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Redo your laminate bookcase and make it something you're actually proud of!

I searched high and low trying to find the best sources for doing a laminate bookcase makeover. I love DIY projects and couldn't resist the chance to fix up my ugly laminate bookcases in my classroom. I have five of them and they were showing signs of wear, desperately needing to be fixed up.

So, after much research and consultation with the more experienced DIYers, I discovered that I could in fact paint my laminate bookcases and ultimately make them something I am actually proud of. Check it out!


  • 1/2 a roll of wrapping paper per bookcase (this is a rough estimate and is entirely dependent on the size of your bookcase and the size of the wrapping paper)
  • scissors (or exacto knife if you have one)
  • power sander (for speed) or regular sandpaper
  • bucket
  • water
  • Elmer's white glue
  • sponge brush or small paint brush (1", 1.5", or 2" brush)
  • bookcase(s)
  • paint and primer in one (use Behr's black paint-and-primer in one; expensive but high quality and worth it for me to only have to do one coat)
  • paint brush

Step 1 - Purchase a patterned wrapping paper that fits your personality. I found a black-and-white one at Michael's at about $2.99 / roll. We used about 2 rolls for the three bookcases we redid.

Step 2 - Take the desired bookcase(s) and remove any shelves and brackets. Store the brackets safely in a plastic baggie (so you don't lose them like I have a tendancy to do).

Step 3 - Place the wrapping paper carefully in the bookshelf and create a crease where you need to cut. Carefully cut the wrapping paper so it will fit the back of your bookshelf. Set the wrapping paper aside for now.

Step 4 - Sand tops, sides, and front edges of each bookcase to allow the paint to adhere better. Then dust it off or vaccuum it to clear any debris.

Step 5 - Mix Elmer's Glue and Water in a bucket. With the bookcase laying on its back, brush the mixture onto inside back of the bookcase and carefully place the wrapping paper inside, watching for any lumps and folds. Allow a few minutes to set.

Step 6 - Paint tops, sides, and front edges with primer / paint in one.

Step 7 - Allow at least 24 hours (or more if it is in a damp area) for the bookcase to dry completely before putting any books or decorations on it.

I love the way my refurbished bookcases look. Bonus: even my middle school students thought they looked "cool." I hope you enjoy your as much as I have enjoyed mine!