How to Wallpaper the Back of a Bookcase


A colorful or graphic wallpaper applied to the interior back of a bookcase adds an element of design without being heavy-handed in a small space. Choose a pattern to reflect or contrast with other accent colors in the room, or a design that enhances the room's decor scheme. A nautical room is the perfect setting for navigation chart wallpaper. A fairytale bedroom gets a delicate floral or illustrated garden fairies treatment. Accurate measurements and a few simple steps can transform a boring bookcase into a point of interest, with or without its books.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper glue
  • Small roller
  • Sponge
  • Remove the shelves from the bookcase and set them aside. If the shelves are fixed, you'll have to repeat the measurements and gluing steps separately for each exposed back section -- more work but the same procedure with the same result.

  • Measure the interior backing of the bookcase. Mark the wallpaper to match the bookcase measurement and cut it with a sharp scissors or craft knife. Hold the wallpaper up to the bookcase backing to ensure that it fits precisely.

  • Place the wallpaper face down on a protected flat surface and cover the back of it with wallpaper glue, applying the glue with a small roller to reach every bit of the paper.

  • Fit the wallpaper into the bookcase, matching one corner exactly and smoothing the glued paper to fit the bookcase backing. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp sponge.

  • Smooth the wallpaper from the center out to the ends to remove bubbles or wrinkles, using a clean, barely damp sponge. You don't want to soak the paper, just verify the sponge is damp enough to be pliable to avoid ripping the wallpaper.

  • Allow the glue to dry overnight and return the shelves to the bookcase. Place books and other bookcase items on the shelves.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the bookcase can be laid flat on the floor without the shelves, it's easier to install the wallpaper and allow it to dry. This isn't necessary, but it does make the job simpler.
  • Patterned wallpaper that isn't big enough to cover the entire back should be fitted together carefully to match the pattern so no seams show.
  • Alternating patterned wallpaper backing and plain cubbies or shelves in a bookcase is another way to create a decor accent.
  • You won't be using a lot of glue for this project but it's still safer to work in a well-ventilated space.
  • Keep all sharp knives, scissors and glue out of the reach of small children or pets.

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  • Photo Credit Stockernumber2/iStock/Getty Images
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