How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

Do you have a bookcase in your home that’s been bothering you for years due to its unsightly back? If so, then this post is for you. It’s time to cover the back of your bookcase and give it a whole new look!

How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

Learn how to upgrade the style of your piece quickly and easily by following our simple steps on how to cover the ugly exposed wood features of any bookcase. Whether you want a classic, modern, or fun aesthetic for your shelf makeover, we’ll show you all the tricks and tips needed to transform it into an eye-catching piece.

So why wait? Let’s get started on how to cover the back of a bookcase now to spruce up those shelves!

12 Step-by-Step Guidelines on How to Cover the Back of a Bookcase

Step 1: Measure the Back of Your Bookcase 

Using a tape measure, determine the height and width of your bookcase’s back. You want to make sure that whatever material you use covers the entire back of your bookcase. That way, you can get a seamless look and hide any imperfections. If your bookcase has an open back, you’ll need to add a few extra inches of material when measuring.

Step 2: Select Your Material 

Choose a material that best suits the aesthetic you’re looking for. You can use fabric, wallpaper, paper, or even paint to cover the back of your bookcase. But remember to make sure the material is thick enough to hide any imperfections on your bookcase. That way, you’ll end up with a polished look. It also helps to choose a material that matches the base and top of your bookcase.

Step 3: Cut the Material to Size 

Using a ruler and craft knife, cut your material down to fit the exact dimensions of your bookcase’s back. Make sure the cut is precise and clean. It’s important to remember that the material should be big enough to cover all sides of your bookcase. If you’re using wallpaper or paper, add a few extra inches so you can wrap the material around the edges.

Step 4: Apply Adhesive to the Back of the Bookcase 

Using an appropriate adhesive for your chosen material, apply it to the back of your bookcase. Make sure that you cover all surfaces and not just the edges. This will ensure that the material sticks properly and doesn’t come loose over time. No one wants to have the constant fear that their bookcase will fall apart!

Step 5: Apply Your Material to the Back of Your Bookcase 

Carefully lay down your material on top of the adhesive on the back of your bookcase. Press down firmly to ensure that it sticks well. It’s important to make sure that the material is smooth and wrinkle-free. If it’s not, then you’ll end up with a messy, inconsistent look. That’s why it’s important to take care when applying the material.

Make Sure That the Material is Smooth

Step 6: Trim Any Excess Material with a Craft Knife  

If necessary, use a craft knife to trim off any excess material from around the edges of your bookcase’s back. Be careful not to cut too much off or else you may have difficulty fitting everything together later on. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Be sure to double-check that the trimmed material fits properly before removing it.

Step 7: Secure the Material to the Bookcase 

Using a stapler or nails, secure the material to the back of your bookcase. Make sure that you do not staple/nail through any part of the material itself. That way, you don’t end up with any unsightly rips or tears in your material. Doing so will also help to ensure that the material doesn’t come loose over time. But don’t overdo it with the stapling/nailing – you don’t want to damage your bookcase!

Step 8: Smooth Out Any Bubbles or Creases  

Using an iron on its lowest setting and a damp cloth, carefully smooth out any bubbles or creases in your material. This will create a flat and even surface for your bookcase’s back. But be sure to keep the iron moving over the surface of the material to prevent any damage. That way, you can get that smooth, polished finish that you’re looking for. You’re all done! Your bookcase now has a beautiful, seamless back that will give your room a polished look.

Step 9: Mount Your Shelves Back into Place 

Once everything is dry, you can mount your shelves back into place. Make sure they are securely fastened so that they stay in place. It’s also important to double check that the shelves are level and even. That way, you can be sure that your bookcase will look good from all angles. But most importantly, you’ll have a sturdy and stable bookcase that will keep your books safe for years to come.

Make Sure They Are Securely Fastened

Step 10: Admire Your Handiwork 

Stand back and admire your hard work! You just completed the task of how to cover the back of a bookcase and you should be proud of yourself. It might have taken a bit of effort and time, but the end result will be worth it. Your bookcase will now look like a professionally crafted piece of furniture. That would have cost you a lot more had you bought it from the store! Now, all that’s left to do is start filling up your bookshelves with your favorite books and trinkets.

Step 11: Show Off Your Accomplishment  

Now that you’ve successfully given your bookcase makeover, show it off to friends, family, and everyone else who visits your home. Let them know how much work you put into transforming this piece with simple steps. But most importantly, enjoy your new bookcase and all the memories it will bring.

Step 12: Enjoy Your Bookcase Makeover 

Lastly, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor! You did an amazing job of sprucing up your bookcase’s look – and you should be proud of yourself for a job well done. But most importantly, bask in the satisfaction that comes with a successful bookcase makeover. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your work of art! Remember, you can always change things up in the future and give your bookcase a new look.

Following these simple steps will help you create a beautiful and unique look for your bookcase. With just a few materials and tools, you can transform the old into something new – all with your own two hands.

Covering the back of your bookcase is an easy way to give it a makeover that won’t break the bank. So go ahead, take on this task and show off your accomplishment! You’ll be glad that you did!

Do You Need to Use Professionals?

When it comes to covering the back of your bookcase, you don’t necessarily have to hire professionals. If you feel comfortable taking on this task yourself, then go for it! Following the steps outlined above will give you a beautiful and unique look for your bookcase.

On the other hand, if you do decide to hire professionals, make sure you research them thoroughly and find out if they have experience in this type of task. That way, you can feel confident that your bookcase will be in good hands!

Make Sure You Research Them Thoroughly

Whichever route you decide to take, just remember that with a bit of effort and the right tools, covering the back of your bookcase is an easy and affordable way to give your bookcase a makeover. So don’t hesitate – go ahead and get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Type of Material Should I Use to Cover the Back of a Bookcase? 

A: You can use any lightweight fabric, wallpaper, or even thin wood paneling to cover the back of your bookcase. Just make sure that whatever material you choose is thin enough not to interfere with the shelves.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Cover The Back of a Bookcase? 

A: It typically takes around 1-2 hours depending on the size of your bookcase. But the amount of time will vary based on how intricate you make the design.

Q: Can I Paint The Back of my Bookcase Instead? 

A: Yes, you can definitely paint the back of your bookcase as an alternative to covering it with fabric or wallpaper. However, if you do choose to paint it, make sure you use a high-quality primer and paint that is designed for the type of material your bookcase is made of. Taking this extra step will ensure that the paint job lasts for years to come.

Q: Can I Use Glue or Tape to Fasten My Fabric/Wallpaper? 

A: Yes, you can use both glue and tape to fasten your fabric or wallpaper in place. Just make sure that whatever adhesive you choose is strong enough to hold up the fabric or wallpaper. For best results, we recommend using a liquid adhesive and making sure it is completely dry before hanging your bookcase back on the wall.  

You Can Use Both Glue and Tape


Thanks for reading this article on how to cover the back of a bookcase. Covering the back of a bookcase doesn’t have to be intimidating. Whatever project you decide on, there are many creative and innovative ways to get it done with minimal effort, providing an eye-catching addition to your room.

If traditional methods are too boring for you, try painting a mural or illustrating an inspirational quote – both will give your bookcase a unique touch that ties into your personality and style.

With such great ideas out there, you’ll never run into the same dull back of a bookcase twice! Best of all, these methods can be used on any other piece of furniture – adding extra pizzazz to any room in your house. So don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild and get crafting for an amazing transformation!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of 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. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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