When All Else Fails Cover It Up

Jennifer —  January 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

I must say that the title of this post is not my mantra in life.  I am a big believer that honesty should always prevail.  This was, however, my mantra in how I dealt with the black/brown Lack shelves that flanked my fireplace.  Here is the picture below. (again please excuse my pre-blog poor cell phone pic)

The first year that we lived in the house, I decided to purchase these Lack floating wall shelves to provide some decorative storage on either side of my fireplace.  My first intention was to purchase 8 floating shelves (four on each side), but I wasn’t sure of this decision.  Since I live 7 hours away from the closest Ikea I couldn’t easily return them, so I figured start with four.  If I liked them and wanted to add to more to each side, I could pick up the other four shelves 4 months later when I traveled to that city for work.  Thank goodness I listened to the voice in my head.  My  goal of my idea of 4 shelves on each side was sturdy shelving that could hold a good amount  of weight (you know, like books, boxes, decor)  These bad boys only hold 35 LBS so it wasn’t the sturdy option that I was going  for.

When I finally decided to build bookcases I wanted to build floor-to-ceiling bookcases and scrap the Lack.  You know me, I am a “try to use what I have” DIYer so we decided to build our Little Lack inspired bookcases and incorporate the Lack floating shelves we already had.

My first try: 

Paint them the white that I painted the bookcases. These bad boys are laminate so I looked up advice on painting laminate.  Maybe I did it wrong but I waited a LONG time ( a week) for the primer to harden and peeling paint was the outcome.  Sorry no pic.  I am not embarrassed to show you, I am more embarrassed I don’t have a picture.  I just got so frustrated and set out on the solution that I forgot to take a picture.  Here is a pic I found on the web that reminded me of how the paint was peeling after a few scratches.  Of course the scratch started small but in testing it a peeled it more and it looked like this (but not old and crackled..jut jagged like below)

source: woodweb.com

Bummer.  I went to bed frustrated.  Has this happened to anyone?

The next day I went to target to pick out sheets to sew my friend’s baby girl’s curtains.  I found this set of  queen sized sheets on clearance for $20.00.  It was a soft grey (which is a theme in my room) with white little diamonds (or flowers depending on how you look at it).  What if I covered the shelves in fabric?  I bought the sheets and went home to try it.

Note:  I have lived and learned from this experience.  I am going to share with you how I did this project.  I believe my methods to be 85% effective.  If I could go back, which I can’t wont, I would do it differently.  I tell this to be real and honest with you.  I want your product, if you choose to do this project, to be better than mine.  I will say that I am 100% satisfied with my end product with that being said…

Step: 1

I lightly hand sanded the shelves.  Remember I had paint on them.  I don’t think you would need to do this if you don’t.  I had to get it back to an even surface.

Step 2:

I figured out how I was going to cut the fabric to get the most bang for my buck.  I was able to use the queen sized sheet and a little bit of the fitted sheet.  I posted here how to cut your fitted sheet to make it a flat piece of fabric.

Step 3:

I cut my first piece of fabric.  It was wide enough to fold over both sides and the front of the shelves.  There was just enough excess in the back to staple it to the back. Don’t worry about the excess on the side unless it helps you maximize your fabric.  You will cut the excess later.

Step: 4: 

I ironed my fabric.

Step 5:

The Lack shelf can stand on its own because of its 2 inch thickness.  I stood the shelf up on its back so the front of the shelf  was facing up.

Step 6: 

I sprayed Spray Adhesive onto the front part of the shelf and evenly placed the fabric (right side up) down on the front of the shelf.  I adjusted it to make it even and smoothed out the wrinkles.

Note:  My end product had a little bit of bubbling on the front a few days later.  Pesky little suckers.  Why it didn’t come up immediately I don’t know, but I think using modge podge as the adhesive would have prevented this.  I used it in covering plastic bins for my hallway and have not had one little bubble.  Why I departed from my first love modge podge?…I do not know. Yet, I did and hopefully it happened to help you.  Remember…use a light layer of modge podge.  From here on out in this tutorial I would advise using modge podge.

Step 7:

I sprayed the sides (one at a time) with spray adhesive and smoothed out the fabric until the bubbles and wrinkles were gone.  This is a fluid process.  You have to constantly smooth out bubbles up until the last staple.  That is why you still see bubbles in the pic below.  These seen bubbles went away when I pulled tightly to staple.

Step 8: 

 Cut the excess on the sides to about two inches

Step 9: 

Fold the excess from the front side down (see pic)  Use spray adhesive (modge podge) to keep it down.

Step 10:

Fold the top and bottom side like a present.  If you see the above the pic, by folding down the front side excess first it creates to angles on both sides.  I sprayed the side of the shelf and folded the bottom side up first.  Then I lightly sprayed on top of that fabric and folded the top side down over it.  Here is the final product. 

Step 11:

Turn the Lack shelves over.  The back of the Lack shelf has a little indention to rest on a metal piece that screws into the wall.  I wanted the excess fabric to be secure yet minimal so it wouldn’t hinder the hanging of the shelves.  So I sprayed spray adhesive on the back and tightly folded the fabric over.  I stapled it down as well.  I also folded side the edges down. (cut any excess so it’s not bulky)


I cut out the fabric that covered the holes where the shelf rests on the wall piece.

Step 12:

I put two light coats of modge podge on the shelves.  This might have caused the bubble process, but I wanted these shelves to be wipeable.  I didn’t want the fabric to rip as I took things on and off the shelf.

Step 13: 

 I hung them back up.

Can you see the bubbles? 

The flash from my camera working with the gloss matte modge podge makes it worse than it really is.  I am a perfectionist so if it looked bad they would be down and I would have posted and ” I failed” post.    Here is a close up of one of them and it’s not bad at all. 


No one ever notices when they see them.  Its even less noticeable when there is something else to look at the shelves.  Here is the finished product.  Stay tuned and I will share with you what I used to decorate them.

The lesson learned?  Here is my list

  1. When all else fails, fabric does a good cover-up job. Sad to say, only in DIY.
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Don’t stray from what you know, modge podge…I am coming back if I ever do this project again.
  4. Don’t stress about minor flaws if they are not that big deal.  If it is gonna stress you out,  redo it.  If I were doing this project for one of you…I would have started over.  Hey, I am a perfectionist.  At my house, you don’t notice it so there is more important things to do in life.
    Resale value?  Haven’t lost a thing cause these puppies are coming with me when its time to go…bubbles and all.

    If you missed how I decorated these Shelves then check it out here.

Thanks for reading,


If you liked this post, try these:

The Little Lack Part 2

The Little Lack Part 1

My Hallway

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