No-Sew DIY: Fabric-Lined Bookcase

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SKU: X-HT-300457
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Want to introduce fabric into your home’s décor in a creative and interesting way? Make a fabric-lined bookcase! This super easy DIY is a great no-sew project. This fun afternoon project is a simple way to add style to your bookcase and use up some leftover fabric at the same time. Did you recently sew new drapes? Reupholster your sofa? Make new throw pillows? If you have leftover fabric from recent projects, use it in today’s DIY for a chic, cohesive look in your living room.

Below is the step-by-step tutorial for this easy DIY. You’ll need the following materials:

  • Lightweight upholstery fabric (amount depends on size of bookcase)
  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape Measure 120 Inch (#102986)
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (#129)
  • 3M™ Super 77™ Spray Adhesive (#636100)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Foam core board or single-wall cardboard (optional, see “Alternative Method” section below photo tutorial)

1. Measure the width and height of the back of your shelves. Transfer these measurements to your fabric and trace as many panels as required on the back side of the fabric. Add a 1/2-inch seam allowance on all four sides of your fabric panels.

2. Cut out fabric panels including the 1/2-inch seam allowance.

3. Apply basting tape around the edges of the fabric and create a 1/2-inch hem on all four sides. Use the pencil lines for an accurate hem. Here’s a tip: If you want to, notch the corners of the fabric panels to make it easier to fold the fabric at the corners and reduce bulk.

4. After you've basted your hems, apply firm pressure with a ruler or other hard object so the basting tape adheres well. We like using the metal edge of the Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler for this purpose.

5. With a clean, dry cloth, wipe off the back of your bookcase shelves to remove any dust or dirt before adhesion. This will provide a better tack with your fabric. Do not use any cleaning product as the residue will interfere with the effectiveness of the spray adhesive.

6. To prevent overspray of the spray adhesive, tape off all sides of each bookcase shelf with newspaper. We’re using 3M™ Super 77™ Spray Adhesive to glue our fabric panels to the back of the bookcase. The spray adhesive must be held 6 to 8 inches away from the surface you’re spraying. Spray in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and a mask if desired.

7. Apply an even coating of Super 77 to one shelf back but don’t overspray. Wait approximately 15-30 seconds for the adhesive to get tacky. You can remove the newspaper while you wait. Then gently pick up the top corners of your fabric piece and carefully adhere the fabric to the back of the bookcase. If you have wrinkles or your fabric is crooked, you can peel back the fabric and reapply. The great thing about Super 77 is that the fabric is repositionable until the adhesive spray is fully dry. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles with your hands.

8. Repeat this process for the remaining shelves. Do the shelves one at a time to ensure the spray adhesive is at its correct tackiness. Wait at least 15 minutes for the adhesive to fully dry.

9. Here’s a trick: Even if you measured your bookcase dimensions and fabric panels correctly, there might be a small amount of gap between the shelves and your fabric. Don’t worry! Just adhere a ribbon border after your fabric has dried and it will hide any imperfections in your project.

Ta-da! You have a beautiful and revamped bookcase! How fun was that no-sew DIY!?

If you do not want to permanently adhere the fabric panels to the back of your bookcase, you can adhere the fabric to foam core board or single-wall cardboard instead. Measure and cut the boards to the same size as the back of the shelves. Measure and cut your fabric panels following Steps 1 and 2. Wrap the extra 1/2-inch of fabric on each side around the back of the foam core board or cardboard and adhere with fabric glue or hot glue. If you cut the boards to the exact dimensions of the bookcase backs, you should be able to slide them in for a snug fit without needing to adhere them with glue. If the fabric-wrapped boards don’t stay, you can adhere them to the bookcase with double-sided tape or a small amount of hot glue.

What other things have you done to incorporate fabric into your home in unexpected ways? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below. And if you make this no-sew bookcase DIY, be sure to post your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #Sailrite so we can see your wonderful projects!

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