HAND PAINTED BAMBOO BOOKSHELF BACKS TUTORIAL - Dimples and Tangles

HAND PAINTED BAMBOO BOOKSHELF BACKS TUTORIAL


I was up until 2:30 last night finishing up projects so I can photograph for my Spring Tour, so I'm scrambling to get this post up this morning!  I didn't want to wait any longer to share our painted bamboo bookshelf backs that I've been working on in the living room, and I'll show you how I did them.  It wasn't a hard project, but it was an involved project that you definitely have to be committed to.


*this post may contain affiliate links

When I was researching some ideas for what kind of pattern I wanted to do, this wallpaper stood out to me.  I could have ordered it and wallpapered the backs, but sometimes I like a creative challenge!  I decided to try to paint a similar pattern using the paper as inspiration, and figured if all else failed I could always paper over it if the paint was a complete disaster.


To start, find the center of backs and then measure out 2.5" from all sides to make a 5" square in the center. I found that this 5" square was a good scale for my project, but you can adjust that larger or smaller for your project if you'd like to.  One thing to consider...  The shelves on the right side of my fireplace have cabinets under them, and the shelves on the left side go all the way to the floor.  I started with the shorter shelves on the right and found the center of those, and then used that same measurement for the shelves on the left.  I wanted the pattern to be consistent across all of the shelves so making sure that they were all marked out the same across the top was crucial.  I hope that makes sense.

Once the center square is marked, measure and extend all of those lines evenly to create a 5x5" grid over the entire space.  I darkened this photo up so hopefully you can see the pencil marks. (Oh yes, you'll want to tape off the adjoining edges of the shelf so there will be clean lines on the edges when you start painting.)


Next, start marking the diagonal lines.  I measured 2" in from each corner and placed a guide mark.  Then I did the same thing in the other squares, skipping a few diagonally each direction.  Then just use a ruler or yardstick to connect all of the dots!  I started to use this little paper guide but it was better and more accurate to just use a ruler to make my 2" marks.  You do need to be precise so the lines will all be straight.  (That little paper triangle did come in handy though in the very corner edges that were too tight to get a ruler or straight edge in.)


*Note- Only mark every other square this way- you'll end up marking each square on a diagonal if you follow the every other pattern.  The pattern won't be right if you mark every square.


Measure and mark and measure and mark until all of your lines are done.  Not going to sugar coat it, the measuring probably took me a full day but once you find a rhythm it goes faster.  You might be able to notice I had to erase a few times, too.   ;)


Once all of your horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines are marked, it's time to paint!  I referred to the wallpaper inspiration and noticed that the square grid lines were a bit thinner than the diagonal lines, so I used two different size brushes.  I picked these up at Hobby Lobby and they worked great (BRIGHT #12 and FLAT #5),  I wanted some stiffness to the bristles so they wouldn't spread too much. One little tip, the handles on these brushes were so long that I had to cut some of the end off- it kept getting in the way along the edge of the shelves.


I used Sherwin Williams Lucky Green for the lines.  It was just a bit lighter than the Meadow Green spray paint that I use for so many things, and I wanted a slight variation there.  I painted all of the square grid first, then came back and did the diagonal lines.  This was after one coat, and it was apparent that I was going to have to do 2 coats (rats!).


After a few more solid days of painting (with life happening in between), it was finally finished!


I went back and forth at this point trying to decide if I wanted to add some simple markings to mimic bamboo.  Ultimately I decided that I liked the subtle detail (it's a slightly darker shade of green that I had on hand, matched to the Meadow Green).  You really can't see the marks unless you're up close, but I didn't want them to really stand out anyway.  I wasn't trying to make it look exactly realistic like the wallpaper, just a little nod to bamboo and I'm happy with how it turned out. 




white built in shelves




I just realized that I didn't take a photo of the entire wall so you can see them all together, but I'll be sure to do that for my tour next week!









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18 comments

  1. Gorgeous! I am so impressed that you painted it yourself! Nice job!
    Shelley

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  2. Beautiful! I also love the white mantle for what I can - looks great next to the bookshelves and on the brick. You always do such a wonderful job, and your home makes me smile because it gives off a very joyous vibe - thanks for that.

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  3. I wasn't sure I was going to like this, but I LOVE it! It came out beautiful! I love the white on the mantle and bookcases too.

    Lisa

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    1. Thanks, glad I won you over! ;) And I agree on the mantel. I was nervous to paint it earlier but I'm so glad I did!

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  4. Looks just beautiful! Green is my fav... Have a good weekend! Leticia

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  5. This is so beautiful..and your attention to detail makes it really stand out. I love the way the green contrasts with your blue and whites....can you link some of the beautiful blue and white pieces? I never seem to find any at Home Goods or TJ Maxx where I live. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I really love it with the blue and white too. I have several pieces linked at the end of the post, right under the "Get the Look" graphic. Just use the left and right arrows to scroll through the photos, then click on the one you're interested in viewing. Hope that helps!

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  6. Girl how fab is this! I love a good painted project, and this looks exactly like the type of thing I don't have the patience for hahaha so my hat is definitely off to you!

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  7. Great job! You must have the patience of Job to do all that drawing and painting! I love this look for your bookcases and I like it all painted white much better than the previous darker color. By the way, I copied your breakfast room look of multiple botanical prints. The ceiling behind my sofa is high and doing 20 prints on that wall really filled it up! My husband did a great job of hanging them. I look forward to every one of your posts! Love your use of color!

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  8. You are one TALENTED woman-very impressive! And I love the bamboo detailing you decided to add; it really makes it. Wow!

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  9. Jennifer—-
    Your DIY paint projects are on a level all their own!! Absolutely beautifully done!!! Your talent never ceases to amaze me!

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  10. Looks amazing Jennifer! You'd never know it wasn't wallpaper, great job!

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  11. This is gorgeous! You truly must have the patience of Job! And you're so brave, too. I'm terrified just to try peel and stick wall paper on my shelves. :-)
    Kathryn

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  12. It turned out so beautiful! You did an awesome job! I just love your style. :)

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  13. This turned out to be beautiful! Truly an inspiration that I pinned to try in a china cabinet someday.

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  14. Jennifer!! It turned out soooo good!! Seriously so impressed that you painted this. I would have definitely just ordered the wallpaper haha. ;)

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  15. So beautiful, Jennifer! Love!

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