process and apply the last coat of varnish. Allow it to dry.
STEP 2: PREPARING THE NEW BACKBOARDS
- Get pieces of hardboard cut to size to fit some of the compartments of your bookshelf; the idea is to leave some shelves open and back others with a backboard.
- Fill in any holes or rough areas in the hardboard using a scraper and wood filler. Allow the filler to dry.
- Using a fine sandpaper sand your pieces of hardboard by hand. Wipe off any dust.
- Apply a coat of a water-based primer using a paintbrush.
- Allow to dry, then give each piece a light sanding. Repeat the process, apply a second coat of primer.
- Paint your pieces of hardboard using a good quality, water-based acrylic paint. We chose to paint each one a different complementary colour for added interest and to give the finished unit a unique personality. Allow the paint to dry completely.
- Apply another coat of paint and allow it to dry.
STEP 3: ATTACHING THE BACKBOARDS
- It’s easiest to ask a friend to help with this part of the project. Hold one of the backboards in place against the corresponding compartment of the bookshelf; neatly hammer in panel pins at regular intervals to secure it.
- Repeat the process until you’ve attached all your new backboards.