Friday, April 25, 2014

Entertainment Center Makeover - Paper Backed Shelves

Faux Wood Backed Entertainment Center

I have had a major urge to lighten up my home and bring a little bit of Spring inside. My entertainment center is a dark espresso color with deep cabinets and I felt like much of my decor got lost on it. I really wanted to give the shelves some depth and make my decor pop. Cue the singing angels when the heavens parted and I came across this lovely faux wood paper at Hobby Lobby. This was just what I was looking for to transform  the back panel of my dark and drab entertainment center! I love how it brightens up the room and that when I decide I'm ready for a change, I can just take it right back down again! Do I have your attention? Read on to learn all the details of this easy afternoon DIY project!

Let's start with a little before picture, shall we?

Not hideous or anything but dark and B.O.R.I.N.G. (Excuse the glare. SO hard to take a picture without it.)

And here my friends is the after.......

Okay, in full disclosure I must admit there may be a few new pieces of decor on the shelves in the after photo. Just a few. The decor has always been a hodge podge of thrift store finds and make-do kind of items, so I hit my local thrift store and added a few pieces to finish it off a bit while still staying in budget. It's still not perfect. I need to find just the right pot for my little plant on the right. But it's okay because I saved so much on the makeover! ;)

This is a very easy project and you may be able to skip the tutorial and move right on to the pretty pictures and still get the idea. However, if you're one who likes a detailed tutorial, read on to learn how to make this magic happen. Let's get started.....

The first step is to look for paper you would like to use in your project. As I mentioned before, I chose a fantastic faux wood paper carried at Hobby Lobby. It is thick & sturdy, has a nice matte sheen that will not cause a glare, and comes in a 4ft x 12ft roll. It was so nice and large I only used one roll for the entire project. Go me!

Sidenote: If you want to look around for other types of papers I have some suggestions for you.
Tip #1 Look for traditional wrapping paper. I have seen fantastic geometric patterned wrapping paper in the Dollar Spot at Target that would look lovely on a cabinet, but sadly there were none at the time I got the urge to do this little project. I also love to buy my gift wrap at Home Goods for $2.99 a roll. They usually carry bright fun patterns that follow current trends. Just keep in mind this paper may be thinner, shinier and may differ in width and have less paper per roll lengthwise than the large roll at Hobby Lobby. Tip #2: You could look at places like Dollar Tree for shelf liner. I have found some really cute patterned shelf liner at Dollar Tree but it was never quite right for the colors or style in my room, but you may find something you love! They even had a faux wood liner recently when I went in but it was more of an oak or pine look and not the weathered wood I was looking for. If you're not as picky as I am or oak matches your home, you may find a roll that's just right for you for only a dollar! AND with it's own sticky back! Score!

However, if you decide to go the same route as I did, get the Hobby Lobby app on your phone or print up a 40% off coupon off their website and buy one of these babies. At $5.39 after coupon, you will not be sad you did. This my friends, is what you want to look for.......

You will find this lovely paper in the hobby section of Hobby Lobby across from large rolls of photography backgrounds (and interestingly enough, the faux wood photography background was $4 more for almost the same thing.....go figure).

Now lets take a look at our other supplies:

Once you have your paper, you will need:

  1. Poster Board or cardboard - I will be honest because we're besties and tell you that 90% of what I used was free cardboard that had been given to me and was just sitting out in our garage. I was a tad short, so I bought one Tri-Fold display board from the dollar store (seen in the lovely photo above).
  2. Measuring tape - to measure your cabinets and the distance between your shelves. You will also use this later to mark your paper (if you do not have an edge ruler mentioned below).
  3. Exacto Knife - Once you have measured your shelves and marked off your cardboard, you will need your exacto knife to cut your cardboard pieces to fit.
  4. Scissors -  Once your paper has been measured and marked off, you will need to cut your paper with your scissors. Be sure to allow a slight overhang for wrapping around the pieces of cardboard.
  5. Scotch Tape - Another honest disclosure here. I think it would be wise and easiest to use double stick tape for this project but alas our roll had disappeared when it hit go time and well....frankly I'm just too impatient to go to the store and wanted to get started. Regular scotch tape worked fine.
  6. Glue Stick - In all honestly, this was grasping at straws and would not be needed if I had the double stick tape (I'll explain later).
  7. Edge Ruler (optional) - Although this didn't make it into the photo above, I used an edge ruler to measure and mark my cardboard (see photo below).

Step by step instructions:

1.) Measure the height and width of each shelf back. Most of my shelves were removable, so I removed all the ones that I could to give myself the least amount of cuts. Mark off each measurement on your cardboard and cut. I moved my edge ruler every few inches and made another mark, then connected the marks with my straight edge.

2. Test your cut piece in the space to make sure it fits correctly. Results are best when the cardboard is a tight fit. I trimmed a piece that was a little too big and now it is slightly too small. The slight gap is visible if you look close and it grates on my OCD. Tip: I did however learn the hard way to not just stick that baby in there when testing size without a way to get it out. See exhibit A:

Do you see a gap where one could fit their finger (or even fingernail) to remove said cardboard? No. me neither. Great fit = mangling your piece of cardboard to get it out. I may or may not know that from experience. SO, I designed this very complex cardboard removal system:

Yeah, when my crazy life from being a famous blogger dies down, I may just have to patent this thing. In the meantime, feel free to use at your leisure. Your're welcome. 

3.) Mark your height and width on your paper and add an additional 2 inches or more extra on each side to wrap the paper around the cardboard. I drew arrows to show which direction faced up to save time when fitting into place (see photo below).

4.) Tightly wrap your paper around your cut piece of cardboard. This is where double stick tape would've been lovely. Since I was too impatient to make a trip to the store, I used my glue stick. I applied a small amount every 6 inches or so then pulled the paper tightly and smoothed it out with my ghetto tool (also not pictured in photo above).....

Yeah, that's a very well loved paint guard. You're welcome again. It really did work to smooth the paper out and over the glued areas to keep the paper tight. Again, with double stick tape placed every few inches this step likely wouldn't have been necessary. See how we like to teach you not only what to do, but what not to do? Besties do that for one another.

This is a finished section. Easy Peasy! Now rinse and repeat!

5.) Place all your covered cardboard pieces in place and stand back and admire your work!

6.) Now for the fun part......Accessorize!!! 

Now let's inundate you with photos, shall we? Enjoy.

Not bad for under $10 right?

So what do you think? What are you doing to brighten up your home and bring a little Spring inside? We'd love to hear from you in the comments and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates, tips and sneak peaks.


  1. that is really rad. i want to do that with everything here. Love it

  2. Thanks Cyndi! I'm so glad you like it! It is really easy, inexpensive and makes a big impact on a room! You should do it and be sure to share pictures when you do! :) I think I'm going to do the bookshelves in my craft room next with a fun, bold print!

  3. Stopping by from Six Sisters party! This looks fantastic! I love easy, thrifty updates that make a big difference. Nice job! :)

    1. So do we Heidi! I love the versatility of this project and that I can easily swap it out for a different pattern or look when I'm ready for a change. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I always like the great stuff where ever it is. And your article is very informative and nice. Hope so you will post again in future more then this work.
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