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Painted Bookcase

Posted on Feb 25, 2014 by in DIY Furniture | 5 comments

DIY Painted Bookcase that was Montessori inspired.

DIY Painted Bookcase

When my husband and I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, we were in desperate need of a bookcase. When we started shopping around, I was in sticker shock! How could bookcases from big box stores be so expensive, when they are made from particle board? I decided instead to take my time and look for one made of solid wood. The keys to getting a unique piece for a bargain is patience and searching antique stores, flea markets, yard sales, thrift shops, etc. I found my piece at Peddler’s Antique Mall in Lexington. I was able to get the dealer down from $60 to $40. Never pay full price if possible! Keep in mind stores and sellers will cut you a deal on larger furniture that has been sitting for a while because floor space is valuable! $40 was a steal compared to the $60-200 for particle board bookcases. I had to purchase it not only for the price, but the unique shape!

Supplies for painted Montessori bookcase


3M SandBlaster 80 Grit Sandpaper
ColorPlace Interior Satin Medium Base Paint (Walmart, choose color to add to paint base) *For a glossy finish choose ColorPlace Interior Semi-Gloss*
Glidden Interior/Exterior Gripper Primer (HomeDepot)
Paint Roller (Designed for cabinet painting)
Paint Container

**I found this gallon of paint in the oops section at Walmart. The paints are perfectly good to use, they just were not the colors the customers had wanted. I scored this paint for $7.99, rather than paying $16.94. Because it was an oops, there is no color listed, but there is the breakdown that you can provide:
B: 0 Y + 19 C: 0 Y + 24 E: 0 Y + 43**

How to prime and paint wood to make a Montessori Bookcase

Original Wood

I started this project before the blog, so I do not have a picture of the bookcase in its original state. Here is a glimpse of the original color.

DIY How to prime a wooden bookcase

Prime the bookcase

Start by sanding down the bookcase with 80 grit sandpaper. The grade of the sandpaper is important. Sand only the polyurethane top coat off to remove the shine. Paint will not bind to polyurethane. Apply a coat of Glidden interior/exterior Gripper primer to the entire bookcase. Let dry and apply second coat of primer if deemed necessary.

How to find the best paint for cheap, just look at Walmart's Oops section of paint.

The perfect shade of paint.

After first coat dries, the bookcase will have a sea green color. Apply one to two more coats for full coverage and to achieve a Robin Egg Blue color.

DIY painted bookcase to match a beach theme.

This bookcase reminds me of the ocean.

A beach style bookcase.

I just love the color. Now you can start designing the room around this bookcase.

Montessori inspired bookcase that was painted.

Montessori inspired bookcase.

Make sure you paint the top interior of the shelves.

Here is the finished product! We originally filled the bookcase with books, but later converted it into the twins’ bookcase.

I absolutely love this bookcase. It is a statement piece! I converted it into a Montessori bookcase, so the twins would have easy access to their toys. The bookcase ties the beach themed playroom together nicely!


  1. Oops paint is my favorite! I always have to look when I go by a store’s Oops paint section and am always disappointed when there is nothing to look at – even if I’m not shopping for paint!

  2. I love it, especially the unique shape. I’m on the lookout for solid wood pieces at flea markets, too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the shape, good job on shopping with patience I must practice this virtue. =D

  4. Great find!

  5. beautiful and unique! I love taking old pieces and giving them a makeover. Such a fun hobby. great job!

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