How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

Do you have an ugly bookcase you would like to spruce up in your home? One way of updating it is by covering the back panel.

How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

When it comes to adding a personal touch to any room, customized furniture can make all the difference. One great way to give your space an extra element of unique style is to cover up the back of a bookcase with something special. 

Whether you’re looking for something eye-catching to display in your living room or just want a way to dress up an old piece of furniture, covering the back of a bookcase is surprisingly simple and straightforward — and, even more importantly, fun!

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some creative ideas for how to cover the back of a bookcase into works of art that will have guests admiring your bold styling decisions.

What Will You Need?

Before you get started on your project, gather the supplies necessary to complete it. Depending on the look you’re going for, these can include:

  1. Fabric or wallpaper
  2. A spray adhesive
  3. Craft glue (optional)
  4. Sharp scissors
  5. Ruler or measuring tape
  6. Pencil
  7. Staple gun (optional)

Once you have all the necessary supplies, it’s time to start.

10 Easy Steps on How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

Step 1. Selecting Your Covering Material

Choose a Fabric or Wallpaper

Now comes the fun part! Choose a fabric or wallpaper that fits the style of your room and matches the shelves. You could spice things up with multiple colors and patterns if you’d like. Not sure what style to go for? Take some time to browse through Pinterest for inspiration! When selecting your fabric/wallpaper, make sure it’s wide enough to cover the entire back panel, plus a few extra inches in case of misalignments.

Step 2. Applying The Adhesive

Once you have your fabric/wallpaper ready, you can begin applying the adhesive. If you’re using a spray adhesive, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area. Lay the fabric over the back of the bookcase and spray it evenly with the adhesive. To ensure proper coverage, start at one corner and move slowly up while spraying.

Step 3. Arranging the fabric/wallpaper

The next step is properly arranging the fabric or wallpaper over the bookcase. Starting from one corner, use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure that the edges are straight and the material is properly aligned. Make sure you press firmly onto the adhesive as you go so that it sticks well.

Step 4. Taping off sections

If you’re using fabric or wallpaper with several patterns and colors, you may want to consider taping off certain sections before applying the adhesive. This will help ensure that no two patterns blend together when applied. Use masking tape for this step, and make sure to remove it quickly after spraying each section.

Step 5. Trimming the Excess

Once you’re done arranging and taping your fabric/wallpaper, it’s time to trim off any excess. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut away any overlapping pieces carefully. Doing this before applying glue will help avoid smudging or tearing when removing the excess fabric/wallpaper.

Step 6. Applying Glue (optional)

Using Craft Glue

At this point, you may want to consider adding an extra layer of adhesive for added security. Using craft glue, apply a thin line along each edge of the material and press firmly into place. This step is optional but highly recommended if you’ll be placing heavier items on the shelves.

Step 7. Staple Gun (optional)

If you’re using a heavier material such as vinyl or canvas, consider using a staple gun to secure the fabric/wallpaper in place. Start at one corner and work your way around the bookcase, making sure not to pull too tightly. It’s important that you don’t pull too tight, as this can cause creases or pulls in the material.

Step 8. Letting it Dry

Once all of the necessary steps are complete, let the adhesive dry completely before moving on to step 9. This could take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, depending on which type of adhesive you used and how much was applied. Patience is key here!

Step 9. Adding Accessories

Now that the bookcase is completely covered, you can add any decorative accents or accessories to complete the look. This could include items such as frames, plants, artwork, etc. Get creative and have fun with this step!

Step 10. Enjoy Your New Bookshelf

You’re all done! Now sit back and admire your work – you’ve just successfully covered the back of a bookcase! Feel proud knowing that you now have a unique and beautiful piece of furniture that will be the star of your living space. You did it!

By following these ten simple steps, you can easily cover the back of a bookcase with fabric or wallpaper. Doing so is an affordable way to add new life and style to any room in the house! So go ahead and give it a try – you may be surprised by how easy it is!

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Choose a material that complements the style of your bookcase. Whether you prefer fabric, wallpaper, paint, or an old-fashioned corkboard, make sure it blends well with the overall look of your furniture.
  2. Measure and cut accurately so that everything fits perfectly in place without any folds or creases. Also, measure twice just to be on the safe side!
  3. If using fabric, attach it directly onto the backing board with spray adhesive. This will help ensure that no air bubbles form when applying it to the surface of the bookcase back panel.
  4. For added texture, consider adding decorative trim around the edges or along seams for a more polished look.
  5. Once the back is covered with a chosen material, secure it in place by using upholstery pins or tacks. A few strategically placed pins will go a long way in ensuring that everything stays securely in its place.
Measure and Cut Accurately

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to cover the back of your bookcase with style easily! For added protection, consider adding a layer of clear lacquer spray on top of the finished product for extra durability.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Using too thin fabrics as they can tear easily over time.
  2. Applying too much adhesive when attaching the material to the backing board, as this can cause air bubbles or damage to your bookcase.
  3. Relying solely on glue instead of using upholstery pins or tacks to secure the fabric in place.
  4. Overloading one side of your bookcase more than another as could put a strain on the item and cause it to become unstable over time.
  5. Opting for a contrasting design scheme—instead, keep things cohesive by selecting materials that blend well with your overall décor scheme.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can easily cover the back of your bookcase with ease. Remember to take your time and measure twice before making any cuts so that everything will fit perfectly in place!

What Paint to Use to Cover a Bookcase?

The best type of paint to use when covering a bookcase is either acrylic-based or latex-based paint. Both types are easy to clean and will provide sufficient protection against scratches, wear, and dust. Always apply multiple thin coats for the most even coverage when painting!

Additionally, you may want to consider using a primer if the material being covered is particularly porous or dark in color. This will help create a smooth and even surface upon which to apply your chosen paint color.

Finally, be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying another one—this will help ensure that your final product looks perfect once it’s all said and done!

Apply Your Chosen Paint Color

By following these simple steps and tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a unique and beautiful bookcase for your living space. With the right materials, patience, and attention to detail, you’ll have a stunning piece that’s sure to be the envy of all who see it!


In the end, covering the back of a bookcase will make it look more attractive and can really brighten up any room. It’s a relatively easy job that doesn’t require too much time or effort, adding glamour to your home without breaking the bank! Whether you choose to use fabric, wallpaper, or cork as your material is entirely up to you.

However, all three options have great benefits: Fabric offers versatility when it comes to design, while wallpaper is easy to source and apply with an adhesive. Meanwhile, using a cork board allows you to display photographs and other mementos in a unique way – plus unlike other materials, it acts as an acoustic absorber which helps reduce noise levels. Whichever option you decide on for your bookcase backing, it’s sure to give your furniture a new lease of life!

Hopefully, the article on how to cover the back of a bookcase has been helpful to you. Thanks for reading!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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