When we last left our little bookshelf it was all plywood-clad and pretty rough. Here’s a reminder:
So we have our pretty fabric now serving as the back of the bookcase on my side, which I love. But we have to do something about this beast. After a lot of sketching, measuring and planning, I decided to turn this into a multi-use activity center, with a chalk board, a couple magnet boards and a flannel board. The magnet boards were from IKEA so they were a set size that I had to work around. From their measurements I created the size of the other boards, and used 5 1/4” moulding to trim it all out. After many cuts at Home Depot again, we were ready to assemble.
Enter the hubby again, and a LOT of panel and moulding adhesive. Ready for another collage?
Okay so there are a few steps in here I didn’t illustrate too well, but I’ll explain as I go.
NOT SHOWN: I made the chalkboard out of a piece of 2 x 4 Hardboard from Home Depot. It was like six bucks. I bought a can of chalkboard paint and had them tint it pea green, then painted the hardboard with two coats of the chalkboard paint.
1) We measured 5 1/4” in from each side of the bookcase to know where to place the chalkboard. We used small tack nails to nail it in at each corner and in the middle.
2) We placed the rest of our components to make sure they looked like they were going to fit. The purchased magnet boards would be flanking the flannel board on bottom.
NOT SHOWN: I made the flannel board out of some plywood I had cut to size. I attached one layer of batting to the plywood using spray adhesive, and then covered it with some fleece I purchased at JoAnn on sale for $2.99 a yard. I only needed 1/3 yard so it was pretty inexpensive.
3) After ensuring our measurements were correct, we placed the flannel board centered on the bottom of the bookcase and drilled more pilot holes in each corner.
4) Using 1 1/2” wood screws again, we screwed the flannel board into the plywood backing.
5) We used an all-purpose adhesive in our caulking gun to attach the magnet boards. They have a nice lip on either side on the back, so this worked perfectly.
6) After the boards were all attached it was time to trim it out. We used panel and moulding adhesive for all the trim pieces.
7) With the side pieces attached, we attached the middle divider. This was a 3 1/2” piece of casing. I wanted to divide the boards up, and it served as a cover-up for those ugly tack nails in the chalk board.
8) This was an accident. I bought the same trim for the sides and the top of the bookcase. However, I didn’t realize the chalkboard would protrude into the space we were supposed to attach the top trim to. But it turned out we needed some extra depth there because of how the corner joints were lining up. We had some extra hardboard, so we cut a few blocking pieces, screwed them into the plywood and then…
9) …screwed the top trim piece into those blocks. It worked out perfectly. I wish I could say I had planned it.
10) Almost done! So this required another trip to Home Depot, because I hadn’t thought about the ugly ugly side of this bookcase when planning the back of it. We now had fabric showing out the side, as well as the unfinished side of the top moulding. I went and bought three pieces of pre-finished shoe moulding that was the perfect size to cover up those unsightly seams.
11) I used my trusty panel adhesive, as well as a few finish nails this time and applied the shoe mould to the sides of the bookcase.
12) I also had a little gap at the top of the bookcase, only about 1/2” but I didn’t like the top moulding not being flush with the top of the bookcase. I used the same shoe mould to finish this off.
13) As you can see, my caulking skills are lacking, but luckily it dries clear. This made the whole manufactured back of my bookcase the exact same finished height as the actual bookcase.
AND AFTER ALL THAT, THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR:
MY FINISHED BOOKCASE!
Having never done anything like this before, I can’t express how happy I am with it! I still see all the imperfections, but I think it turned out pretty clean. And the best part?
It works! She loves it! I had her cousin over to test it too, and they played on that chalkboard forever! I also got her magnetic princess dress-up dolls, so that helps keep her busy. Now I just need to get some flannel board stories and we can do story time here too.
I can’t wait to see how the functionality of it evolves as she gets bigger. For now, it’s the perfect solution to getting her away from the TV and getting us into a crafting space closer together.
So one more time, just to recap:
Next week, I’ll show whole finished craft area, including (dun-dun-duuun) the other side of the bookcase, where all my scrapbook and sewing supplies are! Stay tuned!