We used this white IKEA bookshelf in the garage to hold all sorts of gardening miscellany. Over the years it became quite a mess of mud and fish food and whatever. I took this picture after I had washed it twice with bathroom cleaner. Don’t ask me what the stain on the cardboard backing is.
So now that we wanted to use it in the playroom, and now that I’m addicted to spray paint (I can stop at any time, I swear. I’m totally in control.), I decided to give this sad shelf a face lift.
I thought about painting each shelf or perhaps the back of each shelf a different color of our playroom rainbow. Kent who loves overkill wanted the whole thing sprayed rainbow or at least entirely one bright color. I decided we are headed over the edge to crazy town already in the playroom, so I would tone it down a little. I just used two colors on the shelf backs.
- 4 cans of Rust-o-leum spraypaint (pink, green, and two white)
- Spray paint comfort grip (totally, totally worth the money)
- Painters tape
- Plastic sheeting
Step One: Prep surfaces.
For me, this included washing them. I should probably have roughed up the melamine with a light sanding, but I did not.
Step Two: Spray first color.
Second coat after 20 minutes. Third coat after another 20.
Step Three: Wait for it to dry.
I left this to fully dry inside overnight.
Step Four: Tape out the first color.
I was also planning to repaint everything else white, so it made sense to try a couple of different methods to see which worked best. For the pink, I sprayed the backing first, then taped it out to spray white over. For the green, I sprayed the sides white first, then taped them over to do the green.
Neither worked flawlessly, but the pink turned out better and was easier.
Step Five: Spray the second color recoating after 20 minutes.
The big issue was that the cardboard backing wasn’t well suited to paint. It started saturating and warping just from being outside in the July humidity of Virginia. I put in a couple dozen extra finishing nails along the shelf and frame, but it was still bubbly. If you look closely at all, you can see I didn’t do a third coat on the green because between the spraypaint and the humidity, the backing was just going skiwampus after the second coat.
The other big issue is that a bunch of bugs suicided on the white shelves as soon as I painted them. I immediately sprayed the wet paint with water and wiped the bugs off which screwed up the finish and required repair. It was a mess.
My perfectionism was at an all time low on this project, but it still turned out better than the before.