Joining in on the revamping fun this month, Spoonflower staffer Sharon refreshes a thrift store particle board bookshelf in her home’s entryway using pretty Spoonflower decals.  Read on for Sharon’s how-to below!


I bought this little particle board bookcase last year at a local thrift store to use as an entry table in our duplex. It’s pretty utilitarian and holds our keys, reusable shopping bags, toolbox, and various decoratives.

I wanted to give new life to it by painting it or covering it with wallpaper or wall decals. After researching online, I learned that painting particle board can be difficult, odorous, and time-consuming.  I decided to forget about painting then.  After consulting with my fellow Spoonies, I decided decals would be better than wallpaper, since wetting the wallpaper might have disastrous results for particle board! The pattern I chose was a teal papercut design by Mina.

I didn’t want to go overboard and cover the whole bookcase with the pattern, so I decided on covering just the shelves. Two of the four shelves are removable, which helped quite a bit with determining the necessary dimensions of the wall decal. Each shelf measured 13.9” by 10.6” which meant a large decal (30” x 30”) would be perfect.

To cut out the decal pieces, I used two different approaches: one for the non-removable shelves and another for the removable shelves. Both techniques use a removable shelf as a template.

For the non-removable shelves: Lining up the back of a removable shelf to the straight cut edge of the decal, I drew a pencil line right along the long sides of the shelf. Then I used a ruler to extend each line by two inches.

I then connected the two parallel lines with a straight line. This is so there would be a two-inch buffer of decal that can be wrapped around the front of the shelf and along to the bottom of the shelf. I used a ruler, razor blade, and cutting mat to cut out the decal piece to ensure a very straight edge.

The extra two inches means that I can wrap the decal around the front edge of the shelf so that when you look at the bookcase head-on, the design appears to wrap around the shelf.

I measured and cut the decal medium for both the removable shelves in this way, using a removable shelf as a template.

To apply the decal to the nonremovable shelves, I pulled back some of the backing paper, aligned the decal to the back and left sides of the shelf, and smoothed a bit.

After making sure it was straight (it’s easy to remove and reposition the decal), I pulled off the rest of the paper and smoothed using the squeegee provided by Spoonflower.  Once the top was smooth, I continued smoothing along the front edge and around to the bottom. The squeegee works best if you pull the decal taut while smoothing around the edges.

For the removable shelves: Again, I lined up the short back edge to a straight edge of the decal, and drew three straight lines around the shelf. However, this time there was an approximately one-centimeter buffer of decal along the two long edges of the shelf.  Along the front edge, I again put in a two-inch buffer so that I could wrap the decal around the front and down the bottom of the shelf.

For the decals on the removable shelves, you could do this initial cut with scissors if you like, since straight accuracy here is not yet necessary. (You’ll see why in a few steps….)

I peeled the backing paper off the decal, aligned the back edge of the decal with the back edge of the shelf, and smoothed down the decal with the squeegee. I continued smoothing along the front edge like I did for the non-removable shelves.

Next, I used my trusty razor edge and a mat to cut away the excess decal along the edge of the shelf.

And there is a perfectly covered removable shelf!

After just a few hours of work, I have an entry piece that is more than your average particle board bookcase, with a subtle design in one of my favorite colors.