No More Boring Bookshelves

My bookshelves are boring…very boring.  No matter how I place accessories, nothing looks right.


So I decided to add a little color and texture with some removable panels.

Boring to BEAUTIFUL in half an afternoon!


Here’s How I Did It!


I already had some of my favorite building material in the workshop (from the insulation section of my local hardware store.)  This insulating sheathing is not the nasty, crumbly stuff you normally think of when the word styrofoam pops into a conversation.  It’s compressed, light weight, easy to paint with latex, and doesn’t take power tools to cut.  It’s my go-to medium for every VBS  and stage prop I’ve ever designed.  Home Depot sells the pink version with dove-tailed edges, Lowes stocks it in blue with a smooth edge.

Newbies sometimes have difficulty cutting, so here’s my secret:  a brand-new, fully extended, and lightly waxed box cutter blade wielded in one smooth, long cut.  NEVER saw or hesitate the blade.


I used my trusty T-square to get perfect 90 degree rectangles.


I peeled the protective thin plastic from front and back before I began measuring my lines or cutting, and got to work.  There’s no need to cut the whole way through.  A deep score (say 75% through) means the clean break when you bend.


Sanding is easy–just use a scrap of the same material to smooth any rough edges.


I base-coated my custom-sized Styrofoam panels with a sedate turquoise chalk paint.  I love how the chalk paint just soaks into the foam, making it look like it was supposed to be there all along.  Because I’d used the Lowes brand (blue) I went with a very thin coat, allowing the blue beneath to peek through giving a watery, distressed feel.  The hubby and I put them in place, but they were too bright.  One of our boys mumbled something about their belonging in a young girl’s bedroom (the ultimate insult).  So I took them down and slathered a calming grey  latex glaze  making them weathered sedate turquoise.  Everyone’s happy.  And when we’re tired of it, I can take them down, or flip them over and paint something else.  Perfect!